Our Story

sandra

It Began with a desire for a more creative life…

 

“I had a yearning in my soul to be making art everyday!”

Thanks to boredom at work one day – I stumbled upon
‘Print & Pattern’ – a Surface Pattern Design blog.
An inner switch flicked on.

 

Inspiration rushed in like a flood – I started creating patterns with a fury that hasn’t stopped. I’ve taught myself all I know on the subject through trial & error, a few books and the internet.

 

I cut lino blocks and hand printed my first patterns onto old sheets on my dining table when the kids were asleep.

I had to make this my life, my work, my business… Enter Elijah

Desperate to start selling my printed fabrics – I knew I needed some help. Elijah came into a shop I shared with friends with a bunch of business cards looking for sign writing work. “Are you an artist? I asked: “Yes.” “Well I have a job if you’re interested.” He was!

 

Elijah set out to discover everything about flat bed screen printing – calling on screen printer friends, studying books and traipsing the pavements of Kirinyaga Road (a Nairobi street where screen printers hang out). Slowly but surely we made progress towards printing our patterns ‘big scale’ on big screens.

 

Honestly – along the way – there were a lot of failures and disappointments. If it wasn’t for Elijah’s determination to keep trying new things – Id’ve given up long ago.

elijah
bancy

It takes two…

Elijah became ‘Chief Print Technician.’

 

But there was a problem. For flat bed screen printing you need two people to print fabric, one on each side of the printing table. I couldn’t always be there – so we needed another person.

 

Me: ‘Elijah… you need to find someone you can work well with.
Someone with a willingness to learn and a good work ethic.’
Elijah: ‘Well, my wife is willing… and in need of a job!’
Me: ‘If you’re sure you can live and work with your wife, then fine!’

 

Bancy fit right in!
She’s now ‘Chief Colour Technician’ – meaning she
tries, tests & mixes the pigments perfecting the colour formulas.
A serious art in itself! We’re in awe of her patience!

The numbers are critical…

 

Simply Sandara was officially launched in August 2014.

 

We’d had an incredible first response from people and began receiving our first orders. Yay! But with this came a lot more work besides just the ‘fun’ stuff – it meant accounts and all things admin. Yikes!

 

So – after struggling a while – Esther arrived. She joined our small team and has been a saving grace, keeping us focused and on track.

esther

The beginnings of our Design Studio…

workshop

More than just fabric… Our journey is ongoing and we take small strides each day to move ahead – but what drives us and keeps us going is OUR PURPOSE. We’re a company that’s about more than just hand printed fabric. We’re about art, design and craft in the African context. We want to share our knowledge, experiences and skills with fellow, artistically inclined Kenyans to create and develop a thriving Kenyan Textile Design Industry.