One thing we are always looking for is more local artisans. In the desert of the Horn of Africa, handicrafts are not a natural trade. As nomads, most people expressed their creativity through song, dance, and poetry.
However, there is one tradition (though slowly dying out as nomads become less and less common) — basket weaving.
Since starting Dreamer & Co we have wanted to collaborate with a local basket artisan, but we wanted to find the right partner who saw the value in a collaboration. Jessica, one of our co-founders who lived in the Horn of Africa, met Ali selling baskets outside of the internet and phone company, where he would capitalize on the flow of expatriates coming to pay their bills.
At the time, Ali's mother, Mariam, worked from her home where she made beautiful baskets and other woven items. She taught her daughters and Ali’s wife the trade as well and Ali, would spend his time selling their products. He would also look up designs on his phone and challenge his wife and sisters to make the products he found.
We had an idea for an earring (now called our Ubah Woven Earring) and we asked Ali if his family would be interested in helping us bring our design to life. We placed our first order of 60 discs and then taught the jewelry artisans how to turn them into earrings with one of their signature paper beads.
These have been a customer favorite, and since that initial order, we have placed another order of 80 discs as well as working on two different bag styles. (The Large Woven Bag and The Small Woven Bag)
Ali’s mother is no longer living, but her legacy carries on. She has passed on her skill to the next generation and we hope that by showing Ali and his family how much their handicraft matters that it will be enough for them to carry it on to their next generation.