Over the past few years I have been following the progress of and stocking the company GoGo Olive who are based in Zimbabwe. This summer I was lucky enough to go out an visit and work with the ladies who make up this inspirational charity.
Set up by founder Julie Hagan “Gogo Olive started as a simple vision of a group of women singing and laughing together while creating things with their hands – this vision is fulfilled every time we meet together! I was living in Zimbabwe working alongside a local Church and I kept meeting with ladies who were making beautiful products but with no way of marketing them or knowing what would sell well outside of Zimbabwe. I had some basic experience or working for some friends of mine as they built up their craft business on the island of Westray in Orkney, Scotland and I’ve always loved design and making things with my hands so the idea started to form that maybe there was an opportunity to work with some of these ladies.”
Julie started GoGo olive in November 2008 with just six knitters who created a range of African inspired animals or ‘shamwaris’. From humble beginnings the charity has expanded to 60 knitters and their products are currently stocked all over the world from the United States to Australia. Each animal is hand knitted with added character in each face hand sewn. Each label gives you the information about what your animal is and who it was made by.
Zimbabwe is a beautiful country and I fell in love with the people, the animals and the landscape. But it is not without difficulty and running business there is no mean feat. Employment currently stands at 95% meaning that the jobs that are created by Go Go Olive are all the more important.
During my trip I held #pompomsocial workshop with a group of the ladies who kindly took the time to attend and learn how to make pompoms. Everyone enjoyed the day which concluded with a fashion show and some amazing dance moves.
If there is one think I brought home with me after my trip it was how making a #purchasewithpurpose can make a difference. By buying a Gogo Shamwari you are supporting not just a charity but a woman and her family, health care, well being and education. So I urge you to make a difference this Christmas.
You can now buy GoGo olive through the Mixter Maxter website here –
Find out more about GoGo Olive here – http://www.gogo-olive.com/