About 8,766 miles away from the hustle and bustle of metro Detroit is a group of 50 South Africans in Newlands, Cape Town who are creating eco-friendly handbags and making a difference.Mielie, a company started in 2002, has a mission to design innovative, hand-crafted products using reclaimed materials. And if that wasn’t enough of a challenge they wanted to create employment and restore dignity and financial independence to South Africans. The hand made products are known to have an international standard of quality. Mielie is committed to making products that are environmentally conscious, using reclaimed materials wherever possible.Fabric and products used to make a Mielie bag are all locally produced. The strips of woven cotton used are byproduct from cotton mills. Once a week, Mielie buys the material by the kilogram from local factories. Every product is also labeled with the name of the weaver who handmade it, creating the opportunity for a connection between buyers and makers. Besides the great work the company is doing on each individual bag, they also are doing great work out in the community. From organizing information and education sessions on HIV, general health, personal safety, dealing with abuse, and other prevalent issues to partnering with a preschool in Khayelitsha. On their website, Mielie expresses a dream to put a fire-extinguishing in every home in Khayelitsha to help prevent the shack fires that frequently occur.
Although constructed many miles away from our own city, the one-of-a-kind bags can be purchased at one of our very own Shop Local boutiques, Love. Travels. Imports, located on Livernois road in Detroit.