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Updated: 5 days ago


Zellipah initiated the idea of Gitzell Fairtrade in 1998 when she came to the US to attend college and brought a suitcase full of souvenirs that she had had been gifted by her nieces in Africa. She came to the US to attend college and started showcasing her souvenirs to teachers and students which led to eventually selling the souvenirs at a cultural exchange activity at the university. Following the success at the university, Zellipah began Gitzell FairTrade and showcased the artwork at both craft fairs and festivals. Zellipah continued working with artisans from several African countries and supporting over 220 families. The increasing sales at the craft fairs and festivals eventually led her to begin selling wholesale. Gitzell FairTrade is a member of Fair Trade Federation


Zellipah’s experience with making baskets goes back to childhood. She was born in Kenya and is part of a large family with 9 children on her mother’s side and 17 children on her father’ side. The inspiration for Gitzell FairTrade really stems from her mother’s work with knitting and weaving baskets. She learned how to make sisal baskets even before learning to read and write. She would then help her mother with selling both baskets and farming produce at the local market near the health center. The family had a fence lined with the sisal cactus that provided readily available raw materials for basket weaving and also served as a protection and privacy fence.


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Aside from Gitzell FairTrade:

Zellipah has taken the initiative to launch Project Gold finger during Kenya’s worst drought in 60 years. She launched this project with 16 ladies in her hometown of Ngorano, Nyeri. This grew to supporting over 100 families. The goal of the project is better crop production through education and training. The main focus is on proper seed selection and growing methods. The Gold finger name stems from the notion that these women’s fingers can produce “gold” and earn income with the proper tools and resources. The mission of Project Goldfinger is to improve the livelihood of rural women through various community projects.

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Updated: Nov 22

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Inspiring Conversations with Zellipah Githui of Gitzell FairTrade International


Alright, thank you for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us how you got started? I was born in Kenya as the 8th child out of 9 of my mother and 16th out of 17 of my father. As a young child, I knew firsthand what hunger is and experienced what being without looking like. My father was a civil servant, and my mother was a subsistence farmer. While not farming, she was sewing, knitting, and weaving sisal baskets. At that time, the fence to our homestead was sisal-cactus lined for 3 reasons: 1. to put bad guys away with the thorns, 2. give privacy 3. provide the raw material for mum’s baskets.
Sewing I did not like, even today. Needleless to say, I started knitting and weaving baskets before I knew how to read and write. I learned to weave and enjoyed weaving sisal baskets. I also learned to sell at the markets primarily near our health center, where I sold bananas, sweet potatoes, baskets, etc. this was to supplement my mum’s income from her farm produce to help with food and school fees.
Fast forward, I moved to the united states in 1998 with a suitcase full of souvenirs from my family. With my love of community engagement, I started showcasing my souvenirs to the students and staff, and Soon souvenirs were sold in a cultural exchange activity in college. An idea sparked Mmm.
My dream became finding a way to share the beautiful work of the artisans- (passion with baskets) with others in a way guaranteed to benefit everyone involved in a fair and prosperous way. I started Gitzell Imports LLC(Gitzell Fairtrade International) focused on craft fairs and festivals. I later started wholesale and joined the Fair Trade Federation.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been fairly smooth? My business terrain has had some bumps. 1. Niche Market & acceptance – Identify the right market for the African handcrafts. I have leveraged this to create the niche market
2. Language and accent bias- The listener thought I spoke another language while I spoke English. This authenticity has been my superpower
3. Non-standard supply chain-Grassroot- because the baskets are done in rural, remote areas, getting goods to the city for export is not always easy. I have turned this into an opportunity where I train and speak on it.
4. Financing- access to funding for import business continues to be a great challenge.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Gitzell FairTrade International? Gitzell FairTrade has a selection of hand-woven baskets, home décor, hand-made jewelry, and a variety of zen gardens decor. Gitzell FairTrade International partners with weavers in different African counties and helps Improve their livelihood one basket at a time by selling various African Baskets in the global market and currently supporting over 220 families. We work under the principles of the Fair-Trade federation. Artisans use environmentally friendly and sustainable materials. We work with artisans to develop different ways of adapting to the changing market. Working with artisans in Africa is both rewarding and socially ethical.
Our specialty is the African Basket. All shapes, sizes, and colors of the basket. We are largely wholesalers and online retail. Gitzell FairTrade is well respected for the authenticity, partnering with producers, good quality, and training extended to the larger fair trade industry. I, as the founder, have a lot of passion for this as I know how it impacted our family with the woven baskets. I have the same joy in impacting a family’s life in Africa.
What does success mean to you? Success is when there will not be a single soul sleeping hungry. We each need to do our part. When I was young, I saw a lot of poverty and defined what success meant to me. I defined it as “having a distribution center in Kenya where lots of people would be employed so they can feed their family and improve their livelihood.” Almighty God determined the distribution center to be in Saint Charles, Missouri.

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Updated: Oct 18

Weavers pride is rare and unique pot design bolga market baskets handmade by weavers in West Africa, Ghana, in Bolgatanga village. From ancient times to the present times with weaving art dating over 300 years. All round design baskets with a single handle across like these are called market baskets. It takes a large amount of natural grass, straw, leather, Kinkahe grass (Bolgatanga Elephant Grass), time, and skillful thoughts to complete a Bolga market basket. They first gather 100% natural elephant grass and split strands in half weaving over for days to finish one complete basket.



Our Pot design market Bolga baskets come in 2 different colors tones and trim on the leather handle. They are Large Bolga baskets measuring approx 12-14" wide by 15-18" high (not all are identical as are they are all handcrafted). They come in 2 tones Natural dye-free and Navy Blue with different designs & patterns that spell out elegance, pride, and beauty. Hence the name “WEAVERS PRIDE” Colored baskets are permanently food dyed while rich gold (natural color) is dye-free.

They are durable and stay fresh all year. They last and maintain shape for years. They are resistant to all weather and maintain its shape and color for many years. If you need to "reshape" your basket, gently mist with water and reshape by hand, then allow it to dry. Keep the handle dry. Shipped from USA made in Ghana and will arrive flattened. Instructions will be included.

Mainly used as planters, for storage, centerpiece, fireplace décor, Wedding gift, wine storage, farmers market, to store towels, pool or bathroom basket, toys organizer, knitting projects, magazines, or bathroom accessories, yarn, fruits, and all your goodies. Take it on a picnic or a beach tote. Uniquely beautiful.

You will receive one of this POT Design Bolga African Market basket (2 Tone)




Bolgataga weavers often use their weaving income to educate their children.

Grab Your Basket Now and let's support these weavers. Fairly traded products

"Bringing relaxation and joy to your home!"

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