OBAKKI GIFT GUIDE: GIFTS HANDCRAFTED BY FEMALE ARTISANS
Supporting our entrepreneurial female artisans is one of our priorities. Not that there aren’t some incredible male artisan partners in our group – there certainly are! But sometimes, we want to give a shout-out to women – for all that they do.
Creating bags to heal trauma
Judith’s story is one of resilience. Judith remained inside her house for years, trying to rebuild her confidence after experiencing a horrible trauma. Trauma of this magnitude is almost impossible to overcome and yet Judith, born a survivor, began sewing these beautiful bags using colourful African kitenge textiles. And with every bag she created, she began to heal a little bit.
Judith was able to hire two women to help her sew – thanks to the demand from our customers for these vibrant weekend bags. She hopes to help other victims of trauma as her company grows, using sewing as therapy, and has begun community outreach to do so. These purchases have created ripples of healing. Now that Judith has a sense of purpose and a sense of dignity it is possible for her to help other women heal. Full circle healing. Our favourite kind.
Out of Australia
Born and raised in Brazil, Bianca Pintan creates show-stopping ceramic vases and bowls from her small studio on the shores of Byron Bay, Australia. As she watches the waves crash on Talon Beach, she forms her show-stopping marbled ceramics using two kinds of Australian clay.
Equally as impressive are her pieces using a single clay, but impressive for different reasons. The single clay source vases are refined in their uncomplicated simplicity while the marbled pieces are powerful in their fusion.
We love seeing women artisans following their dreams – and creating such incredible pieces on their journeys of discovery.
The Women of the Shea
Our philanthropic counterpart, the Obakki Foundation, has trained 60 women in Northern Uganda in Shea harvesting and production. And their business is growing.
We purchase raw ingredients from these hard-working women who are now able to support themselves and their families. Nilotica Shea butter is the top-rated shea in the world, with higher therapeutic and moisturizing properties. We use this premium raw material to make Obakki shea butter moisturizers, soaps and sugar scrubs by hand in Canada.
Your purchase benefits women entrepreneurs in Africa. This product is intertwined with everything we love - sustainability, integrity, and respect - while preserving communities, local economies, and the surrounding environment.
It’s Never Too Late to Start Something New
Amy Dov grew up in awe of nature among the redwoods of Northern California. Her deep appreciation for all things natural dominated her work as a painter, in both oil and watercolour. A love of printmaking led her from paint to collaborative lithography but once her children were grown and gone, a new path emerged.
When she sat at a potter’s wheel for the first time, she experienced a profound and instant connection with the clay. Rocks, branches and sand all lend themselves to the inspiration for the simple shapes she creates for her organic wall sculptures.
We love that it’s never too late to start something new. Once you find that connection with something you love – go for it. And remember, well-behaved women rarely make history.
Baskets with Soul
The basket weavers of Kitui are women. Whether widows or single mothers, weaving is their only source of income, enabling them to feed their families and send their children to school. These women are strong and resilient. They are quiet workers with steady hands. They are the water collectors, the care providers, the basket weavers – all in very difficult conditions.
Their organic sustainable baskets have a global flair and are woven with generations of tradition and a lifetime of experience, using locally sourced sisal fibre. We are proud to support these incredible women entrepreneurs and artisan partners – who weave baskets with soul.
The Star of Hope
Hang this beautiful Kiden Star in your home as a symbol of hope. In Zone 5 of Bidi-Bidi -- the world’s largest refugee resettlement area -- Mary Kiden designed these beautifully intricate stars as a way to help the women of Bidi Bidi move past their pain. Made by hand, each star takes a full week to create.
100% of the net proceeds from Kiden Star sales will help Mary and her team continue to expand. With their hands, these female artisans are building a path to a better future. And the Kiden Star will light their way.
The Potters of Akiliba
In the rural West Nile area of Northern Uganda, the village of Akiliba is home to a group of women who are determined to use pottery as a way to support their entire community. Independence is as critical for these artisans as the preservation of their ancient craft. These beautiful creations are handmade using locally sourced clay and then stacked into a brush-covered mound for firing. Strong designs, from strong women.
SHOP GIFTS HANDCRAFTED BY FEMALE ARTISANS
It was a time of great reflection and planning in 2020 when the world shut down. Before we knew it, it was the autumn of 2021. Time to get back into the field. After 24 hours of travel, we landed in Nairobi, Kenya. And just like that, I was back in Africa.
Gifting with intention is on everyone’s mind these days and Obakki has been leading the way for over a decade. Our Holiday Gift Guide makes it easy to choose ethical, eco-friendly Christmas presents that will feel just as good giving as they do receiving.
There are multiple benefits to small batch production, starting with what they aren’t. They are not mass-produced in some factory somewhere. And they are not made using questionable labour practices. Just the opposite, these pieces are labours of love.