Our Story

Seeded Hand Sown is a partnership between designers and entrepreneurs from the USA and East Africa. We wanted to create a luxe product that pulled inspiration from the shores of the Swahili Coast--a lush landscape of palm trees, white sand beaches, and brilliant aquamarine waters. This is a place that is easy to love, and we have all become smitten.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

O U R   S H O E S,   O U R   V I S I O N :

Our shoes are produced in Tanzania by teams of skilled artisans, using time-tested methods to create modern, original designs. Each shoe is handmade. Each pair begins with beadwork -- glass beads sewn to the leather to create intricate patterns.  Each piece of leather is cut by hand, all stitching is done by hand, and each individual sole is cut and sanded by hand. Every piece is assembled with individual attention by craftsmen and craftswomen who take pride in the work they do. All of our leather is locally produced, sourced from small holder farms and pastoralist peoples in Tanzania.

We are growing a culture of women's empowerment in Tanzania--putting our dollars behind companies and individuals who use their profits to support economic growth in Tanzania. We believe in women's success in the workforce as a driving factor in improving family and economic life. Research by the World Bank and the UN has shown that when women are included in the workforce, more money is spent on education, healthcare, and healthy diets. We want our team members to reap the benefits of the global economy, so we pay above market wages, and also offer bonuses to all team members for each pair of completed sandals. We prioritize building partnerships for long term, sustainable business relationships that encourage safe and productive working environments that are completely free of child labor. As our US-based business grows, we are developing plans for a new production facility, which will be a worker-owned co-op that will handle sandal production for Seeded, as well as for local and regional accounts in East Africa. We see our team-members as the greatest stakeholders in our success--our primary responsibility is growing their prosperity and opportunities. You can read more about this on our Ethics page.

H O W   W E   S T A R T E D :

Seeded Hand Sown is the brainchild of partners Tony Peele and Caroline Fisher. While living in Tanzania for an agricultural economics research project, Tony and Caroline were dismayed to learn of the lack of solid employment opportunities for women in Tanzania. While on the hunt for a pair of the beaded leather sandals worn by many Tanzanian women, they came across a workshop of sandal-makers not far from their home in Dar es Salaam. They were impressed to learn that most of the people beading these beautiful sandals were women, and saw an opportunity for growth in a female-dominated industry in Tanzania. Caroline designed some sandals that would appeal to the US fashion sense, and Tony worked with the sandal workshop leaders Ken and Shine to innovate shoe construction practices to make a more comfortable, durable, and high-quality sandal. After lots of trial and error, training, new tools, and collaboration, Seeded Hand Sown was born. We keep the Seeded spirit alive through hands-on investment in our production--through on-the-job training, innovation, and growing a team of powerful and talented artisans.

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