July's Featured Producer Partner | Lena & Armen of Vardenis Sewing

Vardenis Sewing is one of the few private enterprises working with HDIF because most of our partners are NGO’s or foundations. In 2013, Lena and Armen Eranosyan were introduced to HDIF's founder, Tim Straignt, by Peace Corps Volunteer Laura Maas.  When Tim met Lena and Armen for the first time, they talked about creating a small sewing business that could create jobs for local women.

Both Lena and Armen worked in a sewing factory during the Soviet period and a little while after Armenia's independence. Due to the economic crisis and collapse of the Soviet markets, many people were left without any jobs or hope to be employed in their local regions.

HDIF helped Lena and Armen start their small business, providing them with training in quality control and product design. It took about 1.5 years of hard work to bring the business to life.

The very first product made by Vardenis Sewing and sold by HDIF was a potholder. Since then, HDIF and Vardenis Sewing have become strategic partners. Around 30% of the kitchen accessories and home decor items sold by HDIF and HDIF-USA are produced by Vardenis Sewing in the Gegharkunik region on the shores of Lake Sevan.

In the last five years, HDIF has sold thousands of items made by Lena, Armen and their 6 workers. In 2017, Vardenis Sewing received 2 new sewing machines from HERA – International Entrepreneurship Grants for Women - and managed to hire more people for their workshop.

The future is bright for Lena and Armen's business.  They recently received a grant to hire 3 new employees, but because of space limitations, were only able to hire two people.  They are currently looking for a new building to expand.

Beth Broussalian