WHAT DOES EMPOWERMENT MEAN TO YOU?
To us, empowerment is about providing women with the tools they need to be confident, self-sufficient, and financially independent. We believe that women around the globe have the capacity, creativity, and determination to uplift themselves, their families, and their communities—all they need are the opportunities.
HOW DO YOU ENSURE THAT THE ARTISANS YOU WORK WITH ARE PAID FAIRLY?
We pay our partners fair, empowering wages for each and every product they make. Every time we place an order, we mutually agree on prices at the outset and pay 50% of the order upfront and 50% upon completion. Our upfront payment system ensures that our partners can cover the costs of raw materials and continue to provide for themselves and their families as they work on complex, time-intensive final products!
WHO TEACHES YOUR EDUCATION PROGRAMS?
Our education programs are taught by our very own team members in Rwanda and Ghana! In Rwanda, we also partner with Kepler: a nonprofit university program, to find high-performing Rwandan university students to teach our Basic Business Training program. All courses are taught in the local language.
HOW MUCH OF WHAT I PAY GOES TO THE ARTISAN?
We pay our partners fair, empowering wages for their work and 100% of the profits are re-invested into education programs for them. On average, our partners earn 50% of the wholesale price of our items (vs. 0.5-2% in traditional retail).
HOW MANY ARTISANS DO YOU WORK WITH?
We work with more than 1,000 artisans across Rwanda and Ghana.
HOW DO YOU FIND THE ARTISANS YOU WORK WITH?
Our local teams are our eyes and ears on the ground! They are constantly scouting out new groups to work with and playing matchmaker between our designs, client orders, and artisans throughout Rwanda and Ghana. Finding new artisan techniques or materials to work with is always a plus. We rely on word of mouth, recommendations from our current artisan partners, and the truly expert knowledge of all-things-artisanal by our teams in Rwanda and Ghana.
HOW DO YOU DECIDE TO PARTNER WITH COOPERATIVES?
We identify potential partner cooperatives based on their skills and our product needs. We are always looking for new raw materials and artisanal skills.
HOW DO YOU MEASURE YOUR IMPACT?
We are all about proving—and improving—our impact. Each year, we conduct a rigorous Social Impact Assessment and publish the results (see the reports here.) We track key quantitative indicators—such as income generation, entrepreneurship, food security, and financial inclusion—as well as year-over-year qualitative data to measure our partners’ progress and identify areas for program improvement.
In addition to our annual Impact Assessment, we conduct detailed baseline and follow-up surveys for each and every education program we run, as well as onsite monitoring and evaluation at our artisan partner groups to make sure that lessons learned are being put into action. We are committed to making a long-term, sustainable impact in the lives of our partners, and we hold ourselves accountable to them (and our supporters!) every step of the way.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO WORK IN RWANDA & GHANA?
Our founders actually designed our business model before picking what country we would initially work in. When choosing where to get started, they looked at a range of factors, including: ease of doing business, corruption, legal systems, artisan skill-sets and, most importantly, the social impact needs of the artisan communities. We used much the same criteria for selecting our next partner country, Ghana, in 2015!
WHAT DOES “INDEGO” STAND FOR?
Indego is a fun twist on the color indigo!
YOUR MISSION IS TO EMPOWER ARTISAN WOMEN, BUT I SEE SOME PICTURES OF MEN ON YOUR SITE. WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THAT?
You’re right—our mission is to empower artisan women in Africa who lack access to resources and opportunities simply because of where they were born and often because of their gender. The vast majority of the artisans that we work with in Africa are women.
That said, we’re all about inclusivity and don’t discriminate against men in the communities we work with. In Ghana especially, we do partner with some artisan groups that are made up of men (this is because of the unique history of craft-making there—read more about it here! While we are excited to work with these talented male artisans, our core mission remains to empower and support artisan women. Moving forward, we are stepping up our efforts to integrate more women into the artisan sector in Ghana and are helping Ghanaian women become entrepreneurs and start their own artisan businesses.
WHAT DOES YOUR DESIGN PROCESS LOOK LIKE?
All of our products are designed in NYC by our Creative Director, Deirdre King! These ideas are then shared with our production teams in Rwanda and Ghana who work alongside our artisan partners day in and day out to explain our vision. The last step in creating an Indego Africa product lies with the remarkable artisans who bring these concepts to life through their amazing artisanal skill (see all the techniques we work with here ) We consider our design process to be truly a global collaboration and we're proud that this shows in our final product.
ARE YOUR PRODUCTS ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY?
At Indego Africa, we seek to be as eco-friendly and environmentally-conscious as possible in the production of all of our products! We use a range of natural raw materials sourced in Rwanda and Ghana including sweetgrass, banana leaf, bolga straw, recycled tin, upcycled cowhorn, palm leaf, and more. We partner with several groups that use recycled materials in their production process including recycled tin in Rwanda and recycled brass in Ghana. We also seek to reduce waste in our production process by repurposing scrap fabrics and other leftover materials across our product lines.
WHERE DO YOUR PRODUCTS SHIP FROM?
All of our products ship from our warehouse in New York City.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR MY ORDER TO ARRIVE?
All orders leave our warehouse via USPS priority within 1-2 business days of your purchase. Shipping times vary based on destination, but domestic parcels typically arrive within 2-3 days of shipment. We also offer expedited shipping options at checkout for an additional fee. Please see our Shipping Rates & Times page for more information.
CAN I SHOP YOUR PRODUCTS IN RWANDA OR GHANA?
While our products aren’t available for sale in Rwanda or Ghana (yet!), you are welcome to visit our partner artisan groups and shop their own collections of beautifully handmade goods! Please reach out to email@example.com for more information and a shopping guide.
CAN I BUY A GIFT CERTIFICATE?
Yes! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll get one set up for you right away.
HOW DO I MAKE AN EXCHANGE OR RETURN?
We want you to love our products as much as we do! That’s why, if you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, we will gladly accept returns within 10 days of the arrival of your order. Please contact email@example.com to give us a heads up, and once we have receive the returned order we will issue you a full refund. Please note that, as a nonprofit organization, we are not able to cover the shipping costs for returns (unless you received a damaged item).
Please ship return orders to:
51 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
I’D LOVE TO SEE YOUR PRODUCTS IN PERSON! HOW DO I DO THAT?
You can see and shop our products at a range of stores across the U.S. and the globe! Check out our Stockists Page to find out where.
Studio visits are also available by appointment at our office in NYC. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to request an appointment.
Plus, a few times a year we hold Pop Up Shops & Sample Sales in NYC. Sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media to be the first to hear about these exciting in-person shopping opportunities!
CAN I CARRY YOUR PRODUCTS IN MY STORE?
Have a store? We’d love to work with you! Email email@example.com for our catalog and more information on our wholesale policies.
HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
There are lots of ways to get involved! If you’re based in NYC, D.C., Miami, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, we’d love for you to join one of our Regional Boards (more details here). You can also sign up for our newsletter or follow us on Instagram (indego_africa), Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest to be the first to know about all things Indego. Lastly, by donating online or buying a product, you’ll be making a direct impact on the lives of women in Africa.
I’M AN INTERIOR DESIGNER. DO YOU OFFER TO THE TRADE DISCOUNTS?
We offer a 15% trade discount for interior designers. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on how to place an order!
I’M A BLOGGER / INFLUENCER AND I’D LOVE TO HELP PROMOTE YOUR BRAND! DO YOU HAVE AN AFFILIATE PROGRAM?
We love to work with bloggers and influencers whose aesthetics align with our own! Shoot us a note at email@example.com to introduce yourself—we’d love to chat about how we can work together.