The idea behind Maasai Colour?
In 2013 Pete Hansell and Simon Tomkins were travelling in Kenya and were struck by the creativity and ambition of the people they met. They realised that through combining this with premium London design they could help to put Kenyan manufacturing on the map - creating well paid jobs and empowering others to do the same.
Where are we going?
We're already creating jobs in Nairobi but our plans are much bigger than this. We want Maasai Colour to become the most recognisable African accessories brand and an inspirational source of funding and mentoring for other African entrepreneurs.
Whether it’s a shop, a market stand or a new restaurant - entrepreneurship empowers people and creates long lasting stability in communities and happiness in families.
"African entrepreneurship is such a powerful force for good. There are so many people with great ideas and a real passion to pursue them, they just need that leg up to get started" - Pete Hansell
How did we begin?
After searching for weeks to find a manufacturer in Kenya who could create the quality of products that we wanted we realised we would have to start from scratch.
From a cafe in downtown Nairobi we put an advert in the local Nairobi newspaper which read "Production Manager for Kenya's first premium handbag brand". By the end of the day we had over 100 applications to work our way through. Many long days of interviews later and we had narrowed it down to the captain of Kenya's 7's rugby team and Mary Mwangi!
Whilst we were hugely impressed by and slightly in awe of Brian Nyikuli, Mary had impeccable credentials and a plan for how to begin manufacturing. She explained to us how she had pioneered a new method of quality control whilst making products for Vivienne Westood and Stella McCartnery. We were sold and the team became 3.
Over the next 12 months we worked tirelessly to find and set up our own small workshop with all the equipment we needed and hire the best tailors in Nairobi. We spent months designing and testing our first range of beautiful bags, the "Pendeza Collection"
Back in London we began stocking the British museum alongside a number of high end boutiques and small department stores. Realising the demand for our vibrant, colourful designs we expanded the range with the Halisi Collection and launched a kickstarter campaign to help take the brand to the next stage.
This was a great experience and has positioned Maasai Colour as Kenya's premium accessories brand - "for those who live a colourful life"
How can you get involved?
Maasai Colour is for those who live a colourful life, for those who want to embrace the vibrancy and colour of another culture and for those who are passionate about creating colour in other people's lives.
We would like you to become a part of what we are creating, proudly wearing a Maasai Colour bag as you go about your daily life. Wherever life takes you, we hope you will find some joy in knowing where and how your lovely bag has been made.
As we grow we will be asking our customers for help and advice. We will ask you for feedback on designs as we develop them and for your thoughts on what we should make for you next. We hope you'll enjoy being a part of this with us.