Our Story

Industrie Africa is your window into the world of luxury African fashion. Shop your favorite designers all in one place, and discover the regional voices redefining the global landscape.

Read more

Meet the ethical accessories label turning tragedy into triumph through female empowerment.

By Lindsay Samson

Aug 9, 2021

The history of beading runs deep in Kenya. Nearly every community in the East African country boasts age-old traditions of beadwork that have been passed down from generation to generation, each region’s style defined by distinct patterns, colors, and materials. A craft practiced largely by women, these beaded creations denote many things, including social status and cultural identity, while also being symbolic of traits like bravery and strength. For Jennifer Mulli, these creations are also a key puzzle piece in the preservation of her heritage and the upliftment of women, two endeavors that she’s made her top priority.


Photo: Courtesy of Jiamini

At 26 years old, the Kenyan businesswoman and designer lost her husband. As a young mother with four children, it was the women in her life, she says, that rallied around her and kept her afloat. “I kept telling myself that one day I want to give back to Kenyan women the way they came through for me during my own struggles,” she says. “I felt that there were many underprivileged Kenyan women to who I could somehow offer something.”

To this end Mulli founded Jiamini, a Kenya-based jewelry and accessories brand powered by the purpose of conserving these ancient traditions of beadwork and the upliftment of women. Since its establishment in 2016, Jiamini has made it their priority to employ women who come from disadvantaged communities, offering them an opportunity to improve their livelihoods and circumstances. According to Mulli, today the Jiamini workshops are filled with woman artisans with decades worth of training under their belts, many of whom have lived below the poverty line but still carry with them the skills needed to construct the wearable art pieces and the elevated classic basket bags that define the brand.

“Jiamini is a Swahili word that means “believe in yourself” and I called it that because I want the women I work with to do just that,” says Mulli. Part of this means taking a realistic approach to compensation and always paying her artisans above the minimum wage. As much as she may want to save costs as a business, this can’t be at the expense of her workers, Miuli explains. She also ensures that her staff's hours are regulated and that they get the leave they are entitled to, something that is not the norm in the informal business sector.

Bold, sculptural, and seriously sophisticated, Jiamini’s collections offer a range of show-stopping embellishment and woven bags inspired by simple, classic shapes, pieces that through the use of bright colors, natural fibres, and singular artisanal techniques beautifully convey the diversity of African culture and creativity. From elaborate, beaded neckpieces and brass chokers, to statement wrist cuffs embedded with beaded panels and striking woven tote bags, the brand’s pieces are expressly designed to complement the body’s feminine form and grace. There’s also an unabashed confidence to Jiamini’s artisanal creations, one that according to Mulli is expressed most fully in the brand’s African Queen jewelry collection, which takes its inspiration from the traditional, sculptural pieces worn by the Maasai.

“They are my favorite for sure,” she admits of the head-turning neckpieces in the collection. “I believe in them so much. I wear them and I feel African and traditional but contemporary and modern at the same time.” Everything, including the jewelry's gleaming touches of brass, is locally made, and though they’re inspired by Maasai tradition, Mulli has given them her own little spin via a combination of materials including sisal, wool, leather, and more. “Traditionally they’re beaded onto wire,” she explains “But we find leather lies on the neck better and holds the shape well, plus it gives that comfortable and soft feel on the skin.” 

Photo: Courtesy of Jiamini

Photo: Courtesy of Jiamini

Photo: Courtesy of Jiamini

Also driving Jiamini’s mission is the desire to promote African culture, tradition, and fashion internationally, a market Mulli absolutely has plans to penetrate—something that Jiamini’s selection for participation in the Ethical Fashion Initiative’s first Accelerator Programme will no doubt propel. Established to provide existing fashion brands producing in Africa additional support to accelerate their business in the global marketplace, the selected designers will get to reveal their latest collections in 2021 during Pitti Uomo, the bi-annual international menswear trade show where designers such as Telfar, Jil Sander and Givenchy have all shown in the past.

“I can tell you we read that email 50 times,” she says of learning about Jiamini’s selection. “I only applied to gauge how industry experts perceive my products because many people dismissed my neckpieces as being too big or not for this market, but I believed in it.” Never in her wildest dreams did she see herself being a part of the program but she's quick to credit it for changing the way she looks at her business, and helping her to understand the value of what Jiamini is doing. “It just made me realize that we as Africans absolutely have what it takes,” she asserts. “Don’t dismiss us. We may not have the right infrastructure quite yet, but we can sit at the same table as the best of them and speak the very same language of fashion."

shop jiamini

Pink Malindi Weekender
Pink Malindi Weekender
Pink Malindi Weekender
Pink Malindi Weekender
Pink Malindi Weekender
Pink Malindi Weekender
Pink Malindi Weekender
Pink Malindi Weekender
Pink Malindi Weekender
Pink Malindi Weekender
Pink Malindi Weekender
Pink Malindi Weekender

Jiamini

Pink Malindi Weekender

$596
Light Brown Malindi Weekender
Light Brown Malindi Weekender
Light Brown Malindi Weekender
Light Brown Malindi Weekender
Light Brown Malindi Weekender
Light Brown Malindi Weekender
Light Brown Malindi Weekender
Light Brown Malindi Weekender
Light Brown Malindi Weekender
Light Brown Malindi Weekender
Light Brown Malindi Weekender
Light Brown Malindi Weekender

Jiamini

Light Brown Malindi Weekender

$596
Dark Brown Malindi Weekender
Dark Brown Malindi Weekender
Dark Brown Malindi Weekender
Dark Brown Malindi Weekender
Dark Brown Malindi Weekender
Dark Brown Malindi Weekender
Dark Brown Malindi Weekender
Dark Brown Malindi Weekender
Dark Brown Malindi Weekender
Dark Brown Malindi Weekender

Jiamini

Dark Brown Malindi Weekender

$596