This post is sponsored by Amani ya Juu. All opinions are my own and reflect my honest thoughts on the products.
I’ve done a great job over the past several years of going ethical with my wardrobe. I pretty much exclusively buy fair trade or eco-friendly clothing items. But extending fair trade purchasing into other areas of my life has been more of a struggle. The next fair trade frontier on my radar? Home goods!
For some reason, my mind doesn’t automatically turn to fair trade when I’m in need of a home good item. When I say home goods, I really mean anything that I use at home, from decor to more practical items like dishes. When I need a set of oven mitts, I don’t think twice about running out to Bed Bath & Beyond and buying the first pair I see on the shelf. This is so different from how I shop for clothing, which is much more selective and thoughtful! Part of the problem is that I have no idea where to even begin shopping for fair trade home goods. And I’m ready for that to change.
I recently discovered fair trade brand Amani ya Juu. I actually stumbled across them when searching for a gift for a family member! Amani has amazing home goods in addition to clothing, jewelry, quilts, stationery…even Christmas decorations! I have a set of their tea towels and cloth napkins in my own home and absolutely love them.
Amani ya Juu was started by female refugees living in Kenya after fleeing civil war. These ladies saw firsthand that their fellow refugees needed both healing and a sustainable income. Out of this, Amani ya Juu (which means “peace from above”) was born as a way to give marginalized women counseling services, vocational skills training, and ongoing income opportunities. There is now an Amani center operating in Kenya and Uganda to provide women with an opportunity to create fair trade goods to sell under the Amani brand name.
I am so excited about Amani’s products not just because of the opportunity they give ladies who have overcome incredibly difficult life circumstances, but also because the products are beautiful and high quality. The women sewing and creating for Amani have true talent and skill–they simply needed a place to work and a market for their goods! When you touch and see the products in person, you can tell that they are made by true artisans who have given great attention to their work. And the products are packaged beautifully!
I am so excited to have a brand I can go to for fair trade home goods. One thing I always seem to need more of is dish towels, probably because the ones I purchased previously were made using cheap labor and poor quality materials to cut costs. Amani recently sent me a set of their tea towels (which, by the way, come in multiple different colors and are CURRENTLY ON SALE), and I am so impressed with the quality. The fabric is sturdy, and the design is beautiful! This isn’t a throwaway towel, but rather something that is both beautiful and functional in my kitchen. This is the type of towel I would absolutely buy for someone as a hostess gift (maybe with a nice loaf of bread wrapped inside, because there’s no better gift than fair trade and carbs!).
One thing I really like about Amani’s designs is that they try to stay true to native design techniques within Kenya and Uganda while also appealing to the esthetic of Western consumers. My set of Amani cloth napkins are a great example. Some of the napkins feature traditional batik patterns (an African method of stamping wax on fabric to create patterns once the fabric is dyed), and yet the colors are very much “on trend” with what you might find at Target or West Elm. I love that the napkins are made in a way that honors the maker’s cultural heritage.
And y’all, I love that the napkins in my sampler set don’t all match! They look so unique. These napkins beg for compliments and are going to be great conversation starters (about fair trade home goods, hopefully!) when we have people over.
Other Amani home good items that I have my eyes on–both for myself and as gift ideas for others–include their mini soapstone dish, love letter garland, leaf pillow, hippo soapstone dish, Kanga luggage tag, ‘Love You Forever’ baby quilt, and African olivewood bowl (all pictured below).
Oh my goodness y’all, that bowl. See what I mean about high quality, truly beautiful products?
I am so thrilled to finally be dipping my toes into the fair trade home goods market. And I am even more thrilled to find such an amazing fair trade brand to purchase from!
Okay, now I’d love to hear from y’all: Are you majorly crushing on any of these items from Amani? What category of items has been a struggle for you when it comes to ethical shopping?