Introducing The Kenyan Collection
Equine Exchange is pleased to now offer Kenyan Collection products, both in-store and online. All Kenyan Collection products are uniquely hand-made. Here's a bit of background on their process:
The workshop in Kenya receives POs and then hands out assignments to the mamas who live anywhere from 2-6 hours away. The mamas live out in the bush with no electricity or running water but it is the way they love to live. When they are not tending to their families or their herds of goats/cows, they will bead for us. Kenyan Collection bought them solar lighting so they can bead at night and the kids can do homework. Kenyan Collection were worried about pushing them to be workers, like Americans, and they always reply back, "the more we can bead, the more we can make, the more we can make, the more we can support our families". They are truly a delightful group.
Judy, the workshop manager, will go once a month and buy hides that are sourced locally. She brings them back to the workshop where Sam literally cuts each strip by hand and chalks where the mamas are to bead. Then Hellen will count out the beads for assignments. Once the mamas bring back the work (of which we reimburse them for transportation), we have George the buckle guy make the buckles. He goes out to junkyards and finds scraps of metal and melts them into his handmade molds to makes our buckles, D rings and clasps. Then everything goes to the backing guys who put the backing on to protect the beading, punches holes and secures the buckles on the products. Lastly, another team conditions the leather, polish the buckles and packages up everything to ship to the US. All involved, except for George the buckle guy and the backing guys, work exclusively for The Kenyan Collection so we can control quality and consistency.