One of the most special things about growing up in Kenya was being surrounded by women who dressed in vibrant colors and traditional African prints. These colors and designs brought joy and light into our lives, even in challenging times. I founded Ecodunia to bring that vibrancy out of Africa to everyone.
When, at the age of nine, my childhood home was destroyed in a civil war, I had to move to the slums of east Nairobi. It was there that I began to notice the cycle of generational poverty and some of its effects on the people caught in it. This shaped my life’s work to create a social enterprise that makes a difference in the lives of those who have been left behind by the global economy. So much potential is wasted when there are so few options for motivated and talented people.
Through a lot of hard work and many lucky breaks, I found my way to UCLA - and graduated with a degree in International Development and Entrepreneurship. I had planned to work for the UN or an NGO, but soon came to see that the best way to lift people out of poverty was through economic opportunity, not aid. With degree in hand, I moved back to my village to build Ecodunia.
I now live and work between California and Kenya trying to build this dream into a reality.
Chief design and production officer
I couldn’t have known it, but I had been training for this role my whole life. I always had a strong sense of style. I would always buy second hand clothes, so I developed a keen eye for quality, and already had worked with tailors who I often had customize my clothes.
In the summer of 2021, when my sister called me crying about the poor quality of some of the products she was receiving, I agreed to help her for one month. Immediately, so much of what I needed to do felt natural. I became responsible for sourcing the highest quality materials, helping to improve the designs of the bags, and matching the traditional fabrics to the colors of canvas that we use.
My job quickly grew to full time, and now includes office management and quality control. This has been both the most difficult and most rewarding part of my job. I love that I get to meet so many different people and develop relationships, all in the service of making the most beautiful products possible. It has also been difficult, being a soft spoken woman, learning to manage talented people who have their own good ideas. I’ve never been one to run from a challenge, however, and I couldn’t imagine a more fun, exciting, and fulfilling career.
Head of Sales and Marketing
I have split my career between sales and the entertainment industry. My goal has always been to be a force for good in the world. When I was offered the chance to work with Ecodunia, I knew this was a special and unique opportunity for me to bring my talents to a company I believe in.
As a storyteller and producer, I was a fierce advocate for underrepresented voices in Hollywood. Here, I bring that same passion to a company that is not only talking the talk, but walking the walk. Cera is the real deal.
I have always loved making things. In 2016, I started making bags to help finance my education. I loved it immediately; so I bought a machine as soon as I could and soon opened my own workshop.
In early 2021, Cera was looking for someone to redesign her first bag, and a friend introduced us. Cera gave me free reign to get creative and make them how I would like them. I’ve been integral to designing and producing all the products since then. I love the challenge of creating something special and unique. I love solving the problems to bring a product to perfection. And being able to train and pass down the skills to other taylors gives me joy. It is truly a privilege to work with such a talented team to bring our bags and other items to the world.