100% Genuine. 100% African Handmade.
The founders of Twigz, Suzanne Jones and Marike Cooke, have Africa in their blood. They have lived there and now return several times each year. They have ridden the boda bodas (motorcycle taxis) to the markets, and personally selected and bought these unique handmade items from the African artists that make them. This is more than a business for them, this is their passion, to bring the best of Africa to the world.
Truly Helping Africa.
To make a real difference in a person's life, it takes more than a generous gift, it takes helping that person find their own source of limitless abilities and inspiration within. When you empower a person, when you help them find their own means to thrive (which is so much more than surviving), THAT is a true gift. When you buy a Twigz product, you are laying a brick in the foundation of what one day will be a strong, healthy Africa.
(You can read all about our African "Artist Stories" and their successes by clicking here..)
At Twigz, we wholeheartedly believe in "Trade Replaces Aid". Africa has received more aid than any other place on the planet, and yet the issues that require more aid remain strong to this day. In light of this, we continue to build strong relationships with our African artists and provide interest free loans to widows to start-up businesses. We continue to work with them to build wealth and bring healing to their communities. We are committed to being partners with them to end a cycle of poverty that will perpetuate itself as long as "Aid" is a consistent part of Africa's economy.
Twigz offers more than 600 individual items, and we are regularly increasing our selection with new products. You can buy every item individually, you can get exactly what you want, just like you would if you were walking through a local African market yourself.
Twigz products are made from natural materials, or materials that are recycled/re-purposed. This is not only good for the earth, it's good for the soul!
THE TWIGZ STORY
Twigz was founded in 2009 by Canadian Suzanne Jones and South African Marike Cooke. Suzanne and Marike met in 2006 while volunteering in Uganda, Africa, rescuing orphans from its war torn northern region. While they were building homes, schools, and medical clinics for these precious children, Marike & Suzanne realized they were really just bandaging a much deeper problem... POVERTY!
Many of these children were orphaned by AIDS because their parents couldn't afford transportation to clinics to receive HIV medication that would have kept them alive to this day! Marike and Suzanne became inspired to establish work that would help keep the parents alive.
In 2008 Suzanne and Marike noticed some of the widows had a talent for making jewelry. They mentioned to the widows that they would take any jewelry made to Canada to sell on behalf of the widows. The African women became very ambitious about the offer and even asked Marike and Suzanne for startup capital to buy large quantities of beads.
As a result, Suzanne and Marike gave the widows interest free loans (in Uganda loans are regularly given out at 20% interest). The widows began producing hundreds of jewelry pieces, and their excitement and enthusiasm was overwhelming.
Suzanne and Marike ended up buying all of the jewelry that was made by the widows. In 2009, Suzanne returned to Canada and started up Twigz, importing the African artisans' jewelry and crafts. Marike remained in Africa and continued to work with the artists while supporting the exporting side of the business.
Twigz has an emphasis on social responsibility... we believe in "Trade Replaces Aid". When you see a child with a bloated belly, your heart will ache and you will feel the need to give. While giving will help at that moment, the next day, the next week, the next month, the next year, that child's economic situation often requires continuous donations. This is the issue with much of Africa, as aid has become a major (and unhealthy) part of the everyday economy!
At Twigz, we are determined to replace this kind of giving that perpetuates poverty and continues to keep Africa dependent on aid. Instead, we believe in wealth creation through trade. When you buy our African jewelry and products that are genuinely made in Africa, and bought from individuals at the grassroots level in Africa, you become the investor that brings dignity and freedom to our African brothers and sisters.
Today we are proud to state that we continue to grow using this philosophy, to date we've helped over 100 men and 500 women artists in Uganda and Kenya, bringing their products to western markets. We continue to embrace (and practice) fair wages, home based businesses, advancement, training, and most importantly, dignity in the workplace.
All of this leads to the meaning behind our company name, "Twigz". The name Twigz symbolizes the end of a tree branch, where you'll find seeds, fruit, or leaves. Seeds represent hope for the future. Fruit represents prosperity. Leaves represent growth and healing.
At Twigz, every purchase leads to hope, prosperity, and growth/healing for countless individuals in Africa, and ultimately the entire nation.