Zazzle Teams Up with Ubuntu Life to Bring Customizable Espadrilles from Africa to the World
Zazzle’s technology combined with its people-powered ecosystem connects consumers, designers, manufacturers and major brands. As part of the commitment to its philanthropic-inspired program called Zazzle Heart, Zazzle has taken the next step to power manufacturing at scale and to have an impact through the partnership with Kenya-based Ubuntu Life. The made-to-order Afridrille exhibits the dynamic spirit of Zazzle’s marketplace for customizable products and designs, which continues to empower people to express their creativity and make a living at a global scale.
As the largest employer in Maai Mahiu, Kenya, Ubuntu Life pays above-market wages that enable a community of skilled Kenyan artists and Maasai tribes-women, affectionately called the ‘Maker Mums,’ to support their families and in many cases, become homeowners. These Maker Mums are all mothers to children with special needs.
“Our mission at Zazzle is to give people the power to make anything imaginable – and that includes making lives better too,” said Jeff Beaver, co-founder, and chief product officer, Zazzle. “We see the Afridrilles and our partnership with Ubuntu Life as a beautiful example of how Zazzle provides sustainable, meaningful jobs for individuals and communities so that they can both follow their dreams and support their families.”
After a successful pilot of a limited set of Afridrille designs which captured the interest of many, including late-night talk show host, Jimmy Kimmel of Jimmy Kimmel Live, visitors can today find a complete range of customizable Afridrilles on Zazzle. Customers can use Zazzle’s proprietary tool to create a unique shoe that fits their own style by selecting the color of the canvas, the style, and color of the print, and the inner kanga fabric lining (a colorful geometric fabric worn in East Africa). Once ordered, each shoe is rendered using Zazzle’s technology, crafted and sourced with natural, local materials with an emphasis on comfort and durability, and then hand-sewn by the Maker Mums.
All proceeds from the Afridrille sales, along with sales of other handmade products such as leather journals and canvas totes available for custom order through the Zazzle marketplace, go directly towards these marginalized mothers and the medical care and education for their children with special needs in Kenya.
“I couldn’t imagine a better partner than Zazzle, both creatively and business-wise, to help us empower our community through sustainable enterprises producing high-quality products and experiences at scale,” said Zane Wilemon, co-founder, and chief executive officer, Ubuntu Life.
Afridrilles range in price from $89.95 to $99.95 and are available for purchase now at https://www.zazzle.com/heart
Zazzle is the world’s leading online destination empowering people to customize products and designs. Our proprietary technology connects consumers, designers, manufacturers and major brands such as Disney and Warner Brothers to customize and make anything imaginable. Zazzle’s rapidly expanding product base of over 100 different categories includes everything from apparel and accessories, invitations, art, home goods, office supplies, electronics, and custom gifts. Zazzle provides tools to design digital and physical products, coupled with content and images for inspiration. Upon creation, products and designs are instantly and accurately visualized on the site and offered in the Zazzle marketplace. When ordered, products are made on-demand, typically within 24 hours. To achieve all of this, we’ve built never-before-seen hardware and manufacturing systems along with patented, cutting edge software and tools. Launched in 2005 and based in Redwood City, California with locations in Ireland, Nevada, and Texas, Zazzle has grown from a Silicon Valley startup to a global brand with multiple international domains and a worldwide ecosystem of makers and designers.