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What is Ethical Leather?!

As an ethical company doing our best to work responsibly with our artisan partners as well as the environment, we get asked a lot about where our leather comes from, so I wanted to address this question and explain a little bit about the environment for cattle in Tanzania. First off, all of our leather comes from Tanzanian cattle (and a few styles use goat skin as well, as it is thinner). Industrialized farming is virtually unheard of in Tanzania. Cattle production is done mostly by pastoralist peoples, who spend their days herding cattle through the vast grasslands making up much of the landscape of East Africa. (Herder with Cattle, photo credit Manyara Ranch Conservancy) Cattle play a huge part in...

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Trade Agreements and Real Impact: How AGOA Works for Us

          (G.W. Bush and Obama renewing AGOA in 2000 and 2015)   The current US presidential campaign has brought an unusual amount of scrutiny in analyzing trade agreements. In the midst of all of the talk about NAFTA, the TPP, and how jobs are being shipped overseas, I wanted to introduce a less well-known but hugely important bit of legislation called the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which is a US trade agreement with many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and a key facet in the creation and continued growth of Seeded Hand Sown.  If you live in the US, you may not have ever heard of AGOA, unless you are particularly interested in global economics or international trade--but I'll tell...

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Inclusive Business: Providing Opportunities to our Tanzanian Partners

Seeded Sandals is a business. Like many small business owners, we want to harness the power of the market to improve the lives of people we love--although in our case, the people we love are not just our family and friends here at home, they are also our (very) extended family and friends in Tanzania. While profits are important, doing right by the people we work with is not up for compromise. We aren't just calling in orders to a factory overseas--we work hand-in-hand with the artisans at our workshop, and we are serious about our responsibility to these artisans.   (I mean, look how awesome these people are. I have no idea why anyone wouldn't want to be friends with...

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Tanzanian Kitenge

Well, it finally seems that we can kiss winter goodbye here on the East Coast, but Tony couldn't wait for the warm weather to arrive and had to jet back to Tanzania for a few gorgeous weeks. At this time of year, the rainy season is just finishing up and everything is incredibly lush and green. While spring in North Carolina is lovely, I have to be honest--it's pretty dreary today, and I'm jealous!  Tony has been updating our Instagram (follow us at instagram.com/seededUSA) with some great shots of our new line of shoe bags with this season's kitenge, made by our talented tailor Doto: It's so exciting to see how they are turning out! You might notice that Doto's...

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The Making of Seeded Sandals

We had some interest expressed in seeing a bit more of the process behind our sandals, so we decided to give you a peek into the making of our shoes.  First, the leather uppers are cut and marked with the pattern, then given to one of our skilled beaders to complete the specified design.  (These are the hands of Fatuma, one of our most talented beaders. She was happy to let us take a picture of her hands, but, like many Muslim women in Tanzania, she is uncomfortable with having her face photographed.) The design on a pair of Seeded sandals requires anywhere between 2 and 8 hours to bead, and is by far the most labor-intensive part of the...

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