What materials are used?
We prioritize the use of repurposed materials whenever possible. The majority of our brass comes from recycled sources like broken padlocks and pipes. Our "silver" is essentially brass with the colour removed. Items in black are crafted from recycled cow horn, while those in white, grey, or brown are made from discarded bones from local butchers. Colourful pieces often involve the use of recycled paper. Additionally, we have started incorporating glass, which is sourced from broken glass bottles ground into powder and boiled.
How do I care for brass?
Brass is easily cleaned using one of our two recommended methods. First, apply toothpaste, rub it on, and rinse for a shiny finish. Alternatively, create a paste with baking soda and lemon juice (or bottled lemon juice) and rub it onto the piece, then rinse off. If you're concerned about brass causing skin discolouration, applying clear nail polish on the inside creates a barrier to prevent this.
How are artisans paid? What percentage do they make?
Our mission is to provide fair and dignified work for artisans, contributing to breaking the poverty cycle. Unlike traditional methods, we do not pay a percentage based on sales, which would require artisans to wait for items to be sold before receiving payment. This approach, we believe, is not equitable. Moreover, a percentage-based system would lead to payment fluctuations based on factors such as sales, damaged items, wholesale transactions, etc.
Instead, we have collaboratively established a more beneficial method with the artisans. We provide a fair, living wage for each piece sold. This ensures that artisans receive compensation promptly, regardless of when the items are sold. In our operational model, artists are paid 50-60% when an order is placed and receive full payment upon completion of the order. This system allows us to support the artisans continuously by purchasing more from them, thereby creating additional job opportunities.
What countries do you work in?
Since 2012, we have been partnering with artisans in Kenya and Uganda. In Kenya, we operate in the Kibera Slums, aiming to break the poverty cycle that many artisans are born into. In Uganda, our focus is on a group of former child soldiers seeking dignified work to provide for their families post-war. We collaborate with small groups in both countries, with a core group of approximately 5 in Uganda and 10 in Kenya, including both men and women.
What impact have purchase made?
Through your purchases, we have witnessed tangible changes such as the acquisition of land and cattle, payment of school fees, and the construction of homes, among other positive outcomes. Hear firsthand experiences of impact from Lillian HERE and Lucas HERE.