womencraft is a fair trade certified social enterprise in ngara in the remote northeast of tanzania. their mission is to increase economic opportunity in the post-conflict, tri-border area of rwanda, burundi and tanzania by bringing rural women together, facilitating their growth and connecting their artistry to the global marketplace. through womencraft, over 600 artisans advance themselves, raise stronger families, stimulate their communities and inspire the world around them. since its founding in 2007, with the aim of building cohesion between refugees and their hosting communities, womencraft has always followed a peace-centered approach, connecting women with diverse backgrounds through the enterprise, working together as one business, with one common goal. these relationships have reduced tensions between former refugees and refugee-hosting communities and have built unity in a region marred by conflict. womencraft was one of our first partners here at sister*hood and we couldn’t be any more thankful.
zuahaza means “my sister” in the muisca language of the people who lived in the cundiboyacense mountain region of colombia. as a social enterprise, zuahaza strives to embody collective sisterhood between women in colombia. following an era of intense conflict, which continues to shape and affect colombia today, zuahaza seeks to participate in the peacemaking efforts to reunite and heal our country. zuahaza strives to connect women from across colombia, and to create unique products that reflect the diversity, history and dreams as statements of the unity and peace to come from colombia. this is what sisterhood means to the team around founder tatiana ordoñez. founded in bogotá in 2019, zuahaza connects women from diverse cultural backgrounds sharing one national territory, and one common mission: to bring to life a new line of textiles, born of the artisans’ extensive knowledge and their desire to share their talent, creativity and innovation.
baba tree basket company
the baba tree basket company based in bolgatanga, a remote town in the upper eastern region of ghana, aspires to a new model of ethical business that sees all of us as partners in an unfolding global transformation. this community of over 250 artisans has been preserving the culture of baskets and the gurunsi community in bolgatanga for the last 15 years by practicing a time-honoured weaving technique using elephant grass and their very own “rhythm and flow”. each basket comes directly from the hands of the artisan weavers themselves - energetic, colourful, purposeful. each luscious curve is the handprint or signature of the weaver who has expertly handcrafted your basket, the unique differences in each and every piece are celebrated. driven by the idea that good design can and will change people’s lives, the baba tree basket company is committed to progressive creation of sustainable jobs, fair and meaningful work and true social impact in the local community. creativity, excellence, and craftsmanship paired with patterns, colors and natural materials are at the core of a beautiful and ethical brand.
the basket room
the beating heart of this ethical brand and fair trade enterprise are the weavers themselves, spread across ghana, swaziland, kenya, tanzania, and zambia. basket weaving is a craft as old as mankind. for millennia, folk have been binding and plaiting natural fibres, weaving vessels of all shapes and sizes for trading, storing and transporting goods in. anthropologists have found evidence of basketry buried beneath the pyramids of ancient egypt, and with the help of explorers who have roamed the world for centuries, different methods and styles of basket weaving have reached all corners of the globe. the founders Camilla Sutton and Holly McMullen take us on their journey as they continue to explore africa in search of the most remarkable weaving communities, introducing us to women plying their precious trade as their mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers have taught them to. By supporting The Basket Room, daughters and granddaughters will hopefully be able to continue to weave and to benefit from the fair wages and dignified working conditions that come from working within a cooperative. from woven planters to bicycle baskets, yarn basket bags to cubed storage boxes — these talented weavers are for real homes, from real people.
collective humanity offers consciously handcrafted goods for the globally inspired home. these pieces are handmade by more than 60 female artisans in cambodia working towards economic equality, helping them generate sustainable, dignified, and empowering sources of income to care for themselves and uplift their communities. each piece is handcrafted using only the finest natural materials in a way that honors the earth, the makers, and their heritage. all of the artisans specialize in blending traditional techniques such as loom weaving and botanical dyeing and modern design to bring you products that showcase the rich beauty, history, and culture of their country. loom weaving is a traditional technique, which is already depicted on the walls of the cambodian temples of angkor wat. much like loom weaving, botanical and natural dyes are unique artisan skills that have been passed down generation to generation, surviving war and genocide in cambodia. the collective vision is a world where all human beings have access to opportunities that enable themselves, their families, and their communities to thrive. from the homes of the cambodian artisans, to yours.
the anou cooperative
the anou cooperative offers a fresh alternative to traditional cultural clichés – and a challenge to outdated if not even colonial market models. it is an artisan-led award winning collective of over 600 artisans from cooperatives, associations, and workshops across morocco. the anou cooperative is owned and managed by the artisans themselves and continuously welcomes new members to the community that are committed to authenticity, quality and transparency. the artisan-led model cuts out all sorts of middlemen, so that artisans earn what resale organizations traditionally make. products beautifully displayed in marrakech or instagram only net artisans less than 4% of what you pay. oftentimes, this doesn't even cover the material costs, let alone the hours of work invested. real change in the artisan sector doesn't happen by paying artisans a little extra money, but only by giving the artisans the power and market access to thrive in their own craft. at the anou cooperative, the artisans themselves are empowered to set a retail price and take care of the entire production process - from design choices to product photography. most importantly, the artisan-led model reinvests 20% into the artisan community through training or employment to ensure the future of craft. the training gives artisans access to skills mostly reserved for middlemen and foreigners. anou also uses technology to reduce the complexity of global commerce so that artisans can easily connect with an individual customer in upstate new york, or a purchasing manager from west elm. anou is automating traditional middlemen work and ensuring the resulting wealth stays in artisan hands.
sirohi is a high-end sustainable furniture brand that is named after a small and quiet arcadian village in rural haryana, northern india. in a community where women are discouraged to work, only one brave woman started working with sirohi at first. but once others realised that this was a legitimate source of income, more and more women joined. today, there is a stronghold of over 200 women working as financially independent equals in their communities and are focusing their attention on design and craft to produce furniture that isn’t just functional but also serves a purpose. recognizing women’s existing skill sets, sirohi artisans handcraft a range of high quality handmade products in the sustainable lifestyle sector. by collecting trash, promoting up/recycling and creatively repurposing waste products sirohi has also put environmental sustainability at the top of its very agenda. their motto is from “waste to wow” and you will know how many kilograms of waste went into your unique, recycled piece. the furniture is designed and made with love by a team of qualified crafts(wo)men. taking cues from the rich indian heritage & culture, sirohi artisans hand-weave all products with natural & sustainable materials with modern design sensibilities for the global conscious consumer. timeless, functional and well made, sirohi is devoted to the development of new products that bring the power & peace of the outdoors into your indoor spaces… ...all while providing income opportunities to women from marginalised communities in india.
kazi means employment in swahili. with a population in excess of 1 billion and an underemployment rate of 80-96%, sub-saharan africa is confronted with an unemployment crisis that has kept much of the continent in poverty over the past century. with few living wage jobs available, kazi sees the chance to turn a problem into an opportunity: an opportunity for countless people to find meaningful work and make dignified contributions to their communities. kazi firmly believes that everyone deserves to make a fair income to support themselves and those around them, no matter where they are in the world. and this can be best achieved by creating employment and economic opportunities in a global marketplace. kazi brings beautiful pieces that add life to your space and, while doing so, empowers artisans to weave a better story for themselves. success is not just measured by how many products or services have been sold—but by how the lives of the artisans and their communities improve over time, too. as of today, kazi has been able to create employment for 4,575 artisans from rwanda, uganda, and ghana and to increase their earnings 5x. the positive knock-on impact has touched more than 36,137 family members and 100,000 community members. together, let’s support kazi to create scalable and sustainable employment opportunities.
the spirit of africa can’t be explained, it can only really be felt. there is beauty in its chaos, survival in its resourcefulness and triumph in its consistent inconsistencies. all this and more is celebrated by ashanti, and the perfect imperfections are cherished in every piece. the cape town-based business embraces head, heart & craft as it pursues three goals: social, environmental & economical sustainability. and much like a solid cast iron potjie pot, our globe needs all three legs to stand. making something out of nothing is at the heart of the african way. in a year ashanti sorted, stripped and tied (wait for it) 19,600,000 meters of colorful weft thread. these were then woven into 62,000 meters of ashanti’s signature fabric. all by hand. to think that would have been landﬁll! the social enterprise has truly mastered combining traditional craft & modern design. the techniques & tools used have been passed down for decades, so with each purchase, you help share ancient designs with the world and keep african workmanship, culture & craft alive.
limala offers handmade rugs from villages in the atlas mountains fabricated by small family businesses. however – and most importantly – limala is much more than a consumer-focused brand. limala is rooted in cultural storytelling. limala is the vision of Samira Mahboub and Zaid Charkaoui, celebrating moroccan’s artisanal culture via highlighting the beauty behind the art of rug making within broader cultural storytelling. based in berlin, yet deeply connected to their moroccan heritage, this husband-and-wife-duo started the project with the desire to share their understanding of morocco with the world and to traverse the journey of coming home. understanding the responsibility that comes along with engaging with moroccan artisans, limala’s core mission is to have a mutually uplifting work relationship with the artisans and finding ways to deconstruct the postcolonial economic dependency of these rural communities. limala means ‘why not’ in classic arabic. asking ‘why not’ inherently calls into question ideas or things that we might have taken for granted. asking ‘why not’ feels powerful and liberating. asking ‘why not’ raises important questions that can guide us through our mission. why not celebrate moroccan artisanship? why not celebrate the beauty of slow manual labour? why not celebrate other cultures and traditions? so let us ask you… why not join Samira and Zaid in their pursuit to build an inclusive, mindful and conscious community that tells ancient stories and safeguards old traces from cultures that should never be forgotten?
azizi life partners with rwandan artisans, who craft beautifully designed, handmade goods with a vision to lift their families out of poverty. with their fair trade income, parents are caring for the health, nutrition, and education of their children. families are building better homes. by the work of their hands, women are becoming financial contributors in their families and leaders in their communities.
inspired peru is a fair-trade, sustainable and eco-conscious enterprise that is 100% owned and operated by peruvian artisans. this means the people creating the goods are in charge of running the company. peruvian artisans worldwide have been working for other companies for generations, without receiving recognition for their labor. the indigenous people have passed the skill of weaving down through generations and most children learn it before their 10th birthday. all artisan communities are located in the andes mountain of peru, somewhere in the highlands around the city of cusco. the thick, warm and sturdy handwoven frazadas – famous for their very warm & vibrant colors – are hand-loomed on 100% wool yarn and natural dyes. they are typically used as blankets to protect against the chilly temperatures in the high altitudes. inspiredperu.com
ladies of mwenga
the mwenga women group is a small women cooperative led by chairwoman mama martina. in 2022 the cooperative consisted of about 30 women who meet up daily in their workshop to weave, chat & giggle. with their handicraft, the ladies of mwenge truly improve their livelihoods and work tirelessly to provide their children with a bright future. most proceeds from the sold goods go towards school fees and crop for their farmland. most weavers are primarily farmers, and work is scarce during the dry seasons when it can become impossible to make ends meet. this money helps pay school fees and family medical bills, enabling women to work flexibly and fit weaving in around other jobs and duties. handwoven from locally grown and harvested milulu grass, the products add a wonderful earthy & grounded touch to your home. the dried grass comes in natural shades or terracotta hues, dyed with the deep-read soil found in these parts of africa.