All orders ship with a free gift!
We are delighted to have our Toubab Totes featured on The Grommet today! Check out this fantastic video made our behalf.
The Grommet sells "products with a purpose invented by people with stories." They have amazing jewelry, gadgets, home wares, and much more. Be sure to check out their site!
In South Sudan, a collective of women make raw, Grade A, virgin, African shea butter by hand using the nuts of the vitellaria paradoxa nilotica tree, which grows only in East Africa.
The women work under the Lulu Works program, which was founded in 2000 by the French non-government organization MEDIC (Medical Emergency and Development International Committee) in response to rampant hunger and need in conflict torn Sudan.
Over the past decade, Lulu Works and its various arms have created an infrastructure for a sustainable shea butter industry for the women of Southern Sudan, ensuring the rights of Sudanese women as the traditional guardians of Sudan's lulu (shea nut) tree. Processing lulu oil is extremely labor-intensive, but with proper storage, lulu oil can be preserved year round for use. Through the careful organization of nut collection sites and oil processing centers, enough lulu oil can be produced in Southern Sudan to meet local demand and to convert surplus oil into marketable skin care products.
The Guardians of Life
Lulu Works: The Company behind the Lulu Life label
Lulu Life Trust: Profits for the People
My biggest dream is that all my grandchildren get an education, so that they can get a good job and they can then look after me and I can rest in a good home. I thank Lulu Life for helping me get closer to that dream.
The owner of Swahili Modern, Leslie Mittelberg, was recently voted in as a board member of the Fair Trade Federation. We have been a member of the FTF for over 10 years and are delighted to be able to more deeply participate in this wonderful organization.
Leslie's tenure goes into effect on April 26th at the FTF Annual Conference, held this year in Burlington, VT. Please stop by and saw hello if you get the chance!
About Leslie: For more than 20 years, Leslie has dedicated her life to the celebration of African artistry, cooperative design and reliable business practices. Swahili, the company she founded in 1995, has grown to represent harmonious exchange between 11 African nations, a diverse network of artisans and export agents, a talented U.S. support team and thousands of retail establishments that value handmade products and the success of their creators.
Empowering artisans to achieve personal and professional success inspires Leslie's work through Swahili and challenges her team and her to constantly adapt to an evolving marketplace. We tailor our development practices in Africa by the principles of the Fair Trade Federation, and we work tirelessly to keep our product line fresh, relevant and inviting. The inclusion of our products in some of the nation’s most respected retail chains and catalogs supports our belief that well-designed handmade fair trade goods can compete in the marketplace.
Now while supplies last, we are shipping a free gift with every order! Gifts will vary and include items such as a Soapstone Pill Box, Safari Luggage Tag, and more. Like all of our products, these free gifts are handmade in Africa and certified fair trade.
Your support of our site and of fair trade in Africa means a lot to us, and and we hope you enjoy your order and free gift!
One gift is shipped per order. Designs will vary.
Bright colors and bird sounds fill this outdoor market near Dakar. The modern style of Senegalese baskets, made using salvaged plastic, is on display.
For the last few months, we've been shipping a free gift with every order. We have received great feedback from customers, especially new customers, about this small act.
Yesterday on Instagram, a customer was nice enough to post some photos of the gift (a banana fiber gift box + shea butter lip balm). We also include a hand-written note with every order.
Having shipped out over 100 lip balms, we are now out of stock. However, we have a new special free gift in the works! Stay tuned.
We are always amazed at the kindness, joy, and beauty of the people we meet in Senegal. Children are particularly fascinated by our iPad, which we use to sketch out product designs with artisans.
We hope you enjoy these candid portraits from our most recent trip!