SAWA SAWA Collection is an Austin based 501c3 nonprofit fashion brand that celebrates the brave, bold, hardworking, resilient African artisan woman. Our jewelry, shoes, clothing, sculptures, art and bags are intricately handcrafted by artisans and craftsmen in Kenya using the age old traditional craft inspired by the tribes. Our products are sourced through fair trade practices through our partnership with the artisan families.
Our mission is to empower artisan women in Kenya make a sustainable, dignified living using ancient skills passed down through generations in beading, weaving, basketry, sculpting, art etc. to provide for their families, support the community and be a source of economic development.
By incorporating a chic, feminine, and modern style, our designers hope to create an affordable, fashionable, with a pop of luxury collection. I hope to create a successful collection for the modern inspired woman while providing the artisan women in Kenya with a sustainable, dignified income to support their families. Our work helps them share their love for the craft with the world.
We also strive to work with local Kenyan communities to help with sustainable solutions to a lot of day to day problems through programs funded by grants and product sales. They include water, food, female empowerment, poverty eradication among others.
About me: My story.
I was born and raised in Kenya, I now reside in Dripping Springs, TX (15 miles west of Austin) with my husband and daughter. I never really appreciated the beauty and charm of the Kenyan culture until I moved to the USA. Looking at my culture from ‘outside the box’ I realized how unique, inspired and polished everything was. It had taken thousands of years to perfect the craft into what it is now. I started buying the jewelry and bags for myself, soon I was getting a lot of complements and requests to sell to my friends. I founded what was then – Anne Drane collection – selling accessories, sandals, bags etc. on Etsy, then Amazon and eBay. My mother (most awesome mother) went into the villages and bought the jewelry and sandals for me and sent them to Austin. It was a lot to ask of her since she was newly in remission from Non hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer.
I later got re-acquainted with an old high school classmate and friend, Kate. We both had Business degrees in Finance, She was new to being a stay-at-home mom with her 2 daughters and so was I. We got to talking and decided to partner up. She owns Zafarani Afrika and works directly with the artisans and craftsmen in Kenya. She runs a team of designers and stylists that help create a modern style. We are inspired and motivated by the economic impact. The women artisans are able to provide for their families and live a sustainable quality life. We recently incorporated as a 501c3 nonprofit. We are greatly motivated by the impact we are making for the artisans, conservation and cultural appreciation. We hope to use the opportunity to reach more artisans.
Connect with me on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook @sawasawausa
Meet my daughter, Haley. She is 3 now. Incredibly bright, curious, talented and all around gorgeous. She was and continues to be the inspiration behind my line. She is Kenyan and caucasian. I hope to use my work with tribal women in Kenya to teach her about her heritage, culture and traditions and to give her a sense of self. I hope that being of service to people who are less fortunate will teach her gratitude, selflessness, empathy and a need to show up and do something. I look forward to when she is older and can join me on trips to the villages in Kenya.