Caroline designed some sandals that would appeal to the US fashion sense, and Tony worked with the sandal workshop leaders Ken and Shine to innovate shoe construction practices to make a more comfortable, durable, and high-quality sandal. After lots of trial and error, training, new tools, and collaboration, Swahili Coast was born. We keep the Swahili Coast spirit alive through hands-on investment in our production--through on-the-job training, innovation, and growing a team of empowered and talented artisans.
Swahili Coast is the brainchild of partners Tony Peele and Caroline Fisher. While living in Tanzania for an agricultural economics research project, Tony and Caroline were dismayed to learn of the lack of solid employment opportunities for women in Tanzania. While on the hunt for a pair of the beaded leather sandals worn by many Tanzanian women, they came across a workshop of sandal-makers not far from their home in Dar es Salaam. They were impressed to learn that most of the artisans beading these beautiful sandals were women, and saw an opportunity for growth in a female-dominated industry in Tanzania.