THE BRAND FURAHA is a socially-conscience East African brand that was launched in 2010 to combine delight in our African heritage with the joy of providing meaningful work for local artisans. We are best known for our kikapu, a traditional hand-woven raffia palm basket adorned in vibrant African prints and hand-woven textiles. All our products are hand-created pieces of art in a unique combination of mainly natural and carefully tailored materials. In 2012, FURAHA diversified its products to include espadrille shoes, leather sandals and hand-woven towels. A clothing line as well as herbal body product line is planned for 2013. Our mission as a brand is to create beautiful quality handmade products which transcend time, season and trends without compromising style while economically empowering small local artisans. The FURAHA brand attributes three distinguishing features to its enormous success â€“ economic empowerment of its producers and suppliers, handmade nature of its products, and the delicate use of African fabrics and handwoven textiles to symbolize the beauty of our continent.
The key distinguishing feature at the core of the FURAHA brand is the emphasis on the economic empowerment of our producers and suppliers. The rural women, who weave our bags, derive 100% of their income from production of the baskets. In 2010 FURAHA started an initiative called Weave out Poverty to promote the skill of basket weaving into a home industry as a means to providing income generating opportunities as well as reliable and sustainable employment for the weavers. Production of all FURAHA products is outsourced to local artisans and tailors. We believe in economically empowering these small talented local artisans and tailors to enable them to expand their own small businesses and in the long run access international market for their own products. All our products are handmade from natural materials to the greatest extent possible. A unique and dominant feature of our Kikapu is the eco-friendly raffia palm fiber which is traditionally hand-woven by rural women weavers from villages in Central Uganda. The raffia palm has become the signature mark of all FURAHA bags. A new addition to our product line is the espadrille which is hand-stitched by seamstresses in La Rioja, Spain using age old traditional methods. The soles are made from jute rope which is favored because of its eco-friendliness. Our cotton towels are hand-woven on home-made looms by skilled weavers in Uganda using natural cotton yarn. The integration and fusion of vibrant African wax prints in our products is our way of celebrating the beauty and vibrancy of the African continent. At FURAHA we spend countless hours shopping at local markets for prints with bright colourful palettes and interesting geometric shapes. The fabric we select is festive and bold celebrating Africaâ€™s spirit. The liveliness of the colors cannot help but make one smile hence the name of our brand FURAHA, which means â€œhappyâ€? in Swahili.
The Bags At the heart of the FURAHA brand, is the very distinctive hand-woven eco-friendly raffia palm basket or kikapu in Swahili, which has become the signature mark of all FURAHA bags. All our bags are made from natural raffia palm fibre which is woven tightly in strips which are then either woven in a circular form giving the basket the round shape or woven in sheets and cut to make either square or rectangular shapes.
The raffia palm baskets are hand woven by rural women weavers from villages in Central Uganda. Because our weavers derive 100% of their income from production of the baskets, FURAHA started an initiative called “Weave out Poverty” to promote the common traditional skill of basket weaving into a home-based industry. The ultimate goal of “Weave out Poverty” is to provide income-generating opportunities, as well as reliable and sustainable employment for the weavers. FURAHA women entrepreneurs can go on to eventually create their own small businesses and secure loans that allow them to expand their workshops and weave a proud future.
Features of our Bags Each kikapu is unique, just like you, and we invite you to fall in love with â€œyourâ€? bag. Because of the vast array of beautiful print fabrics and findings available to our artisans, each bag is special and one of a kind. By purchasing a kikapu, you not only make a statement about your individual style, you also contribute to the empowerment of women, improving the quality of many lives and helping eradicate the cycle of poverty. The exterior of the FURAHA kikapu comes in one of three distinct styles: covered in vibrant African waxprint fabric, in traditionally dyed and hand woven textiles or with a crocheted cloche in colourful yarn. The durable kikapu has a waterproof lining that includes a zipper pocket, two side pockets and on a practical but whimsical note, a small purse attached by a cord to the inside of the bag. The handles are made from salvaged cow horn or leather sourced from traditional, managed livestock resources. One joyous element of a FURAHA bag is that because each bag is handmade, any perceived imperfections or variations in colour are an intricate part of it and add to the unique design and character of the piece. As in life, the harmony created from combining the perfect and the flawed is what matters when we measure happiness.
The Shoes Our espadrilles otherwise known as alpargatas are entirely hand made by artisans in several small villages of La Rioja in Spain, the home of the traditional espadrille. We are proud to be associated with this age old tradition which makes our espadrilles very authentic. Each espadrille is hand stitched by seamstresses and all our models are made with African wax fabric. The soles are made from jute rope which is favored because of its eco-friendliness. A special feature of our espadrilles is the padding of the inner sole which is guaranteed to give you comfort.
The Sandals Our sandals are handmade of leather and raffia palm with a flat sole to make them extra comfortable.
The Beach Wraps Our beach wraps also known as Kikoy in East Africa are inspired by the North African fouta. They are made of 100% high quality cotton which is grown and spun in Uganda. The cotton is dyed using natural dyes. The towels are hand woven on a traditional loom by local artisans. We love the versatility of our Kikoy which can also double up as a wrap, shawl, or throw.
THE BAG COLLECTION All our bags come in a wide range of colors
The â€œPenelopeâ€? bag is our classic, all-time favorite bag and represents unwavering faithfulness to the art of weaving as traditionally practiced by women of Central Region in Uganda. FURAHA believes this simple, durable, beautiful bag embodies the strength of character of these women who are the backbone of their families and communities.
At FURAHA we are very conscious of the world around us and therefore make every effort to preserve our environment. This collection recycles fabric from scraps and cut-offs. Each cut-off is carefully hand selected, stitched and matched, making each bag unique. The bold color combinations are bound to turn heads from a mile away.
This collection is reminiscent of what Eastern Africa is renowned for - exotic wild life, safaris and dramatic natural landscapes. Every animal skin is unique and has been selected and produced from controlled culls of traditional breeds thus helping to preserve the value and health of these beautiful creatures.
This bag embraces the beauty of the continent as demonstrated in its indigenous textiles such as the Bakuba raffia found in the Democratic Republic of Congo or the Bogolan raw cotton “mud cloth” from Mali. These textiles have dramatic geometric patterns which are as eye-catching today as when they first burst into the world’s view more than 100 years ago and stirred a passion for exotic African design that has influenced artists from Picasso to Basquiat.
This double-walled, raffia palm basket is very sturdy, ideal for grocery shopping in your Birkenstocks or hauling fruit and fine wine to that backyard barbeque while wearing Jimmy Choos. We decided to jazz up this ultimately practical carrier by covering it with a handcrocheted exterior in fine wools. This bag is perfect for your modern life: it embodies rustic-urban chic, with a wink and a nod to the seventies earth-mothers everywhere!
These straw baskets are hand woven by women in the south of Tunisia. The statement jewellery piece in this collection has been dexterously hand crocheted by artists in Uganda using stones, beads and seeds, blending the subtle mysteries of the Maghreb with the bold visions of Ugandan art. This piece is as complex and elegant as you are.
These bags are created by women in the south of Tunisia who delicately interweave fabric and straw in this surprising and pleasing design. The interlacing of straw and fabric creates intricate patterns of colour that are unique and eye-catching. Dress up, dress down; this bag moves from beach to office as smoothly as you do.
THE SHOE COLLECTION All our shoes come in a wide range of colors
This comfortable high heeled wedge with a closed toe and ankle wrap laces is a favorite. The exterior is made with African fabric print, Tye & Dye or hand woven textile. The interior of the shoe has a cushioned insole and cotton lining which makes it very light and comfortable.
Looking to dress up, yet maintain that casual-chic look? Let this sophisticated peep toe wedge with adjustable ankle strap add the perfect touch of elegance to your ensemble. This espadrillecovered wedge heel is comfortable enough for round-the-clock wear so enhance your wardrobe with this classy pump.
You can never go wrong with a classic. The insole of this traditional espadrille is padded and lined both inside and out with African fabric print or hand woven textile while the sole is made of vegetable jute with rubber. All natural, all the time; just like you.
These bold ballet flats will leave you feeling like a princess. Put a unique spin on your traditional ballerinas with our African wax print fabric and hand woven textiles.
THE SANDAL COLLECTION All our sandals come in a wide range of colors
These stylish leather sandals are embellished with a jewelry piece stitched directly onto the raffia. Each unique composition has been dexterously hand crocheted with stones, beads and seeds by artists in Uganda.
We love the simplicity of this sandal named in honor of our chief weaver Siccy. This is an honest, practical and comfortable shoe whose simple leather sole and clothbound raffia strap makes any foot look casually elegant. As your mother always said: simple is beautiful, Dear! Make her proud, and enjoy the feeling of loveliness this shoe inspires.
THE BEACH WRAP COLLECTION All our beach wraps come in a wide range of colors
OUR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY Weave out Poverty
FURAHA started the Weave out Poverty initiative part of its social responsibility in the fight against poverty. The initiative seeks to promote the skill of basket weaving into a home industry in order to provide income generating opportunities as well as a source of reliable and sustainable employment for rural women weavers. Empowering women economically enables them to improve their livelihoods, become more self-sufficient and make important choices about their lives. The women work from their homes and are therefore able to assimilate the weaving into traditional routine village activities while at the same time earning a living. The weaving is usually undertaken as a social activity with all the women collecting and preparing materials and weaving as a group while enjoying each otherâ€™s company and looking after their children. The flexible nature of the work contributes immensely to the womenâ€™s wellbeing.
In an effort to ensure a fair price for products, the weavers through a participatory decision making process have a hand in dictating the production price of the baskets. The women are paid either per basket or for each basket strip which gives them the flexibility to work as much or as little as they are able. We recognize that most of our suppliers are financially disadvantaged and therefore we provide a fifty per cent advance on all orders to facilitate production. We have found that this entire process creates not only a sense of ownership and but also serves to enhance the quality of our woven products. The initiative started with 4 women in 2010 and at the end of 2012, we were supporting 32 rural women weavers. Our new target for 2013 is 50 women. We believe that every woman has a dream and that by purchasing a FURAHA bag, you are not only transforming a womanâ€™s life but also giving her an opportunity to realize her dreams. It is well documented that when you support a woman in Africa, the woman multiplies the impact of the investment made in her by extending the benefits to the world around her, creating a better life for her family and building a strong community. In essence, therefore you are not only supporting one woman but an entire family.
Make a difference. Weave out Poverty. Buy a FURAHA Bag.
OUR CONTACTS Email: Kikapuraha@yahoo.com
Face Book: www.facebook.com/kikapubyFurahaB