Sidai Designs began in 2011 as a small workshop of five Maasai women, nestled on a dusty back street in the city of Arusha. Founders Eszter Rabin and Emanuel Melubo Laizer gradually expanded their network of women artisans in Tanzania, collaborating with them to create beautifully handmade jewelry using traditional Maasai beading techniques.
Their goal was to leverage traditional craftsmanship as a means of empowerment for Maasai women, helping them to break the cycle of poverty with opportunities for sustained employment.
Maasai culture provides an abundance of creative inspiration for Sidai’s distinctive designs. Each piece captures Maasai colors and patterns while still maintaining a contemporary aesthetic appeal. This synergistic use of traditional artistry and modern sophistication is what sets Sidai jewelry apart. Sidai also strives to limit its environmental impact, encouraging artisans to use thread from old grain bags or pieces of salvaged yogurt pots as boning for their glass-beaded creations.
Four years after its humble inception, Sidai has grown into a thriving company, boasting a new studio space, an internationally-launched collection of handmade jewelry, and a nationally registered sister charity called Sidai Maasai Women Organization. With ongoing initiatives to preserve heritage, build community, and provide financial independence, Sidai has established itself as an agent of hope and change amongst the Maasai community.
Sidai’s exquisitely handmade jewelry is stunning in its own right, but the company’s defining principle of social responsibility is undoubtedly its truest source of beauty.