Stanbic Bank USADF - Transforming Lives Through Artisanal Excellence

Stanbic Bank USADF – Transforming Lives Through Artisanal Excellence

Crafts with Meaning, born out of a passion for empowering local artisans, has evolved into a thriving enterprise under the visionary leadership of its founder, who began the journey five years ago. What started as a hobby soon blossomed into a formal business venture, driven by a commitment to uplift communities and celebrate Kenyan talent.

Today, Crafts with Meaning boasts a dedicated team of 19 individuals and collaborates with over 300 artisans spread across various regions of Kenya. The enterprise’s mission goes beyond mere production; it aims to create sustainable livelihoods for artisans, particularly women, enabling them to support their families and invest in their children’s education.

Despite its remarkable growth, Crafts with Meaning has encountered challenges, notably the perception of local products in the domestic market. Breaking through these barriers requires persistent efforts to showcase the high quality and craftsmanship of Kenyan-made goods. However, the enterprise remains undeterred, garnering positive responses and building momentum for the future.

Recently, Crafts with Meaning secured funding from the United States African Development Foundation (USADF), a testament to its potential for impact and innovation. With this grant, the enterprise plans to expand its market presence, enhance branding and marketing efforts, and invest in capacity building for artisan producers.

A portion of the funds will also be allocated towards literacy training programs, reinforcing the partnership between Crafts with Meaning and its artisans. By equipping them with essential skills and knowledge, the enterprise seeks to empower artisans as integral stakeholders in its business model.

Crafts with Meaning’s journey exemplifies the transformative power of entrepreneurship and collaboration in driving socio-economic development. Through its unwavering dedication to artisanal excellence and community empowerment, the enterprise continues to make a meaningful impact, one handcrafted product at a time.

MADE IN KENYA Crafts With Meaning1

MADE IN KENYA featuring Crafts With Meaning

Crafts with Meaning Limited, a local Kenyan social enterprise, has emerged as a beacon of innovation under the leadership of its founder and CEO, Caroline Nganga. Since its inception, the company has fostered partnerships with craftsmen across various counties in Kenya, extending its reach into Uganda, to produce an array of handmade home decor products. However, in response to evolving market demands, Crafts with Meaning has diversified its portfolio to include factory-made leather products and corporate branding merchandise tailored to the Kenyan corporate sector.

Embracing the ethos of the Made in Kenya initiative, Crafts with Meaning obtained accreditation as a verified Kenyan brand, a move that has significantly bolstered its visibility and credibility in the marketplace. Caroline Nganga emphasizes the importance of supporting local industries and manufacturers, highlighting their unwavering commitment to delivering high-quality, world-class products. She urges consumers to prioritize locally-made goods, recognizing them by the distinctive Made in Kenya branding, as a means of driving economic growth and fostering national pride.

With a firm belief in the potential of Kenyan-made products to excel both domestically and internationally, Crafts with Meaning embodies the spirit of authenticity and excellence synonymous with the Made in Kenya campaign. Through sustained support from consumers and stakeholders alike, local enterprises like Crafts with Meaning are poised to chart a path towards sustainable development and global recognition, solidifying Kenya’s position as a hub of creativity and ingenuity on the world stage.

Made in Kenya on Citizen TV, showcases the remarkable journey of Crafts with Meaning (1)

Made in Kenya on Citizen TV, showcases the remarkable journey of Crafts with Meaning

Crafts with Meaning (CWM) is reshaping Kenya’s artisanal landscape, providing a platform for skilled artisans to showcase their craft and earn a sustainable income. Founded in 2018 by Caroline Nganga Omondi, CWM emerged from a deep-rooted desire to uplift local artisans facing challenges in reaching wider markets. Initially focused on export markets, CWM pivoted its strategy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, diversifying its product range to cater to the local market’s needs.

Caroline’s journey began with supporting artisans in Mombasa and Makueni counties, collaborating on designs and adding value to their creations. Leveraging social media, she promoted their products and connected with customers. As the business grew, CWM expanded its offerings to include corporate merchandise, lifestyle accessories, and home décor items. Today, with a team of 27 employees, CWM produces a diverse range of products using locally available materials sourced from Kenyan millers and natural sources like sisal.

Despite challenges such as competition from imported goods, Caroline remains steadfast in her commitment to promoting Kenyan-made products. CWM aspires to achieve B-Corp certification, emphasizing sustainability and environmental responsibility. Through initiatives like CWM, Kenyan artisans are finding opportunities to thrive and contribute to the country’s economic growth. By bridging the gap between artisans and consumers, CWM not only fosters entrepreneurship but also empowers communities, one handmade product at a time.

In a rapidly evolving market landscape, ventures like Crafts with Meaning serve as beacons of hope, championing local craftsmanship and fostering a sense of pride in Kenya’s rich artistic heritage. As Caroline envisions a future of sustainable growth and expanded market reach, CWM continues to exemplify the transformative power of entrepreneurship in driving positive social impact and economic empowerment.

Eroi Choia, reporting for Made in Kenya on Citizen TV, showcases the remarkable journey of Crafts with Meaning, a testament to the ingenuity and resilience of Kenya’s entrepreneurial spirit. Supported by Equity, CWM’s story underscores the potential of homegrown enterprises to thrive and inspire change, shaping a brighter future for generations to come.


Startup helps artisans find a better market for their creations

In 2017, Caroline Ng’ang’a was captivated by the skill and dedication of local artisans during a visit to Malindi. Witnessing their talent juxtaposed with challenges such as poor product development and limited market access, she conceived Crafts with Meaning. This social enterprise, headquartered in Nairobi, collaborates with artisans in Kenya and Uganda, offering them a platform to thrive. By providing fair wages, market access, and design support, Crafts with Meaning empowers over 300 artisans, fostering economic growth within rural communities.

Crafts with Meaning specializes in manufacturing African-inspired products, including home décor and lifestyle accessories. These items, handcrafted using locally-sourced materials, reflect the vibrancy and diversity of African culture. Through partnerships with artisans and producers across seven Kenyan counties and Kampala, Uganda, the enterprise promotes sustainable practices and supports local economies.

Despite initial challenges, such as securing funding and sourcing quality materials, Caroline’s vision has flourished. Recognized by various awards and grants, including support from the World Bank and Citi Bank Foundation, Crafts with Meaning continues to make a significant impact. Through its commitment to social and economic empowerment, the enterprise has not only transformed the lives of artisans but also garnered recognition from prestigious institutions like the United States African Development Foundation.

Looking ahead, Caroline envisions further growth for Crafts with Meaning, with plans to introduce new product lines and expand manufacturing to rural areas. With a background in accounting and a passion for community development, she remains dedicated to driving positive change and uplifting marginalized communities. As Crafts with Meaning continues to thrive, Caroline’s journey exemplifies the transformative power of entrepreneurship in creating sustainable social impact.

Read full article on Nation’s website here.