Ensuring a Future & African News
Our supplies are carefully selected from producers around Africa that take into account strong community values while ensuring that goods are of the highest quality. Below you can choose to read about any of the suppliers we use to manufacture our goods.
Aranibar is a small producer of high quality leather produce. They are based close to the UN compound in Nairobi and have been in existence for 15 years. The company employs 10 people who work on assembling leather products that include napkin rings, waste paper bins, photo frames, tablemats, office accessories and a selection of dhow and canoe wood accessories.
Art Coco is based on the edge of a beautiful creek close to Mombasa Island, on Kenya’s coast. A small workshop produces a wonderful selection of coconut fibre table mats, coasters, picture frames, trays and lampshades. Ten employees work with the company to produce a unique range of handmade products from natural materials which are sold in East Africa and overseas.
Fikira Company is registered within the Kenyan textile industry as a fashion and design company dealing in the design of ethic- inspired apparel, jewelry, Soft furnishings and gift items. Using predominantly locally sourced raw materials, the majority of which are recycled, Fikira have been in business since 2006.
JN Designs was founded in 2009 by Joseph Munga, the son of Mr. Stephen Munga a Kenyan sculptor and craftsman. He started making banana fibre products in the 1960’s and has been sharing and developing these skills and crafts with his family and local people. Hi son Joseph attended primary school and completed high school in 2003. He studied at college for a diploma in Information Management (I.M.I.S) with a view to developing an online business.
Linda Camm started working with the Maasai women over twenty years ago in and around Nairobi. Their key skill with beadwork has been well used to develop a wide range of high quality beaded work including belts, dog collars, sandals and a wide range of other related items.
Located in Karen, adjacent to Kenya’s thriving capital city Nairobi, Kamili Designs produces a range of hand and screen painted accessories for the house. Produce include cushion covers, tea cosies, oven gloves, aprons, lampshades and throws.
Located in a suburb of Nairobi, Kenya Kanga has been in existence since 2005. The company designs and produces a selection of clothing and apparel using the colourful Kanga material. The kanga is a brightly coloured cotton wrap worn by Kenyan ladies on a daily basis. Among the items produced using this material is clothing, flip flops and bags.
Started in 2000 by Jenny Carr-Hartley, Kids Stuff offers a wonderful selection of children's accessories. Made from MDF and hand painted, products range from clocks and mobiles to photo frames, book ends and other related items. The company began activities in Naivasha where Jenny was able to recruit Peter, a local artist, whose talents in painting and design provide Jenny with the support she needed to start the company. She quickly created a demand for her product range and employed a further five people, all from the Naivasha area, and increased the range to include childrens bedroom furniture. In 2005, Kids Stuff moved to Nairobi. The entire workforce and their families were relocated and provided with housing allowances and regular salaries so that the growing demand in Nairobi could be met. With these salaries, the employees children are able to attend local primary and secondary schools. More recently the company has moved to the industrial area of Nairobi to cope with an increase in demand for their products. The company operates an ongoing training programme for its staff creating opportunities to enhance skills and experience.
Kipenzi Bags was formed in 2006 and started as a small home based "cottage" business in Nairobi. The company buys finished sisal baskets and containers from a variety of rural womens groups and individuals around Kenya, but particularly from Eastern Kenya and the region around Kitui. The basic baskets are then "enhanced" with a wide selection of beads and buckles which are produced and sold to Kipenzi Bags by artisans based in slum areas surrounding Nairobi. Kibera, the largest Nairobi slum, provides many of the additional beads and buckles. One supplier recycles glass in the slum making these into bright and colourful glass beads that are used to adorn the baskets and bags. The combination of supporting rural womens groups in their basket making endeavours combined with the creative aspects of artisans working in Kibera and other Nairobi slums, makes each basket a truly unique product. Kipenzi currently employ 5 people in their small workshop who work closely with the various rural and urban producers. The direct support that is provided to these producers is significant in terms of providing a regular wage to families that would otherwise struggle to survive. The high quality of finished products produced by Kipenzi is testament to the commitment of all who work so hard to provide a finished product that sells successfully in the developed markets of the world. Areas that are being developed include natural fibre tableware including tablemats and napkins as well as glass beaded jewellery.
One of Kenya's major private conservation successes at the foot of Mt Kenya, Lewa Downs has been the Craig family home since 1924 when the Craig grandparents came from England and began raising cattle here.
Ndovu Designs and Arts is a new business started early in 2011. It stemmed from an idea that Emma Forbes had from her sister, who had organised a hamper from a local restaurant for a day out. It sparked the thought that this could be replicated, but with exclusively Kenyan products, and preferably non-perishable items that would appeal to the tourist market. The business is located in Karen, close to the centre of Nairobi.
One Way provides a range of high quality kikoy wear to the East African tourist market. Products include the famous kikoy which is used for numerous purposes including sarongs, tablecloths, throws, shawls to name a few. The company also provides a range of accessories using kikoy materials including beach bags, bedspreads, clothing and other apparel. A range of embroidered and printed T-shirts for all ages are also produced and these are commonly found in tourist lodges, shops and airport duty free outlets around East Africa.
Safaribead is an established business trading in quality hand made beaded products. The business was started in order to harness the skills of the local people in Kenya to produce a quality beaded product suitable for export. The business concept has been developed to ensure that the group of women doing the beadwork receive a fair income in a sustainable enterprise.
Ocean Sole is a small but growing company based in Nairobi that recycles discarded flip flops into attractive jewellery accessories and other handicrafts. Thousands of discarded flip-flops wash up on the African shoreline. This indestructible rubber creates an environmental disaster for the marine eco-system as it spoils the natural beauty of the beaches, is mistakenly swallowed by marine feeders and prevents hatching turtles reaching the safety of the sea.
The Yatta South Womens Group is located in an rural area between Machakos and Kitui, approximately three hours drive from the centre of Nairobi. This rural area struggles to survive on cash crops, a stiff challenge given the dry and arid climate that has recently been experienced in the region. The Co-operative has been in existence since 1986. Some 2030 women belong to the organisation that weaves sisal baskets for primarily local but also international markets. Organised into 31 regional groups each with a Group leader, baskets are weaved to order and the proceeds of order s and sales are then distributed back to the weavers. Other products also produced include banana fibre baskets and table ware, rugs and hats. The Co-operative has its own office and stock room located in Katangi. Here the stock is collected and accounts and administration for the groups are co-ordinated. Communication with the outside world is via mobile phone. Access to e-mail involves an hour long journey to Machakos by Mattatu bus, a risky expeirence at the best of times for staff. Groups are widespread in the area; the longest distance from the office to a group is 15kms, the equivalent of a days journey to deliver baskets. All the weaving is undertaken during a working day by the women. They may be working in the fields on their farms, caring for children or looking after goats and sheep while also weaving. The significant value of the project and the direct benefits for the Co-op members is immense. With the ongoing drought situation in the region, cash from crops is marginal. The extra income arising from the basket weaving makes a real financial difference to 2030 ladies and their direct families
Located in the magical surroundings of Likoma Island, Lake Malawi, Katundu is a small but growing fair trade enterprise producing high quality hand finished home furnishings.
Moyo is a young and small business run in the suburbs of Dar-Es- Salaam in Tanzania. The company was established in December 2006 by Ayesha Mawji who employs two Tanzanians on a full time basis to produce a range of funky accessories using local Kanga and Kitenge materials. A selection of funky coloured interior decorations include hearts, tote bags and "wires" - table decorations made from wire covered with brightly coloured cotton balls - provide an exciting range of unique products made in Tanzania.
Shanga Shangaa, meaning "Beads Amazing", in Swahili, is a small business employing 42 disabled, mute and deaf people based near Arusha in Tanzania. The company produces a range of beautiful necklaces made from beads and a selection of silk, kanga, chiffon and voile coloured fabrics. The company began producing shanga necklaces for a Christmas fair in Arusha in 2006. The success of the necklaces resulted in a more serious and sustainable operation being developed which now supplys retail outlets across Tanzania. Saskia Rechsteiner has created the business using her skills and experience to develop the products in partnership with her employees. It is a priority of Saskia's to develop the creative skills of Tanzania's disabled community who miss out on the educational system and with it the chance of paid employment.
Located in East London, Sweet William provide a range of dog accessories, mugs and other household accessories designed with our four footed friends very much in mind!
Victor Matoro is a wood designer and finisher based in Dar-Es-Salaam. A sole trader, Victor has created a small business over the last seven years working to provide good quality wooden tableware from sustainable rsesources. Victor works from home where he designs new products for the tourist industry. Much of his work is also purchased by local expatriates in Dar-Es-Salaam. Working to specific orders, Victor employs four wood carvers on a contractual basis.
Wonder Workshop are based in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, and is the focus of a unique venture established in 2004. The company employs 40 employees of which 32 are disabled. Many of these have been fully trained in the use of welding equipment. This has been combined with a proactive campaign in recycling metal to produce imaginative and creative works of art, for both interior and exterior parts of the home. More recently production of recycled paper and glass products have been introduced to expand the range of items sold by Wonder Workshop. Soap is also being produced at Wonder Workshop.
The company is based at Livingstone, Zambia, immediately adjacent to the 'Mosi-oa-Tunya' or Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. They have three retail shops and a workshop in Livingstone and have recently opened a store in Lusaka.
Based in Mfuwe, close to the edge of South Luangwa National Park, Tribal Textiles has been in operation since 1991. The company was started by Gillie Lightfoot who with a small group of local artists translated her dream of traditional and contemporary African art and design for the home into reality.
Zinj African Bead and Leather Design is a small, grassroots organisation based in the rural, coastal village of Takaungu, in Kenya. Dedicated to promoting East African bead and leather-work across the globe and improving the lives of East African craftspeople at home, the business has now trained and supports about 100 fundis, or artisans. Before joining the team at Zinj, everyone was either unemployed or working only very sporadically. The steady income they are now earning means they can settle down with their families and send their children to school. Therefore, the impact of the business in this village has meant real changes in real people’s lives.
Africa is not all about wildlife, safaris, beaches and romantic sunsets. While these do contribute to a unique 'visitor' experience, there is more to be considered in order to appreciate what makes this part of the world tick, or not!
The Continent offers something for everyone whether it is business, adventure, or relaxation. The Africa House Limited is seeking to help companies in southern and eastern Africa develop economic security through trade. This will offer better opportunities for employees in their quest to live in some of the most challenging areas of our world.
This section of the site provides you with background information on Africa; in particular the countries where we are working. It aims to step back from the products we are offering and look a little more behind the scenes and help build a picture of what contributes to life in this part of the world. Perhaps it will even entice you to investigate the Continent further!