Who we are

The Initiative:

La Garde Association on Living Traditions

The La Garde Association on Living Traditions is a not-for-profit initiative for bringing together creators of art and artisanal products from all over the world, and buyers in Europe and beyond who value the beauty of authentic products, enjoy the discovery of different cultural traditions and want to make a difference.  By connecting creators and consumers directly, we can eliminate middlemen margins and offer attractive prices to both creators and buyers.

The La Garde Association on Living Traditions is the organiser of the La Garde Forum.

The people:

Friedrich von Kirchbach

Born in Germany, Friedrich has appreciated world art ever since he fell in love with Asia in the mid 1970s. After finishing his PhD in economics, he worked in the field of trade promotion with the United Nations’ International Trade Centre in Geneva, which allowed him to come to know authentic art and artisanal traditions in a large number countries. In parallel, he created an agricultural enterprise in Eastern Germany. In 2014, he bought together with Margareta the Domaine de La Garde in France, which has become a cultural center and hub for exhibitions of world art.

Margareta Funder

Is a Nomad at heart and has been roaming the world since early age. Having studied international business and English, French and Spanish – in addition to her native Swedish – she has been working with small businesses all over the world. This has allowed her to come into contact with artisans and artists in numerous countries and to learn about their craft and culture. In recent years, she has begun to create her own jewellery. She works in Geneva.

Gabriela Alvarez

Born in Argentina and growing up in various Latin American countries, Gabriela admires the richness and variety of diverse cultural traditions. Her work in public and private sector organizations deepened her interest in finding spaces where business and trade can have positive impact in livelihoods and communities. Gabriela is also co-founder of Hacienda La Tentacion, No Name Chocolate and Colcocoa, three linked ventures striving to be catalysts in the transformation of farming from a traditionally subsistence activity to a professionalized, entrepreneurial and thriving vocation for rural communities. And, of course, she loves chocolate!

Rupa Ganguli

Rupa is an international trade specialist by profession and an entrepreneur at heart. Rupa was 17
years old when she set up her first business, creating and selling contemporary fashion to university
students in Mumbai, India. This early venture inspired her studies in textiles, management and international trade, which culminated in years of development work on the field with the United Nations, World Trade Organization (WTO) and several governments to enable small businesses access global markets. Rupa founded the award-winning non-profit network, SPINNA Circle that has supported and connected several hundred women artisans in textiles across Asia, Africa, Latin America, Eastern & Western Europe. With a long time passion for tradition and technology, Rupa coined the term Shop by Impact ® and recently launched Inclusivetrade.com, an e-commerce platform, showcasing untold stories and connecting artisans and makers of high-quality products that have a positive impact with ethically-minded consumers and buyers globally.

Karl-Ludwig Wachler

Karl-Ludwig finds his passion in empowering people – including himself –  towards making the world a better place…  He began as a musician, with singing and composing and directing vocal groups.  In parallel, he studied maths and computer science, but never made it to teach at school, as he founded his first company in his mid 20s.  This has become a habit, and to date he was part of co-creating half a dozen of companies in areas as diverse as IT-Management, software-engineering, publishing, sustainability and assisting persons with disabilities – always in line with his passion.


  • Artisans du Monde
  • Association des Amis de La Garde
  • Communauté d’Agglomération du Bassin de Bourg-en-Bresse
  • Crédit Agricole, Centre-Est
  • Département de l’Ain
  • International Trade Centre, Genève
  • Rotary Club Bourg-en-Bresse Revermont et District de Lyon
  • Ville de Bourg-en-Bresse
  • Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3, Start’IAE