SupaMaasai Beadwork sells authentic, fair trade and fair wage Maasai jewelry and other artisanal items that have been sourced, produced and handcrafted by the Maasai women of the village of Loodariak in Kenya. This for-profit social enterprise financially empowers the women by allowing them to directly access the market, eliminating the need of a middleman. Products range from jewelry, to clothing, to other works of art.
SupaMaasai Beadwork exists under the SupaMaasai Foundation, a non-profit organization currently seeking charitable status. Proceeds from the beadwork sales go directly to the foundation and the Loodariak women’s co-operative. Managed by the SupaMaasai Foundation, the co-operative helps the women to become self-sufficient and better provide for their families while giving back to the community.
Many retailers sell marked up or inauthentic Maasai products, and the women who make these products are not given fair wages. SupaMaasai is owned and operated by Maasai women, selling authentic beadwork—a craft that has been passed from generation to generation since the 1850s. SupaMaasai has created a revenue generation tool for Maasai women that incorporates their traditional culture and allows them to bring their artisanal creativity and handcrafts to the global marketplace.
George Phu graduated from the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University with a specialization in Retail Management and Finance. George is a first generation Canadian and the only member of his family to attend post-secondary education. Members of George’s family were survivors and refugees of the Vietnam War. His family history and upbringing led him to a career in social change. At age 16, he worked as a peer workshop facilitator for the ReAct Speakers Bureau at the METRAC (the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children). George has also contributed to several startups, including founding a clothing line, running a custom apparel business, and more recently as the co-founder of GrandezVous, a web and mobile events management platform.
Founder and CEO
Teriano Lesancha earned a bachelor degree from the School of Social Work at Ryerson University in 2012. She is the first person in her village of Loodariak, Kenya to graduate from university. Teriano’s interest in anti-oppression framework led her to better understand the challenges associated with growing up and living as a woman in the Maasai culture. She created SupaMaasai Foundation and SupaMaasai Beadwork in order to help women in Maasai become educated and more self-reliant without having to leave home.