Aspiring Fair Trade Clothing Business Welcomes Visitors
If you live in Uganda, you may know that our sewing workshop in the Luzira neighborhood of Kampala is a place where you can bring clothes for mending, or come to get your measurements taken for custom clothing orders. Our seamstresses are also able to make bags, purses, clutches, wallets, earrings or anything else you would like from locally purchased fabrics. Recently, we were pleased to welcome visitors from the US who were interested in the mission and products of Mazuri Designs.
Sharing our Stories and Processes with Visitors
The first group of visitors was made up of two women that had an interest in fair trade companies (and work at Ten Thousand Villages in the US , the grandmother of companies that began the fair trade movement before that phrase existed). They wanted to learn how Ugandan clothing companies operate specifically the different stages they go through in creating items, how businesses purchase their fabrics and other design elements that are essential to creating a well-made end product.
Mazuri specializes in using material that is commonly referred to as african tribal print fabrics. While they originated in Bali as batik, the fabric was later adopted by Europeans and produced in Europe during the 1800s. These days most of the fabrics that can be easily and cost-effectively purchased in the fabric markets in Kampala originate in China, yet we strive to buy locally produced fabrics when possible. Mazuri purchases fabrics locally so that we can consciously impact the fabric stall owners who live in our community by putting money in their pockets to help them support their families.
A second set of visitors arrived from the Chibuwa Foundation. They came to learn about Girl Up Initiative Uganda's adolescent girls training program, and were also treated to the history and products of Mazuri. They learned how we make clothes in our workshop as they watched items being created on our sewing machines. Our team also took them on a field trip to the fabric market to help them navigate the overwhelming variety of shops and select fabrics they wanted transformed into custom clothing by our seamstresses. One of the women, Molly, owns a jewelry shop in in the US, and expressed interest in returning to learn more about fabrics, the markets, our business process, and the other work of Girl Up Initiative Uganda.
Our Doors Are Open
If you find yourself in Kampala, Uganda, our doors are open! If you're near our workshop in Kampala you are welcome to pay us a visit either by yourself or with a group. We love meeting our customers, helping them realize the designs they have in mind, and explaining how Girl Up Initiative Uganda and Mazuri Designs works to empower and positively impact the lives of young women in our Luzira slum community. Call, text, email or What's App us to arrange an appointment with Mazuri Designs.
For those of you from outside of Uganda, you can follow the journey of Mazuri Designs on our website and Facebook page where we share updates, photos. If you are in the US, check out our online Etsy store where you can purchase items and incorporate the bold, bright, beautiful designs of African fabrics into your look.
We hope to see you soon!