Happy New Year!! I hope you all had a restful holiday season and were able to reflect on 2016 and all the past year has brought. This time of year is always a mix of emotions for me as I reflect on the ups and downs of the previous year and set goals for the one to come. For me, the start of Zuri Collection was the highlight of the year. I remember this time last year, Zuri was a mere dream—very fuzzy, full of fear, and without a name. A few months later, I was booked on a flight back to Tanzania with an LLC formed, and a name solidified (thank you, T!).
As my trip drew closer, I started to dream up what types of designs Zuri would carry and I started to follow fair trade fashion trends closely, rather than as a consumer, as I had been previously. I was in contact with some of the friends I had made while living in Arusha, Tanzania a couple of years prior, and shared with them what I was venturing to do. Other than that, I really didn't know what to expect. I just kept following the conviction in my heart and the wisdom my friend, Emily Sexton, of the Flourish Market, once told me, "Everything is figure out-able."
Finally, my dear friend Kate (who I couldn't have done this without) and I arrived at Kilimanjaro airport in Tanzania. Without much of an agenda, we hopped in our friend's car and headed towards Arusha. The next 10 days I look back on as an amazing set of events that only could be orchestrated by God. I had prayed to come back to Chicago with one solid partnership, but in His Grace, I came back with orders placed with six different artisan groups, one of which I was helping to start myself!
Kate and I on an empty (which never happens) daladala
Picking out fabric with Annette, for our Dorice Pencil Skirt
As I look forward to this year, I still recognize some of those same fears I had this time last year lingering inside. Will I be good enough? Do I know what I am doing? If there's one thing I have learned, it's not about me and if I will be good enough or if I know what I'm doing. It's about following those same convictions that led me here in the first place and trusting the one who put those convictions there. It's about making choices that reflect my hopes for Zuri and not my fears. And my hopes are that Zuri will grow into a fair trade fashion brand that showcases the beauty of Tanzania and other countries across the globe while bringing you quality, unique, and timeless pieces that you will come to love because of their innate beauty and the beautiful story they tell.
I don't typically do New Year's Resolutions, but rather meditate on one word throughout the year that transcends all areas of my life. I decided to focus on a word for Zuri this year too. Zuri's word for 2017 is fearless (synonyms: brave, courageous, daring, unafraid, unflinching). I want to be fearless in my quest to bring awareness to fast fashion, fair trade, and the power of our purchases. I want to be unflinching in my determination to support artisan businesses in Tanzania and across the globe, and to invest in the communities where Zuri's artisan partners live.
THANK YOU to those of you who have partnered with Zuri in 2016!! You are the reason we are able to continue advocating for our Tanzanian artisan partners in 2017! If you're looking for ways to help us get the word out about Zuri—here are a few ideas:
- Follow us on Instagram and tag friends who you think would like to join us! (@zuricollection_)
- Tag us in a Facebook/Instagram post with a link to our website
- Share this post on social media
- If you're in the Chicagoland area, host a trunk show (email firstname.lastname@example.org
I am looking forward to what's ahead in 2017!!! What are your New Year's Resolutions?! Please share below—I'd love to hear what you all do!