Ayéya was created by Olowo-n’djo Tchala, the founder of the ethical body care brand, Alaffia. In October 2022, Alaffia streamlined her US operations such that her sister organization, Ayéya, will take over the products that are made from start to finish in West Africa. This includes all baskets, textile products and traditional black soap. This change will allow us to continue to work more directly with and support over 5,000 independent women basket weavers and Queen Alaffia artisans with fair wages and health care for their families, continuing in our mission of empowering West African communities and preserving cultural heritage.
What is Ayéya?
Ayéya means “life in balance” and was born out of a desire to empower. It endeavors to honor the virtuous circle between doing well as an enterprise & doing good in the world. Our deep connectivity and roots within West African communities create a bridge between their artisans and Ayéya’s North American friends, providing meaningful employment, preserving cultural knowledge, and bringing joy to life through beautiful and ethically crafted goods.
Ayéya’s goal is to empower women to create high-quality and ecologically responsible goods using traditional West African methods. It honors the generational knowledge of our 5,000+ co-operative members, which enables Ayéya to bring artisan, handmade, and ethically crafted goods to a global community. The artisans receive beyond Fair Trade wages and access to free healthcare for their families in exchange for their cultural wisdom & expertise.
Community is at the heart of Ayéya’s existence. Supporting women with sustainable wages helps to break the cycles of economic injustice and gender inequality and is an important part of enabling our co-operatives and communities to thrive. In addition, 10% of the sales from our co-operatives are given back to our communities through GACE (our nonprofit sister organization and giving partner) to fund projects where our artisans live and work.
One of Ayéya’s ways of giving back to the community is improving access to water. Around 20 percent of the population living in the rural areas of Ghana do not have access to clean drinking water sources. Women in Bolga walk more than 2 kilometres every day to collect water from a dam that is polluted. To help address the problem, Ayéya started a project to create many new wells in these communities to give the people easy access to water and make life easier.
Our Fairtrade Baskets
Ayéya baskets are woven in Bolgatanga, Ghana in 12 villages with more than 5,000 women basket weavers who are organized into co-ops. The Ayèya weavers work independently.
Each basket is unique and signed by the weaver. These sustainable, eco-friendly baskets are available in several styles and are perfect for picking fruits or flowers, carrying groceries, or for a day at the beach. It’s truly a joy to work with these extraordinary collectors and weavers and share their beautiful art with the world.
Stay tuned as we plan to launch some new items and categories in early 2024!