After developing a mild obsession with Malagasy Raffia hats and bags while living in South Africa; the hats are chic and the bags colourful and gorgeous. Upon returning to Canada it became clear that while it is not uncommon to find market bags handmade in Africa, they are often from Ghana, and very different to those that are made in Madagascar, so we made the decision to get to work and find a supplier in Madagascar to work with. After an extensive search and a few roadblocks, we found Zoline from Artimada.
The raw materials for the bags and hats come from the countryside and the main parts of the bags are hand woven there, after which they are transported to the city to be finished off by hand with the addition of handles, accessories and additional overlays of coloured raffia many of the designs .
Since we started working with Artimada in 2017, we have seen a sharp increase in the price of product, which sadly has been attributed to a great deal of Madagascar's raw raffia being sent directly to factories in China for mass production.
Madagascar is a desperately poor country with very little opportunity for work, and as such, it is vitally important to support the Malagasy artisans by purchasing directly from them, so as to ensure their craft and their livelihood does not disappear.
We predominantly sell the bags and hats at summer markets in Vancouver's Lower Mainland and always have an amazing selection of product to choose from. Please refer to where to find us for details on upcoming market locations.