Uzuri is the story of two South African friends with the same dream: to create beautiful, carefully curated pieces that are timeless + ethical. After months of hard work this dream became reality and Uzuri was born.
Uzuri is Swahili and it means 'goodness' and 'beauty'. The perfect name for the most beautiful carefully curated leather shoes & neck pieces. Each Uzuri item tells a story and the workmanship is flawless. Their aim is to empower the local craftsmen, create opportunities and create a product that treads lightly on this earth and only leaves footprints of Grace + Beauty.
Their new collection #simpleinallseasons consists of beatifully crafted leather mules and they collaborated with Greyroom to create woven neckpieces that are perfection. A definite match made in heaven.
Motherkind had the privilege to ask Uzuri a few questions and find out what their hopes and aspirations are for the future.
How did Uzuri’s journey start?
Uzuri started as the dream of two bright-eyed high school friends. Life however happened. We studied, we graduated, we worked, we married – the only invariables – our friendship & the childhood dream. We were however in acquiescence about the evolution of the dream: we wanted to create beautiful things, but more than that, we wanted to contribute to our beautiful country/continent, we wanted to empower, we wanted to partner with local craftsmen + their talents.
Tell us a bit about the brand
The reason why we took the leap & ordered that first batch of leather sandals are so closely intertwined with the brand. Uzuri will always be firstly and foremost about the people / craftsmen venturing alongside us. The more shoes we can sell, the more people our local craftsmen can employ & upskill. We do however find it to be a precarious balancing act – marrying our vision to create beautiful, perfectly crafted pieces, whilst remaining true to the initial dream. The learning curve is steep + the costs often high as we purposefully choose to empower regardless of disappointments – the growth of Uzuri is therefore holistic + deliberately unhurried – as we constantly remind us that the concept of beauty + grace is also about the people we work with.
Tell us a bit about the brand
We don’t have favourites–each neck piece + every pair of sandals carries a unique story of how they came into being.
What does a typical day look like for you?
There are no typical days. We both juggle full time jobs with the demands of Uzuri (our love project). After hours/weekends is when everything happens. The only consistency from one week to the next is extensive tea-sessions (either at night or on a Sunday afternoon) where, among other things, we solve world problems, catch-up, strategise about the future of Uzuri, discuss immediate operational needs + plan for the next season.
What are your aspirations & dreams for Uzuri?
We want to grow Uzuri into a sustainable business not just for ourselves, but for a tribe of people (both craftsmen & clients) – we want to create a brand where the people are prioritised over the products. We also realised very early on that our definition of success is not necessarily aligned with the world’s. Success to us means employees that are proudly African, compensated fairly, happy marriages, satisfied customers, continuous product development & pushing our boundaries in terms of markets & products.
Here is their #simpleineveryseason collection along with our favorite pieces for Fall...
*All images & information found on Uzuri's website.