Expanding to new parts of the globe has always been Nena and Co.'s dream! For us branching out means giving more artisan women and men the opportunity to not only preserve a beautiful part of their heritage but make fair wage incomes for their talents. The Nenatribe we have created is fortunate enough to bring together like minded souls who not only appreciate but seek out these handwoven works. It is because of their love and support for our brand that our dream is finally starting to become reality!
Nena and Co. is proud to bring you the Ghana Collection! We have partnered with verified members of the Fair Trade Federation in Ghana to produce our exclusive line of Nena designed hand woven bags. One is called our Full Moon straw bag and the other is ourHalf Moon straw clutch. Both will make you go totally googly eyed!
So you may ask, Why Ghana? We asked our founder and owner, Ali Hynek, to give us an insight into her reason behind kicking off her expansion with this country.
"I’ve always loved the look of the basket weavings from, but I wanted to create something more applicable to everyday life. I was inspired by the classic Moroccan round wicker basket and the traditional colorful tall Kinkahe grass weaving in Ghana. With the help of our Ghana weavers we created another one-of-a-kind bag collection that aligns with our core values!"
Ali has been known for her personal travels around the world and has said Africa holds a special place in her heart. The people and the culture were completely enchanting to her when visiting. By partnering with these african weavers she successfully been able to merge her creativity with her passion for artisans worldwide.
The process to create these One of a Kind straw bags is both long and tedious. The weavers will start by collecting the tops of Veta vera straw, known locally as kinkahe. This particular type of grass quickly replenishes itself with new growth, resulting in a sustainable straw for the future. Each half of the split straw is then twisted tightly by rolling it back together to give it strength. The straw is put in bunches and dyed in boiling water. The weaver carefully selects appropriate straw for the base, sides and handle. The selection of the proper grass for various parts of the basket is critical to good weaving. Weaving starts at the base and works up to the rim. There are a variety of different handles, but all are made with a sturdy
wrapping technique around a grass core. Our Nena Full Moon bag handles are then finished with hand loomed fabric made of cotton for comfort. This entire process can take up to 3 days to finish a single bag!
Needless to say the artisans we are working with are talented beyond compare! These weavers who create these bags are mainly subsistence farmers in the Bolgatanga region of Northern Ghana. They often use their weaving income to send their children to school. The Nena and Co. team is so excited to give this group of men and women the opportunity to showcase their art on such a much larger scale than they are use to!
Just like the us, these bags do have imperfections. Being one of a kind and crafted in the plains of Africa, this can only be expected! But we like to look at it as these bags are perfectly imperfect. We celebrate these imperfections because they are made by hand! The malleable nature of these bags can cause them to be "scrunched" in transit. If this does happen to happen, your bag can be easily molded back to the original shape with the help of a steamer in a matter of minutes.
Keep an eye out for these bags & your fingers crossed for expanding collections to come later this year!