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- Makes eco-friendly, fashion-forward jewelry.
- Is the creation of two American entrepreneurs.
- Weaves together fashion, global opportunities, and positive impact to make sustainable change in Rwanda.
We're an up-and-coming accessories brand based in the U.S.A. and Rwanda, Africa. Our designs are inspired by the spirit and diversity of Rwanda, as we mix materials and traditional skills from different artisan collectives around the country to make something new.
Like a top chef who searches the world for the finest local ingredients, we seek out the best, all-natural materials in Rwanda to make our accessories. The result? Unique, high quality jewelry that you won't find anywhere else!
We're turning to the Indiegogo community to help us build a fashion workshop and production center in Kigali, Rwanda's capital.
Songa Designs started in 2011 when we (Sarah and Ellie) began working closely with women artisan-entrepreneurs all across Rwanda, meeting in cramped, poorly-lit rooms. Despite their incredible skill, most of them still lived day-to-day, doing all they could to keep themselves and their families safe and fed.
In those tiny rooms, our conversations were about more than daily survival. We talked about the fulfillment and sense of pride that artists feel when creating something of value. We decided there and then that we could build a business with our combined skills and talents—by working together to make beautiful jewelry.
In 1994, genocide devastated Rwanda. Since then, Rwanda has rebuilt itself and the world has lent support. The land here is beautiful. The people here are beautiful.
We asked ourselves: Can fashion accessories create change?
Slowly we all heal - through work that motivates us and lifts our spirits.
Rwandans want to change their story
We’ve spent the last two years working with 150 artisans in eight artisan cooperatives to refine our methods and train an exclusively Rwandan team to create over 20 different, intricate and mixed-material accessories.
Now we face our biggest challenge: consolidating production in a workshop and training center.
We're proud of building a small company with a big social impact but in order to grow our business even further, we need to streamline and centralize our production. Rwanda is a country close in size to the state of Maryland, but because of its topography, our artisans, who each specialize in a different material and traditional skill, are hours away from each other. As you can imagine, distance makes it difficult to produce each of our mixed-material pieces!
Our team needs a workshop in Rwanda
We want to spend less time traveling back and forth between cooperatives (red X's on the map above) and more time training, streamlining processes and creating innovative new designs.
So far, our accessories look fantastic. Orders are starting to come in. A workshop will enable us to produce larger orders in less time, maintain our high standards, and design new and exciting product lines. We need a central location where we can:
- Send materials and assemble products
- Warehouse our products
- Work with artisans
- Hold training sessions
- Check product quality efficiently and in one location
- Design new jewelry and product lines
When a woman is on a mission, she can't be stopped! The women we work with in Rwanda don't need aid or charity—they need an outlet for their creativity and a place in the market to display their talents and sell their products.
Indiegogo is that place.
On Indiegogo, we've seen that good things happen when artists and creatives are able to connect to fans and true supporters of their work. The beautiful Rwanda we know shouldn't be land-locked behind borders or hidden behind its notorious past.
Indiegogo is a chance to start telling a different story, together, and help lots of people look good in the process!
We need to raise $20,000 to make our dream a reality. Your funding will help us:
- Secure a workshop space in Kigali
- Fulfill Indiegogo rewards
- Buy product materials
- Pay staff and artisans to produce rewards
- Furnish workshop with equipment
- Fund transportation for artisans traveling from distant villages
Remember, we are a fair-trade business and not a non-profit. By supporting this campaign, you'll make a huge impact in building our workshop from the ground up!
Our project is all-or-nothing—"fixed funding." This means if we don't raise our total goal, no one receives their rewards, and most unfortunately, we won't have a central workshop space. When you contribute, Indiegogo will charge your credit card immediately. But if the campaign doesn't hit its funding goal, the payments will be refunded when the campaign ends.
We know we can meet our goal, but only with your help and by sharing our project with others will we be able to climb this next summit. You will move our business forward!
We've put together some awesome perks for this campaign, some exclusive to Indiegogo, like the ACCESSORIES CLUB and GIFT OF SONGA levels. We think you will love wearing our accessories as much as we love making them!
$25 level: WRIST CANDY - 1 Teagan bracelet (colors vary)
$35 level: CHOOSE A NECKLACE - 1 necklace of your choice: Marchesa (retail $42, materials - recycled fabric and sisal disks); Haven (retail $48, materials - paper beads and recycled fabric); or Zaza (retail $35, materials - sisal disk and recycled fabric).
$45 level: FIRST IN LINE - 1 Bella woven banana leaf cuff and 1 pair of our popular Watermark earrings. Get the unreleased bracelet before anyone else!
$50 level: THE GIFT OF SONGA, 50% OFF - SPECIAL HOLIDAY OFFER. Receive a gift certificate code for $100 worth of jewelry and accessories on our online store once the campaign ends! Boys—not sure what to buy her for Christmas? Easy. Give her this gift certificate and let her go to town on Songa's online shop!
(See FAQ below for full details)
$75 level: ONE OF EACH - 1 necklace, 1 pair of earrings, and 1 bracelet of your choice. Experience the best of Songa in one stylish and affordable package.
$125 level: DESIGN YOUR OWN - 1 custom-made accessory where you are the designer! We'll brief you on materials, colors, and artisan techniques as you work closely with our team to bring your piece to life. We're limiting this to 50 U.S. backers to make the most of this unique experience.
$150 level: ACCESSORIES CLUB - 12 accessories. 1 every month for an entire year, delivered right to your door. Choose from our current collection or we can surprise you with exclusive designs from our new collection before they're available to the public. Total retail value is over $300!
$400 level: CRAZY DREAMERS - Q&A with Sarah & Ellie plus the ONE OF EACH level.
Let's Accessorize the Internet
We need all the support we can get to build our fashion workshop for women artisans in Kigali, and we can't do it without you these next 30 days.
While living in Rwanda we learned the saying,
“Abishyize hamwe ntakibananira”
which translates to:
“Nothing is impossible for those who join their efforts”
Please join us in our efforts to bring Songa’s designs to confident, stylish women everywhere and spread the word to all your friends, fans, and subscribers. Our social media links are below.
FAQ - Questions? Comments? Perks you'd like to see?
Email us at email@example.com!
Q: Can I receive the GIFT CERTIFICATE before Christmas so I can give it to my loved one as a present?
If you're giving this perk as a gift for Christmas, we can email the the gift certificate to you by December 24th. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of the person you're giving the gift certificate to and we'll take care of the rest.
Remember: As with all our Indiegogo perks, this gift certificate will only be valid IF we meet our goal of raising $20k by 1-3-13. If for some reason our campaign doesn't reach its goal (you told all your friends about Songa, right?), everyone is refunded their contribution regardless of perk level.
Q: What can I expect from the ACCESSORIES CLUB reward level?
We will send you one accessory of your choice every month for one year. You will receive existing products from our web store, preview new designs, and have the opportunity to choose from exclusively unreleased designs before anyone else sees them. Every month we email you three designs to choose between. Or we can surprise you each time—it’s up to you! Each accessory will be accompanied by a Songa story/video about running an international fashion business, our production processes, and the changes we are able to make because of your contribution.
Q: How does the DESIGN YOUR OWN level work?
We want to provide a creative and memorable design experience for you as you work with artisans in Rwanda. We will provide you with pictures of different pieces made from native Rwandan materials. You will use whatever combination of these pieces you choose to create and sketch out your design. Some examples of these pieces include: sisal disks, fabric disks, banana leaf bracelet, banana leaf cord, twisted fabric cord and recycled steel buttons. Once a successful campaign concludes, we’ll email you more details about the design process, delivery timelines, and answer and design questions.