Over the last ten months, we’ve been busy working with partners from four East African countries to bring together a collection of artisanal, handmade products representative of the beauty and talent of the people of the region. From handbags to jewelry to shoes, we’re thrilled to be able to support 377 artisans and their families with this new holiday collection. We’re honored to introduce you to the six social enterprises we’ve been collaborating with on our favorite holiday line to date.
Raven + Lily is a socially responsible brand dedicated to empowering women through design partnerships and sustainable economic opportunities. Additionally, Raven + Lily is dedicated to returning proceeds to our partner communities to fund education, healthcare, and micro-loans. By purchasing R+L products, consumers are part of breaking the cycle of poverty and transforming the lives of women and families. Our current collections feature exclusive handmade and eco-friendly jewelry and accessories from North India, Cambodia, and Ethiopia. The beauty of each modern, organic design reflects the beauty and culture of the woman who made it.
Made creates accessories that are 100% fair-trade. Founded in 2005, Made’s stunning and unique products are designed by influential designers (and the occasional guest celebrity) and then sourced and handcrafted within disadvantaged communities across East Africa. By training local artisans with new skills, and providing fair wages and support at every level, Made is able to radically improve the lives of people living in impoverished areas. Following the principle of ‘trade not aid,’ they are breaking the cycle of poverty and empowering the people who make their products.
31 Bits uses fashion and design to empower women to rise above poverty. Their jewelry is handmade from recycled paper by women in Northern Uganda who were affected by the LRA conflict. There are 110 beneficiaries at 31 Bits in Uganda, and by selling the jewelry in the international market, they are able to provide each beneficiary with a sustainable monthly income and holistic development programs such as health education, finance training, English lessons, counseling, and business training. Nearly half of the women are HIV-positive and are receiving treatment through programs and partners of 31 Bits. Through every purchase, a life is positively impacted.
Mend bags are individually handcrafted in Gulu, Uganda by women directly affected by the LRA conflict. The bags are beautiful, strong, and practical – just like the women who made them. Every bag made at Mend has a story. Each product carries the name of the seamstress who made it, and a stamped leather tag inside each bag tells the seamstress’s story, seaming a connection between maker and consumer. By providing the seamstresses of Mend more marketable and economically beneficial outlets for their skills, Mend has helped reduce poverty, truly improving the livelihoods of some of the most vulnerable women in northern Uganda.
Doreen Mashika is inspired by a deep sense of affection for the cultural heritage and wealth of design possibilities from her native Africa, and celebrates traditional Africa with a modern polish through each piece. Her experience in the fashion industry allows her to incorporate contemporary Western style that culminates in unique cosmopolitan pieces.
Oliberté believes each country within Africa has the means to grow and support its people. So that’s what they do – Oliberté partners with factories, suppliers, farmers and workers to produce premium footwear in Africa. They work to create fair jobs, with the goal of contributing to the development of a thriving middle class. Their main operation and factory is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia but also source materials and components from Kenya, South Africa, Mauritius and Liberia.