Interview with Swahili African Modern & Giving Back to AFFEC

I’m pleased to be collaborating with Swahili African Modern for this month’s giveback giveaway. Swahili African Modern is a vibrant and progressive purveyor of fair trade African goods with an extensive nationwide distribution network and a local store in Eugene’s own historic Fifth Street Public Market. Swahili features beautiful handcrafted and artisanal fair-trade goods from across Africa; including jewelry, home decor and arts & crafts. The service in store is always exceptional and the products exquisite, I can’t think of a better place in our community to find diverse and unique fair-trade products.

Swahili African Modern at Fifth Street Public Market, Eugene, OR

I spend a lot of time at the Fifth Street Public Market between the shops, restaurants and Marche Provisions; and whenever I visit the market I try and stop off at Swahili to browse their new products. Along with beautiful artisanal goods, it’s always great to support companies that promote ethical production. I encourage you to stop by Swahili Modern the next time you visit the Fifth Street Public Market so you can check out their fair trade African arts and crafts for yourself. Better yet, enter our giveaway to win a $25 gift card to Swahili Modern whilst also helping to support the wonderful organization A Family For Every Child.

A Family For Every Child, AFFEC, Eugene, OR

A Family For Every Child is a local non-profit organization focused on finding permanent and loving adoptive homes for all waiting children. No matter the child’s needs, age, background or story, the staff at A Family For Every Child helps find forever homes for children in foster care. For each person who enters our Swahili Modern giveback giveaway, I will donate $1 to A Family For Every Child. Together we can help make a difference for children in foster care.

I’m excited to be joined by Leslie Mittelberg, the founder of Swahili African Modern, for a brief interview to learn more about the ethos of her business and what motivates her.

Leslie Mittelberg, founder of Swahili African Modern, Eugene, OR

1. I love the aesthetic of your shop, what inspired you to feature African baskets, home decor and handmade arts & crafts?

Thank you for the compliment. We love our store at the Fifth Street Public Market. Its a wonderful link to our community. We are primarily a wholesale company and ship to museum stores, catalogs and brick and mortar businesses around the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan.

I was initially inspired years ago while spending a few years living in Kenya. I fell in love with handmade products and realized that this second income added much value to impoverished families.

Swahili African Modern bridges talented artisans across Africa to stores around the world. Since 1995, Swahili has worked directly with artisans to debut a new collection of handcrafted products every six months, making the company a trusted channel of modern African creativity into stores around the world. Since 2006, visitors to the Fifth Street Public Market have enjoyed the unique atmosphere of Swahili’s only retail store. Meaningful gifts and home decor from the distribution line and stunning art collected during design missions join fair trade coffees, teas, chocolates, salts and spices, luxurious shea butter, African CDs and books.

2. What regions of Africa do you primarily draw from in your shop?

We currently work in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa, Lesotho, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Senegal and South Sudan.

Kenyan Wood Carving for Swahili African Modern

3. Who or what inspires you most?

The women artisans. They are eager to learn new techniques and try our sometimes crazy ideas. In addition, they make wonderful choices on how they spend extra income earned. When asked, the majority say education for their children is of most importance. I’ve seen many kids proudly go to school who were not participating before.

Female Artisan holding handmade African basket for Swahili African Modern

Female Artisans for Swahili African Modern

4. What could you tell us about the artisans you have collaborated with?

We collaborate with individual businesses, organized groups and cooperatives. We are a fair trade company so we try to educate our artisans, pay them a fair wage and provide a market for their craft.

Artisans-Swahili-Modern

5. What advice do you have for aspiring artisans and travelers?

Get involved! You wont be sorry. Traveling is the most wonderful thing one can do for themselves. But traveling for a cause is even greater.

6. What exciting new things are in store for Swahili African Modern in 2016?

We are always bringing new and interesting product to our store. This month features two jewelry groups that create exquisite silver earrings, bracelets and necklaces. We also have joined forces with a women’s group in Malawi that are expert seamstresses. They have wonderful lounge wear made from African cloth. We’ve managed to please the pregnant women with pajama pants that don’t irritate their tummies.

Swahili African Modern Staff in Eugene, OR

Swahili African Modern Fair Trade

Swahili African Modern & A Family For Every Child (AFFEC) Giveback Giveaway

Giveaway is open to patients of Dr. Dexter and local Eugene/Springfield area residents. The giveaway runs simultaneously on Dr. Dexter’s social media pages (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and each social media can be entered once per person.

The Promotion begins at 1:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, June 14th, 2016 and ends at 11:59 PM PDT on Tuesday, June 28, 2016 Friday, July 1st, 2016. (“Promotion Period”). To enter, participants must follow the steps listed on Dr. Dexter’s Facebook page, Instagram page and/or Twitter page. Limit one (1) entry per person per each social media method during the promotion period.

This promotion is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Four winners will each receive one (1) Swahili Modern gift card with a value of $25. Within 48 hours of completion of the giveaway winners will be randomly selected. Winners will be contacted via social media and announced on Thursday, June 30, 2016 Sunday, July 3rd, 2016. Prizes will be collected at Dr. Dexter’s dental office in Eugene, Oregon at a mutually agreed upon time within one (1) week of completion of the giveaway. Please note that winners will have one (1) week to pick up their prizes. After that period, all unclaimed prizes will be forfeited and new winners will be randomly selected.

Facebook giveaway (extended until July 1st)

facebook.com/drdondexter

Instagram giveaway (extended until July 1st)

instagram.com/drdondexter

Twitter giveaway (extended until July 1st)

twitter.com/drdondexter