Amaya Batik: Promoting batiks made from organic dyes

Batiks made from natural dyes are rare and uncommon in the regular market, as many people are attracted to colorful designs made of chemicals without knowing its harmful effects. However, natural and organically designed dresses are popular among tourists while it’s growing as a new trend among local travelers.

Amaya Natural Batik is a start-up owned by Mrs. Shiromi Pathirana with the mission of promoting batiks made of organic dyes. The enterprise was initiated in 2015 and has generated four employment opportunities to date — two for female breadwinners and another two for women with disabilities. There are 25 suppliers who receive an indirect income from the enterprise by providing raw materials.

Leaves, woods, saw dust and barks are the raw materials used for preparing the natural die. The raw materials are collected from fallen trees in a manner that it does not damage the environment. Unlike the preparation of chemical die, it requires long hours of boiling to get the real coloring.

As the market for organic items depends on the arrival of tourists, her enterprise has gone through challenging times. Her products such as shirts, sarongs, bedsheets, nightwear, frocks and pillowcases are made with organic dyes and are sold through Laksala’s branches island-wide. Amaya Batik has introduced a new product — mosquito repellent dresses for children. Despite a volatile market for organic items and the challenges of obtaining raw materials, Mrs. Shiromi has a passion to make a difference in the Sri Lankan organic batik industry with innovative designs.

Amaya Batik is a grantee of the Enterprise Project funded by the European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives.