OUR PRODUCTS

The Woven Trail sells hand crafted pieces from Africa.

Zimbabwean-born industrial designer, Julie Lewsey, creates and curates contemporary designs that are married with traditional crafts and created by skilled artisans, resulting in unique, wholesome products.

Our range includes both practical home wares and art; hand printed textiles (block print and batik print), baskets woven from natural fibres and up-cycled wire trees.

We believe in ethical business practices: we personally know, work with, and buy from each artisan. The result is a design and buying process that is more collaborative than transactional, one which gives us the opportunity to better support the artisans in growing their own businesses.

OUR ARTISANS

The artisans we work with are highly skilled in their craft. They operate micro businesses, consisting of 1 to 5 people, have the motivation to grow their business and are keen to work on new pieces – as challenging as they may be.

We choose to treat our artisans with dignity rather than pity. Working with us, they learn important new skills such as up-scaling to wholesale quantities and exporting, further equipping themselves to serve overseas markets. As they grow they are better able to support their families and communities by injecting money into their local economy. Our artisans are all currently based in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Read more about our artisans here.

OUR STORY

The Woven Trail was founded by Julie and Tim; industrial designer, mechatronics engineer. Children of Zimbabwe. We grew up together but lost touch while studying on different continents. That all changed six years later at Julie’s brother’s wedding where it soon became apparent that Tim was not just the best man for the wedding, but also for Julie!

Following our own rock climbing, elephant riding wedding, we set off on an 15 month trip across Africa; camping, connecting and craft trawling. By the end of the trip, and after many conversations on the state of the craft industry in Africa and our passion for design, we felt our journey down an unpredictable, exciting, adventurous, woven trail had begun! Our mission is twofold:

Make craft relevant. Most African craft is unfortunately limited to ‘cute’ souvenirs, but we believe there is the potential to create beautiful products you would love to have in your home. By weaving an artisan’s inherent skills with our design know-how and knowledge of trends we are refreshing their products and the way the world sees them.

Design-back. As well as purchasing products from Africa, we want to give back. Using our design and engineering skills we want to create appropriate technology products that meet real needs for the ‘other 90%’. We do not assume to understand these needs, but through already working closely in these communities we can uncover them.

WHY THE WOVEN TRAIL?

We may not change the world, but through helping provide a more reliable and sustainable income for the artisans, we do hope to be a valuable thread in their life tapestry – and help you become one too.

We would love you to explore the trail with us on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK and PINTEREST.