The Kenyan Collection
When two countries can come together and create a beautiful business, it not only brings beautiful product to both countries, it creates inseparable bonds. When Cindy Lay and Stewart Newman’s bought The Kenyan Collection, they began a lifelong love story between the Maasai and their American customers.
The goal of The Kenyan Collection was simple yet profound, it would demonstrate that products made in Africa can easily compete in the global market place.
The Maasai Culture in Kenya is a beautiful, semi nomadic and pastoral tribe. They live by herding and goats. They are loved for their connection with nature and genius in being one with the Earth. Cattle is considered wealth, abundance and prosperity for the Maasai. Though far away, the Maasai have a global understanding of being one with the earth. When 9/11 shocked the United States, the Maasai donated 1400 cattle to the US embassy, their most precious commodity, to help the American people. This selfless act and demonstration shows that you can be from two different worlds but still feel empathy and pain for your fellow human beings. This is the Maasai.
The Beaded Creations
In The Maasai culture, beaded creations can tell you something about the person who wears them. One’s age, marital status, social status are reflected in the beautiful and complex bead work. You can also have beading to represent the special events in one’s life, such as a new bride! With the guidance from a talented leather worker and designer, Mothers in the Maasai culture are given the opportunity through the Maasai culture to use their natural sense of color and design to create products for the Western Market. By working with The Kenyan Collection, this has changed their lives.
From dog collars to products for your horse, The Kenyan Collection gives you a beautiful, durable collection of product that you and your family will love.
The Mothers or “Mamas” as they are referred to thanks to the Kenyan Collection, can now work near where they live. This allows them to continue taking care of their precious children and livestock. They also can gather in small groups to share advice and stories as they bead the leather that is provided.
Cindy is an entrepreneur, owning her own equestrian style boutique. She features her products at horse shows and other trade shows. Just under a decade ago, Cindy finds the Kenya Collection through Joan Shultz who was the founder. In 2004 Joan was living in Kenya and witnessed the donation of the 1400 cattle to the US Embassy in Kenya. She wanted to help. The Kenyan Collection was born.
Passing Over The Business
Two years ago, Joan wanted to pass on her business to retire and Cindy and her husband Stewart went to Kenya. She fell in love with the movement and the business that these Maasai women would be making money for their families and tribe and still be able to carry out their traditional duties that are important to them.
Fifty seven Mamas were given their assignments. They would be paid for transportation. The Mamas used the time to come into town to get their assignments to also buy food they may need with transportation reimbursed as well as being paid for their work. They show up for their assignments when they are ready.
Their beaded crafts are sustainable. Scrap metal is found and a buckle is created. The meat by product of the leather is food that the families have eaten. The expert beading work is only done by the Maasai, so you get that authentic quality. The Maasai women are paid so they get to decide where their money goes to. Whether it is for food, medical expenses or something else, the Maasai Moms make that call.
The beads are strong! The beading is made to create collars for dogs and horses for and other projects as decided. The beautiful beading is not only something to admire, but it is durable and you can wear them everywhere! Your pet can swim with them, roll in the mud and so much more, they are strong and stay intact.
Cindy also owns Exceptional Equestrian which carries The Kenyan Collection. She has jewelry, hats, T Shirts, purses and so many products that would get anyone excited. She also has two rigs at the prestigious equestrian center in Ocala. Cindy finds high quality desirable product from all over the world. It is a brand that we trust love.
The Kenyan Collection is inspiring the Maasai to share their incredible designs around the world and Cindy makes sure that the American public has the most durable, practical and beautiful products in the USA while supporting this important tribe. The bond between two countries is so important and Cindy is making sure that both American families and the Maasai families are bonded by good relationships, honorable business and global leadership.