You're invited! Join us tonight at 7pm for a Facebook Live Fundraiser with our friends at Mission Made Jewelry! 25% of all sales will go directly to our hurricane recovery efforts. RSVP here !
- ABOUT US -
Swahili Coast is an ethical brand started by Caroline Fisher and Tony Peele, based in Wilmington, North Carolina that partners with artisans in East Africa to handcraft beautiful sandals and accessories.
Our mission is to promote worker-owned cooperatives, which means that our artisan partners are part-owners of the workshop and share in the success of the business. Our guiding principle is the principle of cooperativity--the Swahili Coast Cooperative is worker-owned, managed, and financed. We believe in empowering women, providing fair wages through profit sharing, and creating a safe and supportive creative environment.
We are primarily a wholesale brand, selling to shops around the country--from your neighborhood surf shop to large retailers such as Anthropologie.
Swahili Coast has a retail location in Wilmington, North Carolina that acts as our "test kitchen." This model allows us to test new products and to see how customers connect with them, as well as allowing us to iron out any kinks as we scale up production. This way, our artisans are only producing goods that we are certain will sell. The revenue from this shop also funds our wholesale efforts and ensures that our company continues to grow--allowing us to bring more and more artisans into the fold. It is an absolutely crucial component of our company.
- WHAT HAPPENED -
On Friday, September 14th, Swahili Coast’s hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina was struck by a devastating natural disaster--Hurricane Florence. Our team boarded up windows, packed our bags, and said a difficult see-you-soon to our little beach town, knowing that when we returned, things could look very different.
Shortly after the hurricane made landfall, we were alerted to the fact that our retail store downtown had suffered catastrophic damage. The large bay windows that comprised the front wall of the store lay shattered on the sidewalk from the pressure of the hurricane, allowing the elements to wreak havoc on the store’s interior. Sadly, the damage did not stop there. The rain continued to fall for several more days, causing the ceiling of our space to come crashing into the building, bringing lots of water with it. Our new office space in Chandler's Wharf also flooded and requires extensive replacement of flooring, ceilings, and drywall.
Now that the storm has passed, we are working with our landlord to discuss a timeline for repairs. We are hoping that we can be operational by the holiday season. Without this space, our company is facing a massive challenge ahead of us. However, we have made a promise to our artisans that we will continue to honor.
- WHAT WE NEED -
As we work to return to capacity here in Wilmington, we don't want the impacts of Hurricane Florence to spread across the Atlantic to our artisan partners in Tanzania and Kenya. We work with economically vulnerable women and men who depend on our business to secure a stable future for themselves and their families. They are talented, hard-working, and resilient in the face of tremendous challenges, and we resolve to face the challenges ahead with the same spirit.
We are working to raise $10,000, which will allow our projects in Tanzania to move forward while we repair our damages in Wilmington. This is a fraction of the cost it will take to make us whole, but will keep the effects of the storm from harming our partners in Tanzania. The money will be spent continuing uninterrupted order processing and co-op work in Tanzania, as well as on reopening the retail space once the demolition and restoration work has been completed. Money that goes to our partners in Tanzania will be transferred to the co-op by using the Wave app, which is a money transfer app that we use often to transmit funds to East Africa.
- WHAT YOU CAN DO -
Every purchase benefits our artisan partners and speeds our recovery! Our website is up and running--please visit us at www.swahilicoastdesign.com and use the code "FLORECOVERY" for 20% off any purchase. Check some gifts off of your Christmas list!
Our new office space was also flooded, so our landlord has kindly allowed us to extend our expired lease at the Cotton Exchange until our spaces are repaired. We will be operating a studio and small retail space at The Cotton Exchange in downtown Wilmington until we are able to resume business as usual. Please come see us and our products in person!
If you want to go above and beyond, you can donate to our efforts here on GoFundMe. Anyone donating via GoFundMe will receive an emailed coupon code for 30% off of a future purchase online or in-store.
Spread the word! We believe that working together in collaboration as a community can change us all. Help us show the world that business can be done better!
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