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Our Story

Ali and Olivia Haynes Ansari are from opposite sides of the world—Afghanistan and Virginia—but they came together through their shared passion for helping refugees. They met and fell in love in Vienna, Austria, where Ali was living as a refugee and where Olivia had come for a gap year of refugee work. The two got married in 2020, and a few years later, they moved to Richmond, Virginia.

Upon returning to Virginia, Ali and Olivia realized that it was difficult to find international gifts there at affordable prices. As Ali was regularly returning to countries where he was once a refugee himself, such as Turkey and Greece, to do community work among other refugees, the two had an idea: if they could partner with local artisans to bring their products to the US, they could support struggling small businesses while filling a key gap in the Virginia retail market. In 2023, they founded Saffron Treasures to do just that. Saffron Treasures brings our customers unique, high-quality, hard-to-find gifts from all over the world while supporting artisans in marginalized communities.

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Our Mission

Saffron Treasures aims to empower marginalized communities, particularly Afghans and Afghan refugees. We are proud to partner with Afghan women, who are currently prevented from working outside their homes by the Afghan government, but who can still make beautiful jewelry from home. Our business purchases their jewelry at a fair price up front to maximize these women's profits and offers them a safe market to sell their products so they can support themselves. We also support local saffron growers and lapis lazuli artisans. 

Beyond Afghanistan, we purchase many products from small businesses owned by Afghan refugees in Turkey. The government in Turkey makes life incredibly difficult for refugees there; our business aims to counteract this by supporting them as our suppliers of pottery, scarves, and jewelry. In this way, Saffron Treasures empowers disadvantaged Afghans all over the world while contributing both to the Afghan and Virginian economies.

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