Across the board, Ustawi strives to create partnerships with different companies and organizations to further highlight our commitment to sustainability, giving back to the community and our African roots. This is evident in our recent partnership with AGOWA Handmade, an African-owned business in New York that sells baskets handcrafted by women in Senegal from sustainable materials.
Ustawi is dedicated to sustainability and the reduction of waste in all our endeavors. An important component is to ensure that each part of our packaging is either reusable or recyclable. We also feel the responsibility to try wherever we can to be meaningful and elevate our community. We partnered with AGOWA Handmade to use their baskets to deliver the Ustawi products in our gifting campaign to our press and influencer partners. Usually, when companies send out their products to the press, they use elaborate paper and plastic packages that are emblazoned with branding but are not reusable and most of the time not recyclable. This further contributes to the waste problem of single-use plastics piling up in landfills.
Therefore, in keeping up with our holistic mission: supporting underserved communities, providing products to promote wellbeing, and a commitment to sustainability and reduced waste, we chose to deliver our products in beautiful, handcrafted baskets made in Senegal. The baskets are produced by AGOWA Handmade which makes products that are environmentally conscious, reusable, and made in Africa. We used specifically the Diamond Pot as the main packaging because it's the perfect size basket to hold all our products. It has a beautiful diamond pattern, comes in a variety of vibrant colors, and is a portable size that can be re-used for storage or as a decoration that sits in any room of your home.
The AGOWA baskets are highly coveted items and have racked up quite the popularity in New York where their main store is based. When our partners receive the Ustawi products in the AGOWA Diamond Pot, they are essentially receiving two gifts.
Why Partner with AGOWA Handmade?
Ustawi’s partnership with AGOWA Handmade is fluid because we are aligned in many ways. With this partnership, we show our commitment to zero-waste packaging, support local businesses in America and Africa, and reinforce our connection to African roots.
Africa is the homeland to the founders of both Ustawi and AGOWA Handmade. Our founder and CEO Natacha Paugam is originally from Congo and AGOWA Handmade is owned by married couple Aliou and Fatou who are both from Senegal. In Aliou’s words, “our mission is to have AGOWA Handmade be a bridge between African art, especially handmade baskets from Senegal, and the international community, the United States in particular.”
Africa as the Source
Both companies are committed to going back to Africa as the source of ingredients and craftmanship, thus maintaining a clear standard of authenticity. Ustawi Skincare products are formulated using clean and natural ingredients sourced directly from Africa. One of our main ingredients, the Baobab superfruit, is native to Senegal. AGOWA Handmade baskets are handwoven by female artisans and weavers in Senegal. The baskets are weaved from local Ndiorokh grass intertwined with repurposed strips of plastic.
Both companies are committed to giving back. AGOWA Handmade works to combat the high rate of school dropouts in their community in Senegal. Their policy is that all women who work to make the AGOWA products are required to keep their children in school. According to the founder Aliou: “when customers purchase our baskets, they take home a unique, authentic, beautiful, and functional piece of art. But most importantly they help support a great cause.”