In 2005, I went on holiday to Kenya and was awestruck by the artistry and craftsmanship of the beautiful hand-beaded sandals, intricately adorned belts, and bold, bright jewellery made by the locals. I knew I had found something truly special that I wanted to share with the world.
Inspired, I spent the following year designing and developing a sandal and belt collection with a supplier I met there, whilst working part-time for Business in the Community (a sister charity to The Prince’s Trust, where I worked for 15 years). I launched the collection in 2006 at Top Drawer, the wholesale trade show in London.
The sandals and belts were snapped up by 40 stockists, including Fenwick of Bond Street. I was absolutely thrilled by the response and made the hard decision to leave the charity and focus full time on building Aspiga.
Aspiga provided our supplier, Eunice with a loan to enable her to buy an expensive piece of equipment to cut the soles of the sandals, which previously had to be cut individually by hand. Not only has this saved time but it has also allowed Eunice to take on much larger orders from both ourselves and other companies. 10 years later, we are proud to still be working with Eunice.