We hope you are all well and enjoying a bit of a break from lockdown. In the UK Boris Johnson announced super sunday and it looked pretty chaotic to us and not that safe! I'm sure some of you have just got back from the pub feelings little bit sideways and better for a break!
None the less, whilst you have all been out there enjoying yourself (we hope with your Umodzi Facemask on!), we have been researching our supply chain in Ghana and seeing how we can improve our sourcing in future.
All smiles in Ghana, with the popular "subura" circular style wax print!
We were recently very fortunate to discover the style that you see above, this circular design is called “subura” which means “water well” in English and is one of the most popular patterns found in Ghana. We came across this when we were speaking with Natalie @ Bespoke Binny, Natalie was looking at importing some of these fabrics from Ghana with us whilst her usual suppliers were not operating as smoothly during lockdown.
We loved these circular patterns so much that we decided to get some to make our face-masks with. They are listed on our site now, so feel free to head to the shop and get yourself some new stock!
Here are some samples below, including a speedy bird print style! Wow, the colours just pop don't they!
So we had a lady ask us the other day, what do you mean by African sourced? So we explained that the vision of Umodzi is to create products in Africa that help to develop skills and industry on the continent in different countries, whilst championing talented designers, artists and agencies based here. This is why we chose the name Umodzi, which means Unity in Chichewa, the dominant dialect in Malawi.
Now with facemasks, we are currently sourcing these from a very talented entrepreneur and tailor based in Accra, Ghana. Like many during C-19, our tailor Michael had a business making modern afrocentric office wear, yet his business switched to making facemasks, as did ours!
So we felt like cool, we've got a really talented guy here and the products are selling well in Europe, this fits our vision.
It is now as we look deeper that we realise we can go one step further with this, and that is with the fabric that we choose to make the facemasks.
In Ghana there was previously 15+ different textile companies that employed 20,000 Ghanians in skilled labour. But recently cheap Chinese knockoff products entered the market and Ghanian brands have struggled to compete. This now leaves 3 textile companies employing 3,000 skilled labourers!
Some of the popular brands know suck as GTP, Visco, Woodin, Unimax are European owned, but do employ in Ghana which is positive. Then there is Hitarget and other brands that are all made in China and this is obviously less positive again.
So here are the ones that we are going to work into our supply chain in future that are pure Ghanian brands, designed and made in ghana!:
Now pricing of the fabrics will naturally be higher, but then in Europe this is more acceptable! So let's see if we can make this work and better support Ghanian industry in line with the Ethos of our brand.
For further reading on this topic, feel free to check out this great article by the BBC, which we found really insightful.
For those that have more detail on this topic be it in Ghana or other countires in Africa, then feel free to share this with us so that we can continue to improve our buying strategies.
Have a lovely weekend guys
Team Umodzi x