This month we had an opportunity to connect with Elewana’s retail managers, Lauren McFarlane and Alison Hugo, who oversee the the purchasing and organisation of retail products and gifts at the retail boutiques at properties in Tanzania and Kenya.
How do you choose which products to feature in each of the camps
We try to incorporate items from local communities, such as jewellery from a local Maasai village, as well as items that are relevant to the environment and wildlife of each camp. For example, at Loisaba, we feature retail items with the black leopards which have made their habitat in the Conservancy while at Amboseli, which is known for its beautiful population of elephants, we like to share gifts that highlight the gentle giants.
Can you share more about how the products are ethically sourced
Wherever possible we support local communities or community driven employment opportunities. We also look at what the products are made from, e.g. sustainable wood choices or recycled materials, such as plastics or metal. We focus on sourcing where there is social impact and support local small business in each respective country, wherever possible.
What are some of the more favourite/bestsellers amongst guests
Guests really love to return home with mementos representing local crafts such as Maasai beadwork or a special piece of jewellery that will bring back memories of their time on safari with Elewana.
What are some of your most favourite gifts that you've selected
There are lots of beautiful gifts made by local communities, so it is difficult to choose. Local artists who create housewares utilising recycled materials including repurposed textiles and glass are a favourite, as well as felt stuffed animals made by a local orphanage in Kenya. In Tanzania, guests love to purchase products from Shanga which is located next door to Arusha Coffee Lodge. The workshop and boutique offer handblown glassware, handmade jewellery, Tinga paintings, metal work and charm bracelets and necklaces made with recycled fishing wire and a selection of tunic dresses, skirts, and sarongs for youngsters made with kitenge materials in vibrant African inspired colours.
Are there gifts that are featured only in certain camps/lodges or only in Kenya or Tanzania
Yes, our beach properties offer sarongs which are not sold at our bush camps. Many of our bush camps also feature gifts connected to a specific community-based project located near the camp, whether it’s a particular style of beaded jewellery, beaded placemats, or other items made by local Maasai artisans.
What new products will be featured in 2023
We are working very hard behind the scenes to bring on more local community driven products and projects that are created specifically for the Elewana Collection brand. There will be specific products that are bespoke for a particular property and we are also working on collaborations with local artists. Stay tuned!