Blog, news, highlights, artisan stories | Mbare

  • The Creators Behind our Seedpbod Bird Collection

    Meet Raina Mazwiembiri, designer and the leader of the team  of artisans that make the Seedpod Bird Collection.  Raina, her niece Siera and daugher-in-law Shingairai, (along with additional members of their extended family) make these quirky birds in all shapes and colors.  This is a family business that's been going for 20 years now and provides income for about 10 or more households.

    These seedpod birds have been one of our most popular items, and we wanted to give you a behind-the-scenes glance at the hands who make them unique! Raina takes a moment to offer up some gratitude to you, the customers and admirers of her creations in these video clips below. The other clip is a beautiful sweet song in their traditional Shona language.

    Enjoy these glimpses into their process and sharing!

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  • Good Karma Sale

    Here at Mbare,

    good-karma-sale

    ...supporting an artist  and their craft in Zimbabwe where the unemployment rate is 75%.

    ...spreading the joyful, passionate, and creative spirit of Africa to all of you!

    ....allowing our employees to spend the Holidays at home with their families cultivating connection and tradition.

    ...providing our customers with handcrafted items that embrace the creative human spirit.

    ...supporting our basket weavers in Senegal by constructing shelves hand-in-hand, and sharing business skills and knowledge with them.

    ...honoring ourselves, the artists we support, and our customers by operating with integrity and heart.

    ...giving a portion of our Holiday sales to one of our favorite humanitarian charities in Zimbabwe, The Homefield Centre.

    good-karma-sale-graph1This Holiday Season, we are shifting the language and the focus of the usual consumerism frenzy that happens the days following Thanksgiving. Instead of the spin of sales and promotions, Mbare is joining the Good Karma Sale Movement introduced by The Wild Unknown. We believe that the world needs love and cheer now more than ever. Through buying handcrafted items at Mbare, you are allowing us to spread love and cheer to our friends and neighbors in Zimbabwe.

    Yes, we are joyfully offering a way for you to save on handcrafted African goods! Use code GOODKARMA for 20% off from Friday, November 27-Friday, December 4. IN ADDITION, we will be donating 10% of sales during that week to a wholesome and wonderful humanitarian charity in Zimbabwe, The Homefield Centre.

    The centre's mission is "to provide quality care and education to the intellectually challenged adults with practical self help skills enabling them to be integrated back into the society."

    good-karma-sale-charity

    A note from Mbare's founder, Robbie Stewart:

    "The Homefields Centre has a special meaning and significance to me.  My uncle, Keith Allin, was placed there as a child due to some learning challenges that he faced.  Keith was a vibrant, happy and resourceful man who lived what some would consider to be a “tough existence”.   He was not angry and he did not blame anything or anyone for the circumstances that life presented to him.  He holds a very special place in my heart, not only as my uncle but as an example of how we are best served by seeing the world and our experience of it in the most positive light possible.  Our contributions to the Homefields Centre are in honor of this special man and beautiful soul."

  • MBARE Celebrates 20 Years of Sharing the Spirit of Africa!

    What an amazing 20 years it's been! Below is a collection of photos that represent our humble beginnings, family trips to Africa, and meetings with the many artisans that inform and enrich Mbare's vision. Enjoy this little trip down memory lane...we sure have! And here's to 20 more years of memories and beautifully crafted African items to adorn your space, lives, and hearts! We are so grateful!

    Please help us celebrate by using code "20 years" for 20% off your online purchase!

    ***Offer valid from 9/17/2015-10/02/2015***

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    Indigo cloth IMG_2514

    IMG_6565 IMG_6573Alexander Weza carving 1 P1050883 IMG_6413 IMG_1777

  • Colorful Metal Birds...Upcycling at its finest!

    Late August is a spectacular time in Georgia, where the home office of Mbare is located. Beautiful sunrises made the perfect backdrop to display our Colorful Recycled Metal Bird collection. These sculptures are hand carved from recycled oil drums in Zimbabwe. The unique color of the birds represent the original color of the drums! Upcycling at its finest! Here's a few of the gorgeous pictures of the birds in the lush, southern landscapes. Can  you imagine one of these sculptures in your lawn or garden?

    Shop the collection here!

    cattle-egret-collectionblue-heron-metal-sculpturecormorant-colored-metal  goliath-herons

  • New Shipping Rates + Free Shipping!

    MBARE Shipping RatesChecking out on our site just got easier! We have listened to your feedback which has been so helpful in directing us to continue delivering value when you buy our handmade and fairly traded items. We are so pleased to introduce shipping rates that are fair, reasonable and reflect the value our customers expect, both in the United States and abroad! 

    U.S Shipping Rates:

    Order Value: Shipping & Handling Fee:
    Up to $25.00 $5.95
    $25.01 to $49.99 $6.95
    $50.00 to $74.99 $8.95
    $75.00 to $99.99 $10.95
    $100.00 to $124.99 $11.95
    $125.00 to $149.99 $12.95
    $150.00 or more FREE

    International Shipping Rates:

    Order Value: Shipping & Handling Fee:
    Up to $99.99 $19.95
    $100.00 to $149.99 $24.95
    $150.00 to $199.99 $29.95
    $200.00 to $249.99 $34.95
    $250.00 to $299.99 $39.95
    $300.00 to $399.99 $44.95
    $400.00 to $499.99 $49.95
     $500 or more We will contact you with a shipping quote

    Enjoy a simple and straightforward checkout process at mbare.com. To kick things off, use code SHIP4FREE to receive FREE SHIPPING on orders of $50 or more. Offer is valid until July 31, 2015. 

    As always, thank you for shopping handmade, contemporary African styles!

  • Sneak Peak: Hand Beaded Wire Art

    Mbare Artist: Raymond BonjesiThe Mbare team has been seeking out new products in Africa that continue to inspire and uplift homes and spaces. Our mission continues to be to foster new relationships with artists of handmade craft and gather African items that enhance your home and life! We’ve traveled to Africa multiple times this year already, meeting with makers new and old to explore the craft of beading, weaving, dying and carving. The remainder of 2015 will be filled with new product launches and we are excited to introduce the first family of product: a new collection of hand-beaded wire art items. Artist Raymond Bonjesi makes each wire piece by hand in Zimbabwe. Over the years he has found his passion in wire art and is inspired by his community and life all around him.

    Customers far and wide have been asking for more domestic animals in our collection. Well, we have listened! Here is just a sneak peak of the beaded sheep family! Sturdy, playful, and handmade, the simple black and white color pallet makes them a versatile design accent. They will be available in two sizes. This is a very timely product for many, as 2015 is The Year of The Sheep!

    SHEEP-L-+-S-web

    Another new product in this line will be South Africa’s indigenous Nguni Cow. These beautiful mainstays of traditional Zulu culture are possibly the most beautiful cattle in the world. They have variously patterned and multicolored hides and striking bold horns; both depicted perfectly in the beaded version. Because of their hardiness, and in recognition of the cultural value of this breed, the South African government has initiated a project to get Nguini Cows back into rural communities, where both the cow and the families can thrive.

    Nguni-cow-pair-web

    The beaded version of this majestic animal is truly a sight to see. The maker, Raymond, has skillfully crafted this product with precision, definition and finesse that really highlight his artistic talent. The result is a beautifully elegant sculpture worthy of prominent placement in a discerning, art filled home.

    As a tribute to our ever-dependable Hope Carter, Director of Operations, we’re revving things up a little and adding a motorcycle to our beaded wire collection. Among her many interests, Hope is a Harley enthusiast and her input as helped us fine tune the design to reflect the sleek lines in the classic chopper style bike. They really represent the freedom and adventure that comes from riding the open road and will be available in two color schemes and in two sizes. Although motorcycles aren’t our typical product, we are excited about the new audience reach possible with these goods and the partnership possible with this new artist!

    Mbare Beaded Wire Art Motorcycles

    We will debut the new beaded products at the NY NOW tradeshow this August. We are so looking forward to your feedback and enthusiasm regarding the new products we have planned. Stay tuned!

  • Reconnecting with our producers

    This month I had the opportunity to go on a buying trip to Zimbabwe with the buyers of Ten Thousand Villages, a fellow fair trade arts and crafts business based here in the US.
    We went around the countryside and visited some of the artists we work with in their homes, which was such a treat. It reminded me of the way I used to buy our products when I first started this business almost 20 years ago, traveling to the homes of the artists that I was buying from and loading up my car and trailer with everything that caught my eye. Those days were fun and carefree, and this was a great opportunity to reconnect to how it all got started. Today we have a warehouse in busy Harare (the capital of Zimbabwe) and the artists come to us with their products, or we send our truck to pick them up.

    Each artist we visited received us in their home, which is also where they produce their creations. We got to see their environment, meet their families - who, for the most part also help in the production - and see and experience where these lovely artifacts come from. It was inspiring, refreshing and so worth it!

    We visited Kumbalani and Johannes in their homes in Mabvuku. They are the main artists who paint the tin range of animals we sell. After the tin gets cut and shaped it comes to them who give it the fantastic colorful designs.

    Another set of artists we visited were wood carvers Patisa Weza and his nephew Alexander Weza, who have in the last few years moved in together, and live in a cabin in a suburb near Harare. They are originally from a rural village near Victoria Falls, and have come to live closer to Harare to sell their carvings.

    We also happened to be in town at the time that the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) was going on, a huge plus! It was an awesome coincidence and a great opportunity to share the vibrancy and exuberance of the Zimbabwean culture with my visiting colleagues.

    And, of course, we also made time to see some of the fabulous wild life Zimbabwe has to offer. Visiting my home country, connecting with the artists, and sharing the culture with other buyers who in turn will share it with their customers, well....this my version of "another day in the office", and it is why I do this work.

    Johannes and Kumbalani Kumbalani working  PATISA WEZA carving 1 Alexander Weza carving 1

    hifa2011-12587 hifa2011-15447photo 2 (2)antelope

  • Supporting our local community in Georgia.

    We often talk about how Mbare empowers people in Africa without formal educational training and who possess great talent. By buying and importing their products we have supported more than 50 entire families of artists for over 15 years. This is indeed an essential part of our mission and a huge source of pride for us.

    But did you know that we also support people right here, in the US? We have recently partnered with Rehabilitation Industries of Northeast Georgia (RING) which is a private non-profit organization located near our warehouse in Georgia. They provide vocational services to individuals with disabilities or others with similar vocational needs to reach independence and self sufficiency through training, support and advocacy.
    Since its beginning in 1969, RING has served over 7,000 individuals with disabilities ranging from mental and physical disabilities to substance abuse and learning disabilities. Although most RING trainees are prepared for competitive employment, there is also a program for those who need continued support. This program provides gainful employment and greater independence for the most challenged trainees. There is never a fee to those receiving training and they have the opportunity to earn income through contract work generated by area businesses such as Mbare.

    We are so pleased to be using RING's services to prepare our little seedpod birds to be shipped. They wrap each individual piece in foam and pack them in boxes for us. They do a fantastic job and we are so glad we found them! It is so satisfying to know we can support people locally as well as all the way across the world in Africa. This is what it's all about...win win solutions that support each other.

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  • Africa in Athens! Athens, GA that is.

    Mbare's mission is to sell fairly traded art, crafts, home decor and personal accessories from Africa. We directly source products of the finest craftsmanship and design. Above all, we add value to people’s lives. People throughout the value chain are our greatest resource.

    Subscribe to our email list to get up-to-date news and discounts here!

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  • We Love Africa Tees: Want One?

    Africa Love Tees from Mbare.com

    We just returned from a very fun and successful trade show in New York! It's always great to see many of our customers in person, as well as meet new ones. For the first time we made several different company t-shirts that seemed to generate some smiles.  Numerous people asked if the shirts were for sale, which got us thinking...

    For us the shirts were a fun way to demonstrate our teamwork and spirit of support - for our producers and staff in Africa, as well as our staff and customers here. Love of the creative human spirit, that exists inside each of us, is truly at the heart of what we do.

    We thought we'd put it out to our larger customer base - are you interested in an Africa Tee?  Which design do you like best? While we are not in the t-shirt business, we're always open to new ways of spreading the word about our love of the beautiful culture and work that comes out of Africa - especially the products we import directly from our producers!

    So we're inviting you to give us some feedback.  Below are four different designs, and we'd like to know which are your favorites. Please post or send us a message on our Facebook page to cast your vote. We'd love to have some available for you by the holiday season!

    Option 1: Red Africa Love Tee

    Red Africa Love Tee

    Option 2: White Africa Love Tee

    White Love Tee

    Option 3: Painted Elephant Tee (2-sided)

    Painted Elephant TeePainted Elephant Tee - Back

    Option 4: Africa Hope Tee

    Africa Hope Tee

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