- CONNECT WITH US FOR EXQUISITE HANDCRAFTED ITEMS -
Afri-root Collective is a socially responsible business that sells exquisite artwork from various talented and highly skilled artisans in East Africa. Our business is devoted to bringing you the best selection of very unique handcrafted items that are reasonably priced.
We are committed to the practice of social responsibility so profits not only benefit the artisans, but also a portion from each sale is reinvested toward training others, especially women, to learn skills and work towards sustainability.
Due to the high level of poverty in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, most people especially women seek ways to fulfil their obligations as caretakers of their families. Besides agriculture, Craft making is another major activity that promotes community growth. With little or no education, the nature of skills passed on from one generation to another contribute to personal growth.
Ritah Nakandi graduated in 2013 from Cambridge College with a Masters degree in Business Management. Having associated herself with artisans in Uganda, Ritah developed a passion for helping them by finding trade for their crafts since it was the greatest challenge they faced especially selling their products internationally. Afri-root Collective emerged as an online platform that can enable the customer acquire these unique products through ecommerce.
How I came up with the idea
I was a member of the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Association (UWEAL), an organization that supports women entrepreneurs through the provision of Business Development Services and Advocating for enabling environments that meet the specific needs of women in Uganda. One of the responsibilities as a member was to join a cluster group, and we were required to travel to rural areas and train, mentor and counsel women to start, sustain and grow their businesses
I met women, both in the urban and rural setting and was intrigued by the creativity and hard work of what each of these women instilled into running their businesses. The women who made hand crafted items had one major problem which was limited market for their products.
In 2006, while in my second year at College, I acquired a Visitor’s Visa to come to the US and I used that opportunity to bring in some of the crafts that were made by some of the women I met. Fortunately, my brother's friends got me into the town fair known as (Maritime crafts fair) in Marine city, Michigan and I exhibited the products in a 10X10 booth and a lot of customers admired the uniqueness in the craftsmanship. It was a 2 months visit so I had to go back and finish my school. However, I was greatly inspired by the customer’s admiration.
It was always my dream to find international market for the unique products made by the women. Fortunately I got admitted to Boston College for my grad school. My continued passion for these women compelled me to try out the various selling mechanisms of African sustainable handcrafted items to the American people and from which I found the target market. Following the completion of my graduate studies in, June, 2013, Afri-root Collective was concepted to provide a much needed avenue of sales for the unique products of the special women.
At Afri-root Collective we love what we do, making a difference is key so we appreciate the fact that the women can now educate their children or grand children the concept of working with women