From flower to fabric

Witness the artisanal splendour of lotus silk making

The reality of cheap labour, with Leanne Savage, founder of Acala Stem

23RD MAY 2022
"If you lead with purpose, it makes everything so easy. It makes every decision so easy. It just falls out. And it’s not a slog. And it’s not a drainer. And purpose builds – it doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s a seed that will build and build and build over time."

Tune in and listen to episode eight of ‘Easy Being Green? Lessons in Sustainable Business’, hosted by Charli from Earth Collective, where Leanne Savage, founder of Acala Stem, shared why she started her business and what drove her to her purpose of creating positive change.


While teaching in Cambodia a decade or so ago, Leanne found the lotus fabric there and realised that it could be something she could really look into. She spent months and months researching lotus fabrics. When the Pandemic hit in February 2020, she flew back to Cambodia to visit a Lotus farm and textile. Everything she saw was exactly what she read, ‘It is just the most incredible fabric and nobody’s using it.’

In this episode, Leanne will talk about:

  • Why it pays to be flexible when you are starting a business and why you shouldn’t necessarily get locked into your very first idea. It needs to be really fluid.
  • The detail of Lotus Silk, and how it might just be the most eco-friendly fabric ever discovered.
  • How she found the people in Cambodia who now make the products that Acala Stem sells.
  • Why it’s so important to Leanne to put those workers first and ensure their wellbeing, and how she does that through her business, which also feeds into that reality of cheap labour that we just don’t see in the middle to high income countries.
  • How personal and professional purposes are – or how they should be – interlinked if you want to see success in business or in your career, how mistakes can happen for a reason sometimes and they might just lead to your best selling product.
  • Universal magic and perhaps or perhaps in that intuition and how that sometimes just seems to guide your business and your personal decisions.