BEHIND THE SEAMS GIFT
Amelsa Yazew is keeping an Ethopian tradition alive with her line of organic cotton blankets.
ITTLE GABIES BEGAN as a lot of baby brands do: After a frustrated mom’s fruitless search for a particular product ignited her entrepreneurial spirit and she created it herself. The roots of this Ethiopiabased baby blanket company, however, delve a little deeper. Amelsa Yazew wanted to honor her heritage and create something that embodied her family’s traditions, so Little Gabies, which launched in Fall ’14, is her playful and youthful take on the gabi, a staple Ethiopian blanket. “Each of our blankets is a product of the ancient weaving traditions of Ethiopia that have been passed down from generation to generation,” she explains. Much like slow batch ice cream, the process behind the blankets is slow and steady to assure quality over quantity.
“Our methods and raw materials have stood the test of time, making them a rare commodity in the mechanized world,” notes Yazew, adding, “Most of all, we are proud in preserving this beautiful culture that we call ours.” Crafted with care in Ethiopia by local artisans, raw cotton is first cleaned by hand, after which it’s spun into thread using a wooden hand drop spindle. Then comes the weaving, a complex art that takes hours to complete by placing the hand-spun threads in a loom to produce a finely knit fabric. “It takes us one day to produce a single blanket, so what you get is a one-of-a-kind gabi, each one slightly different and each one made by a person with their hands and with a great deal of time devoted,” she says. Wholesaling from $69 to $79, the double-layered organic blankets come with a bevy of borders and more than 20 sweet embroidery motifs (Think lions, ladybugs and dinosaurs.), and in sizes suitable for newborns to 5 years. In Spring ’15, Yazew plans to expand into nursing covers, sleep sacks, bibs and burp cloths. “While I dream of going to scale and increasing the number of participating communities, I am just as happy with a small share of products that speak for themselves,” she says. “My vision is to make this warm tradition a part of homes that want to provide their babies with a natural alternative to commercially made blankets.”—L.M.
11/18/14 7:55 PM
Published on Nov 25, 2014
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