Designed in the UK, but handmade in Africa and India, the Aspiga collection includes beautiful leather beaded sandals, flip flops, belts, baskets and jewellery.
Aspiga use suppliers, with small work forces (not large factories) creating much needed jobs for local men and women, and revenue for the local community. The work they receive from Aspiga, they often tell us, ensures their livelihoods and that of their families. Using traditional techniques like leather-making and beading, all their products are created by hand. So no two Aspiga products are ever the same.
All our African sandals and belts are handmade which means many hours of work go into making just one pair. The bead work alone for one belt takes a whole day and for one pair of sandals takes up to 3 hours. The leather is bought in a tannery in Nairobi, then dyed and sun dried. The leather is then hand cut with a strong knife for the uppers and soles. The bead work is real art and is not easy. In fact, it takes a few weeks to train someone to bead correctly, as it is very intricate and hard to pick up. The bead work is mainly done by ladies and is terribly time consuming. They have to sort the beads and thread each individual bead (sometimes working to complicated patterns). They stitch the beads to the leather upper design, which is then attached to a fabric or leather back. This beaded upper is then glued to the rubber sole (which again is hand cut out) and machine sewn.
(The below text is in their own words - so please excuse any grammar or mistakes!)
Basket Supplier: Uncannily named Moses!
My names are MOSES MUTIE born in Kenya (Africa) and still living in Kenya. I am married to one wife and blessed with three son; first born currently in the university and this is MY STORY with Aspiga:
About five years ago I met the director of Aspiga, Lucy Macnamara in an humble market slightly outside Nairobi Kenya; I approached her and when she accored me audience I told her what I can do and from there we exchanged ideas and its at this time she asked me if I can develop a brand of baskets which she had in mind which could sell in Europe and with out hesitating I took the challenge and since then I have not regretted.
The traditional name for the baskets I do for Aspiga is “KIKAPU”. The material used to make these baskets are reeds which grow in swampy areas, mostly old men and women weave them. I buy the baskets from them, giving them income which is rear in those remote places and by this they can take their children to school and buy food and medicine.
The beed work used to decorate the baskets I design them and give them to women in the slums, some who are HIV victims and living in abject poverty.. After they do the beed work I collect it and pay them and this gives them an income to support their families and themselves. The leather handles of the baskets are done by men artisans who too have found a source of income since its extremely difficulty to find even the least of jobs you can imagine.
Before I found a connection with Aspiga it was extremely difficulty to feed my family, pay school fees for my children and even paying house rent was a problem. ASPIGA LTD has changed my own life and my family and many others right from the villages to the slums or Nairobi Kenya.
Whoever you are from wherever you are reading this message from I would encourage you to by ASPIGA products for when you do so you are truly touching a soul some where in Africa in a great way.
BUY ASPIGA PRODUCTS AND FEED A HUNGRY PERSON IN AFRICA; THIS IS SATISFYING. GOD BLESS YOU ALL FRIENDS OF AFRICA; LONG LIVE ASPIGA LTD. REGARDS MOSES MUTIE.
From our Sandal and Belt makers:
Supplier (a): “I have been making sandals for Aspiga for six years now, and each year we get steady orders which we are happy about. We recruit unskilled men and women (most of them are one of the following tribes: Massai, Kikuyu, Giriama, Taita and Luo), we then train them in beadwork and sandal making (the ladies do the bead work and the men work with the leather and the rubber). 90% succeed within 2 weeks. Most workers have been working with us for over three years and have either purchased small farms in their villages, invested in cattles or are educating their children through primary and secondary schools. We assist them with small interest free loans periodically and also subscribe to a governmental retirement agency for most of them.”
Supplier (b): “We have been working with Aspiga since 2008 and each year our quality has got better and better. When we started working with Aspiga we were very small and all the work was done in the back of our house. Due to the work we have received from Aspiga we have now built a small factory, we are very pleased with the big orders we are receiving. I now employ 35 local people in my small local town and I pay them all fair wages and I give them food when they turn up to work in the mornings. I am grateful for the work we receive from Aspiga.”