Posts Tagged ‘the leakey collection’
It may not be the sunniest weather out there but our Zulugrass jewellery will definitely cheer you up! Made by the Maasai women in Kenya (where women bead as part of their culture) the jewellery is made using Kenyan grasses and comes in a three lengths and a wide range of colours. We’re one of the only stockists in the UK and have added some great new sets to the website. Perfect for when the sun finally makes an appearance!
For two weeks every year Fairtrade Fortnight gives the issues surrounding Fairtrade production to a much higher profile. That’s great of course as the publicity is certainly helpful, however for us it is something that is always on our mind in our hunt for products that give a better life to their producers (and their surrounding communities).
It’s also a good time to clarify how the Fairtrade mark works as you will notice only a few of the products we stock carry the official Fairtrade mark of the Fairtrade Foundation (shown above). This Fairtrade mark is only available to use on certain categories of products eg cotton, fruit and chocolate. Most of the products we stock don’t fall into these categories so there are no official guidelines published for the suppliers to work to.
The main thing we look for from our fair trade suppliers is a close and direct relationship with the producers of the products. Our suppliers visit the producers regularly themselves (rather than relying on agents) and see for themselves the positive effect their production has on the communities.
We also look for the marrying of contemporary British design with the inherent skills of the producers. And for as much of the product to be developed in the country as possible (rather than just a fair price paid for raw materials). In this way the producers can add value to the raw material turning it into a higher value product rather than just stripping a country of it’s valuable resources.
One of the best examples of this Zulugrass by The Leakey Collection – a collection of unique jewellery made by the Maasai women in Kenya. Katy & Phillip Leakey live among the women in the bush in Kenya and harness the raw materials they have on hand (the grass the jewellery is made from) together with the beading skills the women have as part of their heritage. Finally Katy designs the jewellery to appeal to a western market with vibrant, contemporary colours. Find out more and see the range of jewellery here.
Following on from my post about the wonderful Leakey Collection a few weeks ago I have now added the funky Zulusport range to the Green Tulip website. The Zulusport necklaces and bracelets are made from the same mix of vibrantly died grass and glass beads as the versatile single strands, but this time they are made into simple bracelet and necklace lengths.
The great thing about the Zulusport range is that it appeals to such a wide range of ages. I like to layer a few bracelets up, mixing colours that coordinate with what i am wearing, but if I’m honest i find the necklaces a bit short for someone of my age! However they are perfect for teenagers who tend to layer them up over a t-shirt – no doubt in colours that don’t co-ordinate at all with what they are wearing… And my 7 year old daughter loves them too – she chooses a matching necklace and bracelet, preferably in pink, with a heart or a ladybird charm (not that she’s particular or anything!).
Do take a look at the range on the Green Tulip – it’s perfect for sending as a gift because it is so light, and you may also spot something you want to treat yourself to too!
One of my favourite ranges on the Green Tulip website (and one which I wear most days!) has always been the Zulugrass jewellery. Zulugrass is a unique and versatile type of jewellery made from vibrantly dyed grass combined with sparkling hand blown Czech glass beads – all threaded onto a strong elasticated thread.
Jewellery wise is is bright, simple and so easy to wear. But it is the story that makes it really special…
Katy and Philip Leakey came up with the idea for Zulugrass after seeing the effect of the 2001 severe drought on the people of the Kenyan bush, where they live. They wanted to help the local community by providing work opportunities without interfering with local culture, and so came up with an idea that would utilise the traditional jewellery-making skills of the Maasai women whilst their men had to drive their few remaining cattle hundreds of miles away to search for better grazing.
The Massai women like to work with the freedom to come and go as their lives dictate so the work is offered in non-factory settings at “nomadic” work stations which span over 150 miles in the Rift Valley in Kenya. Each woman can choose to work when she wants to, and is paid by the piece. They now provide work for more than 1,400 Maasai women during peak seasons.
The project was a finalist in the BBC World Challenge ’08 awards which recognises small businesses around the world that have shown enterprise and innovation at a grass-roots level.
Do visit our Green Tulip website to see the range for yourself and keep an eye on the website over the coming months as we are going to be adding the new funky Zulusport range as well as the readymade ‘Multi-Strand’ Necklaces (not to mention the full 100 colours in the bestselling single strands). The only problem you’ll have is how to choose…!