SAHARA.IE specialises in sourcing and selling handmade crafts from artisans across sub-saharan Africa. We scour local villages across the region seeking the most skilled artisans producing crafts of the highest quality for your home or wardrobe.
The business was founded by Barikisu Ali Telfer, a girl from Wa, raised in Bolgatanga, Ghana (Bolga for short) but now living and raising a son in Dublin, Ireland.
During my time in Ireland I'd been impressed by the countries entrepreneurial spirit and in Dublin in particular. In fact, a 2019 study by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor reported Ireland ranked fourth across Europe for budding entrepreneurs.
In Ghana, this approach to earning a living is almost customary. In a fundamental way everyone is a hustler in Ghana from small market traders, to tech start ups, to (in our case) vibrant basket weaving and other artisanal communities of the north. Unfortunately, a key issue nascent micro enterprise find challenging is to scale. It’s this knowledge on the ground that gave birth to SAHARA.IE.
Hence, our goal is to support artisans across Africa by providing access to external markets, levelling up their entrepreneurial endeavours by leveraging this site as a platform. In so doing, we aim to provide our customers with handcrafted sustainable products that are truly unique.
At launch, our Bolga Basket range is the first to market. These baskets are typically made by women from farming communities in the northern region of Ghana. Historically, the soil within the region fails to sustain these communities through commercial farming activities alone, hence basket weaving provides additional income for artisans to support their families.
The baskets are constructed from Elephant Grass (Pennisetum Purpureum) harvested from local fields and are entirely hand made. The dried straw is then dipped into boiling water and natural dye giving it vibrant colours. Then our highly skilled weaver selects the appropriate strain of grass for each part of the basket, then weaves from the bottom up.
This skill has been maintained in these communities for generations. Essentially these communities form the back bone of our supply network.
Our Pledge and Moonshot Goals
The empowerment of these rural communities is a key objective. Our goal is to bring products from rural communities in Africa directly to customers in Ireland and beyond, cutting out middlemen and ensuring local artisans are paid a fair price for their craft.
Within two years, our moonshot goal is to remit 50% of profits directly to artisans and/or community development projects
Our pledge to customers:
- To provide unique one of a kind items
- To provide high quality handmade products
- To ensure sustainable techniques and practises are maintained throughout our supply network
Our pledge to Suppliers:
- Always pay a fair price
- Re-invest profits back into local communities
- Strict application of all legal regulations regarding, employment, environmental and health & safety issues