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Reflecting on our 9th Birthday, Imani Collective Asks: Who Are We?

 

 

 

Since its founding 9 years ago on May 28, Imani Collective has been more than a storefront. Looking only at the front page of our website, you may think our ethical lifestyle goods represent our primary image, but the true nature of our company starts behind the scenes, with the hands that weave our products together.


Imani is a family. The primary beneficiary of our work has always been the Kenyan artisans who craft our unique products. We promote creative exchange across cultural boundaries, learning from and empowering each other as more than business partners.


It all began with 16 women from a small village outside Mombasa, Kenya, looking for a way to provide for their families. They began working with our founder, Jenny Nuccio, inspiring her to live and invest in their community full time. From there, the family has grown to incorporate two new locations, 131 artisans and staff from across the world, and 24 children in our in-house childcare.


Imani is a professional academy. Through our skills training programs, we have provided over 5,000 hours of training for artisans to sustain them even after their time with Imani. Our artisans learn time management, financial budgeting, English literacy, business start-up principles, and more. 


Because many of our artisans are working mothers, we also look after their children at our job sites. We provide well-balanced meals and prepare them for productive futures through field trips, English courses, and primary school test preparation. Imani empowers all members of our family to build a better life for themselves.


Imani is a conservatory. We are committed to ethical responsibility and sustainability. We source our raw materials from local markets and vendors, putting money into the communities that our artisans call home. 


When you buy our products, you are supporting a culture of positive investment, of strengthening our community, and of caring for all aspects of our artisans lives through good wages, good company, and good business practices. 


Imani is growing. Since our founding in 2011 in Mtepeni Village, more and more people have been touched by our programs. In 2016, we opened a new building in Mombasa’s Old Town, which later grew into our largest location. We created our newest location in Turkana in 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we felt called to continue investing in Kenya’s community despite these hardships, and our impact is stronger than ever for it today. 


What is Imani Collective? Imani is what happens when a company places the full potential of its workers in impoverished areas over the accumulation of profits in the hands of the comfortable. 


As Jenny promised our first artisans 9 years ago, Imani is “something beautiful.”

 

 

 

Written By:
Stephen Pierce
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