Malulu’s supplier of high quality collars is Zinj Design. The word ‘Zinj’ derives from the name given by the 5th Century BC Greek historian, Herodotus, to describe the ancient Swahili coast, from southern Somalia to northern Mozambique.
Zinj Design has now trained over 80 high skilled artisans from Takaungu and the surrounding area. This unusual little workshop, in a tiny village overlooking the Indian Ocean, is dedicated to promoting East African bead and leather-work internationally.
Before joining the team at Zinj Design, many of the artisans were either unemployed or working only very sporadically in poorly paid agricultural jobs. Eash artisan is specially trained by Zinj Design, and their higly skilled work enables them to earn a good wage from sustainable employment. The benefits of the sustainable employment of so many people are far reaching within the local community and beyond.
Women have benefitted in particular, as there is virtually no employment for them in the area. Poverty means very few women ever go to school, yet many have to raise a large family alone. Women have been encouraged to attend training sessions and take on what is traditionally a man’s craft.
Zinj Design not only provides employment, but also advice and support. It is their policy that each worker has their wages paid into the worker’s bank account, rather than as cash. For many, this is the first time they have ever had a bank account. This system helps them to better manage their money and encourages them to save for the future.
The steady income these workers are now earning means that they can settle down with their families and send their children to school.
These successes are reflected in Zinj Design’s motto: Changing Lives One Bead at a Time!
Malulu has been working with Zinj Design since 2013, and together they have developed a strong professional relationship. Louise Edwards has designed two of of Malulu’s best-selling patterns, Mombasa Red and Kilifi Blue.
Together with Zinj’s design team, Malulu has also introduced other ranges to the collections, including the skinny and lurcher collection, with rolled collars coming out soon!