Swahili Coast is a worker owned co-op in Tanzania specializing in beaded leather accessories. Swahili Coast founders, Caroline & Tony were living in Tanzania doing economic research. During their research the two entrepreneurs got to know the locals through interviews and building new relationships. Caroline and Tony quickly became aware of the need for reliable employment in Tanzania.
Caroline and Tony were drawn to beaded leather sandals worn by locals. As they became more familiar with the sandals, they learned most of the sandals were beaded by women who learned intricate beading skills at a young age. After building a relationship with a sandal workshop in Dar es Salaam, Caroline and Tony wanted to grow the business and provide more employment to the locals. Caroline began to design sandals based on U.S. trends while Tony helped to improve the craft of the leather. In 2013, Swahili Coast was born as a worker owned cooperative.
While most of the artisans already have some kind of beading or leather working skills, new co-op members start in the Basic Apprenticeship Program where they are able to learn from an experienced Swahili Coast artisan. After completing the apprenticeship, new members are then promoted to Junior Members of the co-op. Artisans are paid fair wages, take part in profit sharing, AND own 100% of the cooperative. GREAT opportunity as most of these women are the sole breadwinners for their families.
Swahili Coast has continued to grow, currently employing over 30 women. The safe work environment provides co-op members with a close community. Recently due to their growth, Swahili Coast has started working with other cooperatives to encourage collaboration and leadership. Caroline and Tony also founded a non-profit to help expand the fair trade employment efforts through out East Africa, East Africa Cooperative Development Group (EACDG).
Swahili Coast products have expanded to include home goods, jewelry, and leather bags. All of Swahili Coast goods have a beautiful tropical twist, such as my Bullet Leather Arc Bib Necklace. I love the beautiful blue beads with the sea shell accents. Reminds me of the beach! This statement piece is easily adjustable with the leather cord and stays in place all day long. I encourage you to check out Swahili Coast's unique style and consider supporting their mission by purchasing some beautiful accessories.
Use the code HONESTCONSUMER for 20% off your purchase!