Beautifully handcrafted footwear and accessories by Uzuri

It’s not often that we come across a brand where love practically every piece in their collection, but Uzuri is one of those that we instantly fell in love with. Founded by childhood friends, their dream was always to create a brand that at the foundation believed in fair and ethical trade and manufacture. Working with talented local artisans the ladies have created a brand that is not only pleasing to the eye but where each and every piece is thoughtfully designed, beautifully made and also easy to wear.  The brand has evolved over the years and Uzuri has now found it’s niche in gorgeous accessories and shoes.
We were incredibly privileged to dig deeper into Uzuri with our exclusive interview with the team. Check it out below. 🙂

What was your “aha” moment? What made you decide to create your amazing brand?

There was no single defining moment – rather many cups of teas + a shared dream spanning 15+ years. We were friends since grade 8 + the desire to create a beautiful but ethical and sustainable brand was born back in 1999. Life happened – i.e. degrees + work + marriage – when we turned 30 we decided that there is no better time than the present to jump in.

 

What were your biggest hurdles when starting your business? Did you simply pole vault over the issues or knock over a bunch of hurdles along the way?

Very few things are not a hurdle when you first start out :-).

Entrepreneurship = problem solving. We are passionate about Uzuri, but our friendship + marriages will always come first. The balance has helped us keep perspective when things don’t go as planned.

 

How long has your brand been going? And how long did it take for you to muster up the courage to take the big step?

Uzuri is still in its baby shoes…as previously mentioned, the dream was borne way back when, but our online store only launched in January last year.

 

Where are you based and which countries/cities globally do you partner with to manufacture or sell your product?

We are based in Stellenbosch + are currently mostly selling through online platforms. We are invested in South Africa + therefore sourcing of materials, all production + employees are proudly South African.

What keeps you inspired or what inspires you to jump out of bed in the morning and do a handstand (or whatever rocks your boat)?

The beauty of life. The privilege to be here + now. Believing that we are making a difference, following our hearts, taking risks + living out boldly the big and glorious plan that God has in store for us. We also work with amazing + talented + hardworking craftsmen who we feel so honoured to be associated with.

 

Have any cool celebrities worn/bought your products and has this made an impact on your business?

Christine Meintjes was the first to wear + post our MOJA sandal – this kick-started an Instagram following which is essential for a new start-up. Christine is a formidable entrepreneur herself + her generosity + passion for start-ups gave Uzuri the little push we needed.

 

Where are your favourite places to travel to and why?

Traveling is such a privilege + an eye opener. All countries contain within themselves such diverse beauty – whether it’s a bustling city like Cape Town or the Turkish seaside – so there cannot be favourites, only treasured memories of smells and colours and foreign languages.

Are you inspired by any other ethical brands? If yes who are they and why do they inspire you?

Knowing what hard work it is to try and establish a brand – we are inspired by anyone who follows their dream with integrity + passion +perseverance.

 

Have you collaborated with bigger brands/designers?

We have done a small collaboration last year with Mille Collines (limited edition customised Mules). But for this year….You will have to watch this space, because something exciting is definitely coming 🙂

 

Is there any exciting news for your brand that you would love to tell us about? 

We are always dreaming up new ideas + concepts for Uzuri – watch this space for 2017 – we have two very awesome projects coming up early next year.

There you have it folks, how can you not feel completely inspired by the team at Uzuri. Be sure to check out their website here to find out more and also see their online store.

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Wishing you a beautiful week ahead, lots of love, the Saiint Sisters xxx