Are we interested in empowering women artisans? Of course, we said yes, and Nzuri Beautiful Kenyan Wool Works was born.
In the central highlands of Kenya, shepherds raise sheep for their valuable wool. Once sheared, women purchase the wool, card the wool, and wash it by hand.
Some wool is dyed through a laborious dying process using native plants. The women artisans spin the wool into yarn using only a foot-powered wheel, then weave rugs which Paul purchases, ships, and sells in the US through Mountain Lodge Furnishings, a Utah-based retail store.
Each rug is a unique work of art—uniquely personal, hand-crafted with care, infused with the joy of life, and the beauty of the Kenyan highlands.
What appealed to our sense of enterprise and entrepreneurship is how these rugs are purchased directly from the women artisans, not on consignment. Paul embodies the true spirit of entrepreneurship by assuming the risk of buying, shipping, and marketing the wool rugs.
With that background, Ernie Farabaugh, our Director of Client Success, led Paul through Aespire’s naming ideation and identity development process.
Inspired by the language of Kenya, Nzuri is a Swahili word meaning “beautiful;” colloquially it means “It’s good.”
The Nzuri logo design reflects the blue of the Kenyan sky and the golden fields of the central highlands. The stylized N symbolizes Mount Kenya and its connection to the people who create the wool rugs.
The double meaning of the word for the social enterprise is appealing: Nzuri for the beauty of the product; Nzuri for the good the company does by providing wages to improve the quality of life for the women artisans and their families through education, health care, and basic nutrition for their children and grandchildren.
Paul’s photography helps tell the Nzuri story on the new website and point of sale display. A custom sales tag, printed by Greener Printer, allows Paul to customize the buying experience with the rug’s sale price and size.
We love the Nzuri story and the impact it makes for women and families. Nzuri is a social enterprise that offers dignity to the artisans, not a handout. It’s the story of a successful businessman whose love for Kenya and its people prompted him to pursue business as mission; to do good work while he builds a new business.
Paul’s mission isn’t to change the world. Paul’s mission is to empower these Kenyan women with financial resources to change theirs.
Bravo, Paul. As written on the Nzuri hang tag, “You’re beautiful. You’ve helped change lives.”