Zainab Ashadu - Zashadu

Finalist of the The FEED Most Socially Responsible Handbag


2014 Finalist Zainab Ashadu Zashadu


What country are your bags manufactured?
We work with local artisans hailing from Northern Nigeria, and preserve and enhance skills that have been passed down through generations. We pay our artisans a good wage, and provide accommodations, and healthcare at no cost. We also work with locally sourced and treated materials and teach and update our team with the latest industry practices.

Please explain how your bags are socially responsible?
Yes we do. In collaboration with another local organization, we go into rural areas in Northern Nigeria to teach design to craftswomen, in particular.

Do you work with local/native artisans to design your bags?
Yes, we run our own workspace and provide a clean, airy, bright, and happy working environment. We enforce regular breaks, provide drinking water, pay our workers a good wage (at least 100% above the minimum wage in Nigeria), and provide accommodations and healthcare free of charge. All our workers are 18 or over.

Working Conditions - Are the manufacturers/artisans that are being employed being treated humanely, of age, and working in safe and acceptable conditions? Please explain.
I chose Nigeria because I am Nigerian, and was partly raised in Nigeria. For many years I lived in the UK, received my training and apprenticeship in London, and decided to come and live back in Lagos. I knew that Nigeria used to be a big leather producer but for various reasons, lost its way. I wanted to contribute towards the revival of the local leather industry in my own small way. I also wanted to draw attention to the very skilled and competent artisans whose talents were under appreciated. I hope that with our work we are able to change the perception of creativity and production in Africa.

Why did you choose this country to have your bags made and what made you decided to give back?

See other finalists from the 2014 handbag awards