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The idea of KENZINA really started in 2003, when Louise Brodersen moved to Dakar in Senegal, West Africa. In fact the most Western point of Africa. She lived there for 5 years, fell in love and had their first daughter Inaya in Senegal. She often visited a local artisan village, where they made everything from handbags, to wooden carvings, silver smiths, beautiful textiles and much much more. She started working with the locals and ordered bags for herself, her friends and her family. As a team, Louise and Apape make the perfect combination of understanding the local culture and language (Wolof) as well as understanding the business processes and high quality products demanded in Denmark. They are therefore able to bridge the two cultures, and make 1+1=3. KENZINA also has a “lifestyle” range with other handicrafts from Senegal.
Kenzina works in close partnership with local artisans living in Dakar to produce the beautiful, exquisite handmade bags and belts in genuine exotic skins such as crocodile, Python and Nile Monitor lizard.
All products are exported from Senegal and imported into Denmark with CITES certificates. This means the sustainability of the species has been studied and the species exported is not classified as endangered but as sustainable. They thus keep a control of the number of skins being exported so they can keep record of the sustainability.
KENZINA is not yet Trade Fair certified, but adhere to Fair trade principles. In the KENZINA world this means, working in a very close partnership with the local artisans, with frequent dialogue and communication. This means respecting tradition and culture, yet not being afraid of introducing new ideas. This means complete pricing transparency, the local artisans know the sales price of the final product, taxes, as well as the factor shops use if the products are sold in shops. This means they constantly know how much of the “cake” they are receiving. A large prepayment is made when an order is made, this is to finance the purchasing of the raw products (the skins, the dye, the textiles for inside the bags) It also helps to cover the payment of the local workers for their work. Each person has a particular model they work on, and are paid per bag they finish. From raw skin to finished bag take approx 10-14 days. When faulty goods are delivered, it is normally too expensive to send them back, and freight costs already play a significant role in the final cost of the product. In this case, Kenzina and the manager of the local artisans come to an agreement as to how to handle this. Sometimes KENZINA will sell them as 2. assortment, other times if possible they are sent back to Dakar and returned to the producer, and other times an agreement on a realistic and fair price is agreed upon.
We are proud to introduce you to the beautiful KENZINA bags and belts handmade the traditional African way, and to showcase the talent of the local Senegalese artisans. The people we work with all have a long tradition and history of working with leather and exotic skins making bags, belts and shoes and are proud of their trade.
KENZINA is a small family run business. The name KENZINA comes from “Kenza” Louise and Apape’s youngest daughter born in Denmark and “Inaya” the oldest daughter born in Dakar. The name thus signifies the mix of both Danish and Senegalese tradition and culture. And because of our long history together, the team we work with have also become like a second family to us and we hope to continue this into the next generations to come, now at least the seeds have been sown.
We hope you'll enjoy your KENZINA product.