Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to set up Hadeda which specialises in artisanal African craftsmanship?
It came about when we were living in Tanzania, I was working as an interior designer doing up homes in Dar es Salaam sourcing local product and I realised how many incredible makers and creatives there were around me. I wanted to show these talented artisans to the rest of the world, which is where Hadeda began its journey.
How do you find the artisans you work with, and are they all female-led?
I wanted to make sure I knew exactly who was making the products and ensure I was supporting artisans through our work. I visited different countries, speaking to the makers and building relationships as I went about curating our first collection. Not all our artisans are female-led, but a strong selection of them are. It is very important to me that the support we give the Artisans we work with enables them to educate and empower the women who would, without clients like Hadeda, not necessarily have access to such things we take for granted in our Western World.
You've lived in various parts of Africa. Do you have a favourite part?
Llandudno beach in Cape Town, where we spent most of our time when we first met. Alex loves to surf, and I love the beach! The Serengeti in Tanzania. The bush – those incredible landscapes and sunsets. We also got engaged there. Kilifi on the Kenyan coast. So laid back and bohemian.
What's the best and worst thing about running your own business?
I love being our own boss. Which means I am the master of our own time. That way, I can work around the kids so I spend as much time with them as possible. But it is a double-edged sword as I then end up working in the evenings and tiring myself out. There has to be a balance, but I’m not sure I’ve quite worked it out!
Your house must be filled with lots of lovely African homewares. When it comes to African art, what are you mainly drawn to?
I would love to say that is the case, but right now we are renting out our house in the UK and renting a house in Cape Town as we moved in October. So a lot of our lovely things are in storage, and we are living in a rather soulless rental. It is waiting to be “Hadeda’d” and then it will be fabulous! When it comes to African art, I’m always drawn to colour and texture, whether that is in a painting, ceramics or textiles.
We are supporting Tusk with our latest exhibition at Thyme, with 15% of sales donated to the conservation charity who have worked to accelerate the impact of African-driven conservation for more than 30 years. Can you tell us a little bit about how you keep sustainability at the forefront of Hadeda and why it’s so important?
Sustainability has always been the top priority for Hadeda. When Hadeda launched in 2019, I set out on a simple mission: to uplift as many artisans and communities as possible by showcasing the beauty of their hand-crafted homewares to the world. After living in Cape Town and Tanzania, I fell in love with the craftsmanship and the exceptionally talented artisans I met along the way. “From traditional techniques passed down through generations to modern design, there are so many streams of talented designers in Africa. I knew we needed to share the magic, wonder, tradition and excitement of discovering these talented makers with others’ hence why it will always be so important to me.
Kate has picked out her favourite pieces from our brand-new exhibition at Thyme
Huge thanks to Kate for taking time out of her hectic schedule to chat to us! Follow Hadeda here.