Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How do you pronounce, "Kibibi"?
Q: Why that name?
A: Hi there, my name is Bailey and I am the founding Kibibi here at Kibibi Design. My husband, Stephen grew up speaking Swahili in Kenya. When we were first married, I asked him what the word for Princess was in Kiswahili. There is no direct word, but “Kibibi” can be an endearing way to call a young lady, so he nicknamed me Kibibi as his way of calling me his Princess. Our hope is that the women who make our items and women who buy our items would know that they’re valuable and lovely.
Q: What is Kibibi Design?
A: We are a handcrafted artisan company seeking to help empower women in East Africa. Kibibi Design employs several artisans from basket weavers to leather artisans, to textile weavers and brass workers. We pay above fair trade value for our artisan's handcrafted items and we are developing systems to also provide business education, medical needs, and sustainable exposure to an international market. Currently, all of our profits go back into projects we partner with that help empower women and children. We are currently partnering with The Women's Teen Challenge Center in Kenya, Suubi House in Uganda, and summer camps for Syrian refugee children in The Middle East. To give to these non-profits directly, please email us for additional information at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: How can I follow Kibibi Design?
A: We currently have a few social media sites for you to follow in addition to this website. You can find us @kibibidesign Please follow us on Instagram and tag us in pictures of your lovely purchase.
Q: Do you currently have internship opportunities?
A: Yes. We are currently looking for a few college students to be Campus Interns for the Fall 2017 Semester. We are also interested in as those who aren't on a college campus, but who would like to be an intern with us during the same time frame. Once you contact us for more information at email@example.com, we'll send an application and additional information for this process.
Q: How are your products made?
A: All of our current baskets and purses begin with a weaving process and then they are taken to a local tannery where full grain leather is added. Here's some more information on each type of material used.
-Sisal: Making sisal baskets is a slow process; after removing the bark from the spiky sisal leaves, the fibers are then twined, then dyed twice and dried by the weavers. Each weave is made with great care and patience. Occasionally a little bump in the sisal or a knot can be seen. This will not affect the purse’s durability, and it only adds to the charm of the craft.
-Baobab: The brown woven patterns that we offer are made from baobab trees using their bark. The cork-like bark is fire resistant making quality rope and clothing for natives. The bark regenerates fast over one year where new materials can be harvested from the same tree. The bark is boiled to make it softer and this produces the fiber strings. This process of weaving takes three to six months to hand weave about eight square feet. It is definitely a precious product. Again, occasionally a little bump in the baobab or a knot can be seen. This will not affect the purse’s durability, and it only adds to the charm of the craft.
-Leather: All of the leather we use in our baskets and bags are sourced from local suppliers and hand stained with vegetable stain. The leather is of such quality that it will hold wear and tear very well. It is a full-grain leather which means you can see natural marks in the leather from the animal's skin and often there are areas where the dye absorbs more heavily than others. This is something we are proud of in that it means we are using the best grade of leather and providing more sustainability to the local farmers.
-Straw/ Grass Baskets: The straws and grasses are hand woven or braided delicately then lined with vibrant local East African fabrics and trimmed with leather and leather handles.
Q: How should I care for my basket or bag?
A: This is a great question and we definitely want your Kibibi purchase to be a lasting joy in your life, so here are a few tips to help ensure that happens.
-Sisal/ Baobab/ Wool Baskets or Bags:
- Take care when stacking your baskets as this can alter their shape. If your basket gets squashed, don’t panic, you can remold it by spraying lightly with water and draping over a bowl or pot of a similar shape.
- Protect your basket from getting wet especially if you're using your basket as a plant pot. You can line it with a thick plastic or keep your plant in a pot and saucer inside the basket. We recommend not placing baskets in areas exposed to lots of moisture as these are naturally dyed fibers.
- If your basket does get damp or wet, use an old or dark colored towel to gently fold over and extract the excess water. You could also hang the basket to dry.
- Keep away from direct sunlight to keep the colors bright. The dyed sisal will fade if exposed to strong sunlight, although this effect can be really pretty!
-Straw or Sisal Baskets:
- To unfold your basket after shipping, simply cut the strings attached to your basket. You can place either a round item in the base or a square box to hold it down and let it regain the original shape.
- If your basket becomes wet, use a towel to extract the excess water. Do not squeeze the basket as damage could occur. Hand or place the basket upside down until contents are dry.
- If the need arises to wash the inside lining of the straw baskets, you can use a gentle mild soap, but do this with only the lining being pulled to the side when the basket is upside down. Let it air dry. The wax textiles are water-resistant, but not waterproof.
-Full Grain Leather:
- We recommend protecting your full-grain leather by applying a protectant seal every 6 months for items frequently used. You can find a great product here.
To clean simply wipe it with a soft damp cloth. Water can damage or dry out leather over time, so use a damp, not a drenched cloth.
For stubborn marks or dirt, use a leather cleaner suitable for bags. The cleaner should be pH balanced as acidic or alkaline products may react with the chemicals in the finish. Do not use baby wipes or alcohol to clean the bag and avoid greasy products that could clog the leather's pores.
For general maintenance, dust the bag with a soft, dry cloth. Use a white cloth to prevent color transfer and try not to dampen or wet the leather as water causes stains and warping. If the bag has a stain that sits on the surface of the leather, brush it off with a soft bristle nylon brush. Take care not to brush too hard and damage the leather.
FOR STORAGE OF ALL ITEMS, IF POSSIBLE, STORE IN A DUST BAG. YOU CAN SUBSTITUTE WITH A SOFT COTTON PILLOWCASE. DO NOT WRAP LEATHER OR THESE NATURAL FIBERS IN PLASTIC, AS THEY REQUIRE VENTILATION TO PREVENT MOLD. STORE ITEMS IN A COOL, DRY PLACE WITH GOOD AIR VENTILATION. UNWRAP IT EVERY FEW WEEKS TO CHECK FOR MOLD AND ALLOW IT TO BREATHE.