HUGE announcement – We launched our FIRST Purposeful People partner last week! For so many reasons, we chose Ithemba Creations, and can’t wait to tell you more about this impactful brand.
Not only does Ithemba ethically source and ethically manufacture, they also create employment and provide sustainable income to many artisans – impacting families and communities all throughout! Ithemba is an online marketplace based in the U.S. that sources products from artisans all over Southern Africa. From woven baskets and linens to ceramics and artwork, Ithemba sells the most BEAUTIFUL, one-of-a-kind products that are handmade by these talented artisans. And behind each purposeful brand is an impactful person, so I want to tell you about my friend, Faye.
Faye is the owner and founder of Ithemba Creations, and is actually a fellow South African! She’s been in the States for about 20 years now working in the food distribution industry, but still regularly takes trips to see family and friends back in Cape Town. I connected with Faye earlier this year and I knew right then and there that our missions aligned! We talked about partnering somehow, but it wasn’t until Purposeful People that I knew exactly how to honor her brand.
After years of having overweight bags full of artisanal gifts coming back to the states from South Africa, Faye couldn’t help but wonder: How could she share this delicate and intricate art with her friends on the other side of the world? When the pandemic struck, Faye thought about all of her favorite artisanal markets in Africa. She knew many artisans were reliant on tourism to provide for their families and communities, and she knew that they would be essentially unemployed due to the pandemic. Faye’s heart broke for them and felt called to help – she knew that if she could even make a small impact, it would make a difference in many people’s lives. So what did she do? She and her husband took all of their life-savings, got a 40 ft container, went to the markets, approached the vendors, and bought out ALL of their stock. Talk about being willing to follow your calling! And, what’s also so impressive about this is that she and her husband did this while working full-time jobs! They felt the call and made it work on by working nights and weekends – taking a huge leap of faith. She did what she could with what she had to create a lasting impact. Truly inspiring.
With a loaded up container and a mission on her heart, Faye launched Ithemba Creations. Ithemba quite literally means “hope” – in a time where these workers were hopeless, Faye reached out her hand and gave them the hope they needed. Now, Ithemba supports over 80 artisans and small businesses in Southern Africa, and has provided them an international platform to share their creations. Many of the pieces even have the name of the local creator attached – how special is that?!
Not only does Ithemba carry uniquely handcrafted products, but they are also a mission driven brand that does their business with a deeper purpose in mind. Ithemba is dedicated to creating jobs and sustainable income for the artisans they source from, while also celebrating African heritage and giving back to local organizations. Ithemba chooses to support a new mission each month to reinvest in the surrounding communities. From economic empowerment and female upliftment projects to equipping impoverished communities with the supplies they need, Faye and the Ithemba team are making a difference with their business. And so can YOU!
This August, I had the amazing opportunity to visit some of the vendors that Ithemba sources directly from and met some of the artisans behind the products. I saw firsthand the great working conditions, the smiles on their faces, and the intricate detail that each person puts into each product. Isn’t that the coolest thing?! Every piece is made with incredible craftsmanship and can be traced back to the person who made it! And then, as a consumer, you know that your choice to shop ethically directly impacts the life of the artisan who created the piece of artwork.
Watching the artisans at work creating molds, shaping pottery, stitching fabric, and painting dishes with a smile on their face was truly amazing. For Faye, her favorite part of her business is coming back to visit the artisans and seeing how far they’ve come since the last time she saw them. With each order, these artisans are provided with a sustainable income and in turn, can support their families and live a sustainable life. This means changing the trajectory of people’s lives, their children’s lives and creating that ripple effect of goodness we’ve been talking so much about! Shopping consciously means you get to feel GOOD about shopping which is a win-win in my book!
I’m so excited for you guys to learn more about Ithemba and hear the touching stories of artisans whose lives have been directly impacted. Throughout the month, I’ll be sharing my favorites with you on all of my platforms. Honestly, it was hard to choose JUST a handful, but you can shop my favorite items from Ithemba here: https://shopithemba.com/collections/demis-picks. I absolutely love the new Potterstitch dinnerware set – I even got to meet the designer of the set when I visited one of Ithemba’s vendors in Cape Town! And don’t forget you can use my code ‘DEMI5’ at checkout. Okay, I’ll leave you to it, have fun shopping!