Meet the Maker - The Kenyan Collection

Meet the Maker - The Kenyan Collection

The Kenyan Collection began in 2003 in Falls Church, Virginia as a modest effort to support a community they care about. As passionate dog lovers, the collection of hand-beaded dog collars very easily and quickly became focused on what they are now best known for - exquisite leather beadwork. These are the works of art at the hands of the Maasai Mamas who use leather as if a canvas and beads as if paint. The craftsmanship speaks for itself. 

At The Virginia Living Store we are proud to now carry a curated collection of their most popular designs in 3 different widths and lengths suitable for the smallest of pups to the largest of breeds! These beautiful and unique collars will make your best friend the talk of the walks and the perk of the parks! 

At the Kenyan Collection, Cindy Lay and Stewart Newmans goal is to demonstrate that products made in Africa can compete in the global marketplace, while at the same time create employment for the artisans, in the hope that they will have an investment in, and an opportunity to change, their own future and the future of their children.

They realized that we all have "gifts" to share and we do what we can to make a difference to help each other in spite of our own constraints. What they are doing is not charity or a hand-out, they are reciprocating in their way by providing guidance and presenting the artisans talents to a demanding market

"We have seen clearly where hope and opportunity exist in one part of the world, it can impact peace and stability across the globe."  

In the Maasai culture, the beaded creations they wear can tell you something about the person who wears them - age, marital status, social status, special events in their life (like a new bride). With guidance from a talented leather worker/designer, the mamas were given the opportunity to use their natural sense of color and design to create products for the Western market. They live and work near their homes (which allows them to care for livestock and children) where they gather in small groups to share advice and stories as they bead the leather provided.
Why is The Kenyan Collection NOT a non-profit? Because the Kenyans felt that setting up as a non-profit would suggest donations are required or desired to sustain this operation and customers would need to manage expectations in terms of quality of products. These are both assumptions the Kenyans specifically wanted to challenge…. and they have. They don’t want your donation, they want your business which they will earn by ensuring every customer is satisfied with the product purchased with their hard earned money. While there are many who have tried to duplicate some of the work and designs of these artisans, in terms of creativity, consistency, and quality we are sure you will agree there is no comparison.

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Baskin
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