When you come across a new style concept like Harkiss Designs, you may wonder, “What’s this all about?” At first glance through our catalog, you may think you have it figured out, but Harkiss is much more than the fresh designs you’re seeing.
In fact, each item has its own story, starting with the idea and following a vibrant narrative of color, style, texture and craftsmanship. Each story takes on added dimension as the histories of designer, artisans, and materials become part of the plot. And every tale takes place in several geographic settings, with transitions from one hemisphere to another adding the flavor of adventure.
Harkiss Designs originate in the heart of East Africa and in the heart of Harriet Zaffoni, a New York designer with deep Ugandan roots. A unique collaboration spanning international borders, Harkiss Designs are a natural spin-off from Harriet’s Ugandan Merchandise company.
What sets Harkiss apart in the marketplace is the guiding principle behind each design – to provide East African women with the assistance they need to turn their generations-old artisan tradition into a bright, new economic future for their families and communities.
Harriet’s concept for the company is to work closely with community craft co-ops in the East African nations of Uganda and Rwanda – to provide them with continuous employment, crafting items of her own design from natural, sustainable materials of local origin.
Her first-hand knowledge of the communities and the indigenous resources inform her designs, while her experience as a New York businesswoman gives her an insider’s understanding of the styles and accessories most in demand in the American marketplace.
By ensuring that salaries and working conditions in East African facilities meet acceptable standards, and by actively working with charitable foundations such as SHAVR – Support HIV/AIDS Victims Rwanda – to provide critical infrastructure, Harriet and Harkiss Designs join with Ugandan Merchandise to foster a new hybrid of compassionate capitalism.
If you like a good story that’s full of adventure, human interest and history, support Harkiss Designs. By adding your own narrative to the threads woven by East African artisans, you can make the rich history of your Harkiss accessories uniquely your own.