Some of you may be familiar with that little happiness-inducing, blue-box with white ribbon, little company known as Tiffany & Co. Well, the son of Mr. Tiffany, Louis Comfort, was not so into the whole jewelry business of his father but still managed to make a pretty penny blowing on some glass! His stained glass work can be found everywhere and includes lamp shades etc. selling for millions..Well, I think it's pretty safe to say that Kitengela Glass Studio is East Africa's answer to Mr. Tiffany's style. I have been to Kenya multiple times and heard about the famous Kitengela Glass Studio but the store I use to go to was all about vases and plates, etc. This stuff is great if you have a home or if you are going to give this stuff as a gift. But I'm pretty homeless at this point and already have so many things for that 'when I have my own apartment' phase that adding vases just wasn't a priority. BUT, the day that I left Nairobi, I went to lunch with a friend and in the restaurant there was a Kitengela boutique. Unlike the usual vase collection....there were beautiful glass jewelry and other stuff that I could easily pack and take with me without too much concern about breakage.
What makes this company so awesome? Well, besides training and hiring lots of poor Kenyans and giving them a fair wage (of course this is what they say on their website so 'fair' may really be .50 an hour depending on one's definition of fair), the products are made from recycled glass including 'melting scrap glass, lining walkways with bottle caps, weaving plastic bags into mats' and more! If you have been to some African cities, you KNOW how much waste is thrown right out into the streets so I love the fact that this little company is making the most of the materials that use to make there products! You can find their work all over Kenya, in hotels, malls, lodges, banks, etc.
While you can order their products, the shipping charges are pretty outrageous just because it costs a fortune to get anything out of Kenya not because the company to trying to take you to the cleaners.