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Bora is a swahili word meaning: first-rate, excellent, better, or best.
The whole idea was that we were going to both make great products and support Kenyan artisans.
Each belt is....
1) Handmade by local artisans in Kenya
2) Uses the highest quality local Kenyan leather
3) Each mold is destroyed after the belt is made, making each belt one-of-a-kind.
I grew up in Kenya, but moved to the States when I was eleven.
After graduating from Cornell University, I decided to come back to Kenya. I wanted to do something that mattered. I thought I'd just hit the ground making a difference and start making stuff...I was wrong.
Originally, I wanted to make shirts with seamstresses in Kibera, an informal housing settlement here in Nairobi. Since I didn't know anything about shirts, I sat in a tailor's workshop and learned how to sew.
Got introduced to a group of HIV+ women trained by a local church to sew.
Then we made some shirts.
And we couldn't sell anything.
Buttons kept falling off. Sizes were consistently inconsistent. And the stitching was never straight.
But I didn't give up.
I realized that I had to find artisans who could do an excellent job and then figure out what products we could make together.
I went searching for new artisans and found our current group who are a perfect match for our ambition.
and a few touches later you can wear it!
We tested three different designs. And everyone loved the Madaraka design above all the others. So we decided to work with the same design in different styles: Pilipili, Tamu, and Safi.
The manufacturing process means every single belt you get has a human touch. Each belt won't be the same as the last.
This process also means that you are directly supporting artisans here in Kenya.
Step 1) Pick your style
After the brass is shined and polished, it is finished off with a hammer. This process creates a series of dimples over the surface of the metal. It is truly a unique and elegant design.
This style retains the character of the mold that created it. Every shift and contour makes its way into the brass. Since each mold is destroyed, each piece is unique and cannot be replicated in the exact same way.
Ground and polished to a shine. The Safi has an immaculate feel and shines through in its own way.
Step 2) Pick your leather
So you can get the belts in black and....
Each belt is 1.25'' inches wide and is available in sizes:
For sizes 40'' - 50'' , add an additional $4.
So if you get a size 30" belt, this is how the size is determined
Each postcard will be mailed from Kenya to you with a handwritten message.
Just like our belts, these bracelets are handmade here in Kenya. A lovely piece to adorn your wrist. Bracelets are one size fits all.
Come to Kenya for a week. Visit our manufacturers. and then you decide what to do next. Want to go to the elephant orphanage? Want to go feed giraffes? Want to see the sights? Let's plan an awesome week! We cover everything while you are in Kenya (Flight not included).
Risks and challenges
I've worked with a couple different artisan groups and can say for sure that it's not that things can go wrong, but when, to what degree, and how you respond.
List of potential setbacks
Leather delays (Likelihood: 35%)
We have to order our leather from the tannery and they have a tendency to under quote how long it will take. Luckily, the metal can be worked on independent of the arrival of the leather, but if the delay is significant enough it can impact our ship time.
Production delays(Likelihood: 25%)
We aren't the only group that are working with this manufacturer. They take orders as they come. In anticipation of any production overload, we have factored in extra time as a buffer.
We have this super cool, funky coloured packaging going on. It will take a little longer than your average box, but it will definitely get done.
Unknown Unknowns(Likelihood: ??)
Defined as things you don't know, you don't know. So we don't know what they are.
- (30 days)