About this project
- All our Products are 100% Handmade!
- Authentic African Leather Sourced from the Leather Working Group's Highest Rated Tannery in Africa!
- Leather Crafted using the Greenest Technologies in the Industry - Solvent-Free Finishing, Salt-Free Treatment, 100% Recycling of Byproducts and Solar Heating for Energy!
- Intricate & Colorful Maasai Beadwork!
- Made using Sisal that is Eco-Friendly & Bio-Degradable!
- Sisal Plants have Low Water and High Carbon Dioxide Absorption - Ideal for Small-Scale Farmers and Great for our Environment!
- Sleek & Modern Designs that add Flair to any Outfit or Occassion!
Ikwetta’s journey began in 2014 when my wife - Sheeni - and I were in my home country Kenya on our honeymoon. Having married into a Kenyan family, she was intrigued and excited about exploring the intricacies of her newly adopted nation.
Every Thursday morning, over 200 local artisans would gather in the parking lot of the Junction Shopping Mall in Nairobi and would put on display their week’s worth of efforts. Wooden animal carvings, soapstone engravings, papyrus paintings, hand-stitched skirts & blouses and many more. It was however the handmade sandals that stole Sheeni’s attention; the base of the sandals were made with leather and the design on the sandals were so colorful and eye-catching that when she picked up one of them she was in awe - those intricate designs were entirely made using small beads!!! She had fallen in love!!!
She bought four pairs in a heartbeat, but further research revealed the harsh reality behind the prettiest sandals she had ever worn in her life. A pair of handmade beaded Maasai sandals takes one person approximately 4 hours to make, and they do so using nothing but needles, scissors, hammers and a whole lot of focus. Yet despite all that, they make only $1 profit each pair they sold!
Things did not add up! She did not understand how something so amazing was so unfairly valued! She brought me on board and as we spoke with these artisans, we understood that the root cause behind this problem was the lack of a proper consumer market. The only consumers these local artisans could target were tourists who come to Kenya for a safari and have one afternoon in Nairobi, and even with them they had to drive down prices to be able to compete with other sandal makers.
Such meager prices have led to even the most talented artisans to constrict themselves and still operate from the slums of Kenya in the most adverse conditions. In fact, the photos you see above were shot in black & white because there was not enough light in the workshop.
Even on rare occasions when they get an order, they are not able to fulfil it due to insufficient supply of electricity, lack of raw material and inadequate basic necessities.
While my wife and I fell in love with the products, it was the people behind them that we feel the most for. We realised that African artisans definitely have the talent and their passion shows in the products they make, but what they lack is an avenue through which they could make a decent living through their skills and hard work. We want your support to help us create that avenue …. we want your help to build Ikwetta.
Through Ikwetta, hard workers like Alex will finally be able to fetch a price that their products deserve.
With every purchase you make on Ikwetta, you will directly better the lives of an African Artisan and in turn build the economy of their community and people.
So go ahead...don’t hesitate to add life to your wardrobe and spoil yourself with authentic and unique accessories from Ikwetta! Remember that even while doing so, you are truly making a difference in someone’s life....you are feeding a family, fuelling a person with passion, and moving people out of slums!
Welcome to the fight against poverty...Welcome to Ikwetta!
The war against poverty has been going on for ages, but hardly any progress has been taking place. Trillions of dollars have been sent to Africa alone, but slums continue to expand and the number of people living in poverty continues to increase.
Ikwetta's mission is not about giving support to Africans...it's about making them self-supportive. We are promoting Africa's talented artisans and building a bridge for them to be able to sell their beautiful products directly to you. This campaign seeks to raise the funds required to build a new workshop for these artisans!
Every purchase you make not only changes the life of one artisan, but also helps the African economy flourish, thereby letting Africa stand on it's own two feet!
Risks and challenges
Building A Relation:
Over the last six months we have built a strong working relationship with several talented artisans in Kenya. The biggest challenge came in trying to help the artisans understand the difference between selling a single pair of sandals versus planning for larger orders!
All of our products are handmade by our artisans, and while that’s our biggest asset, it does present certain limitations. Limited to basic tools such as needles, scissors and hammers, 10 hardworking artisans can make up to 20 pairs of sandals a day.
Our backer orders will be flown into the United States by early August. We do not anticipate any delays in general, however, if there are poor weather conditions or a transportation strike of any kind, it could delay the arrival of the freight.
As per our schedule, we are expecting to receive, pack and ship all our products to you by the 3rd or 4th week of August (depending on the destination). There are however chances that a delay may occur at any stage of the process, and if such a case arises we shall update you on the new fulfilment date.
We will ship all orders via USPS Mail or USPS Priority International, depending on destination. If there is any error in what you receive (size/color/model), please inform us and we will immediately make sure we undo our error :) In the rare case where a package is lost, stolen, or destroyed, we will file an insurance claim with USPS on your behalf, but we will not cover the cost of replacement.
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- (31 days)