Christmas shopping in Umeå 2014

Would you like to do some genuine local  shopping with a modern twist then Eljest is the place you are looking for. Swedish design at  its best where designers, artisans and producers from Västerbotten fuse traditional designs and crafts with a modern flare amalgamating continental influences to create unique pieces of jewellery, pottery, clothing, jams and much more. This year Yawama Kids collection of adorable soft toys and cushion covers are among many other handmade products on sale. Our small but very competent team of designers Anna and Clara lidström both have their roots in Västerbotten.

Eljest pop up store pops up once a year just before Christmas offering a spectacular range of handmade products. Tomorrow Saturday the 20th of December, I will be at Eljest from 11,00-16,00hrs. Eljest is on the main walking street this year opposite Lindex. Please pass by just to say hi or browse through the amazing range of products. I would be happy to answer any questions with regards to Yawama of Sweden producers and products. As we say in bemba MWAISENI- WELCOME.

Eljest Cultural Gift Store

Eljest Cultural Gift Store

Local Handcraft from Västerbotten

Local Handcraft from Västerbotten

Ecological soft toys designed in Sweden and handmade in Zambia

Ecological soft toys designed in Sweden and handmade in Zambia

Yawama Kids Collection at Eljest

Yawama Kids Collection at Eljest


Stylish Batik Cushion Covers

Just before Christmas in anticipation of 2015 Yawama of Sweden launches a small batik range of monochrome black and white cushion covers for the modernist or the earthy interior decorater. Would you like to add an ethical twist to your Scandinavian look? These batik cushion covers should do the trick. These cushions are not just African inspired but they are handmade in collaboration with Yawama of Sweden by women in Swaziland at Baobab.

batik cushion cover

Baobab is a small enterprise employing 25 women in Swaziland. All the women and predominantly single mothers. Baobab provides the women with tools to adapt to the growing responsibility and the shift in women’s roles in communities. Baobab is a member of SWIFT (Swaziland Fair Trade), an organization that supports the development of the handicraft industry in the country.

Svart vit prydnadskudde

Batik cushion  leaves

These cushion covers have been created by skilled artisans through a tedious process. Hot melted wax is artistically applied in specific design to a white fabric. The fabric is then submerged into a dye bath, the wax acting as a resistant on the fabric allowing the uncovered fabric to be dyed. The fabric is then left to dry in the sun. This process is repeated layer upon layer. The wax is then removed by boiling the fabric and a unique fabric with a crackled effect is created. The dyed fabric is then cut and sewn into uniques pieces such as our batik covers.

Monochrome interior

black and white cushion cover


Vinn Goda Klappar hos Yawama

Nu har alla fina kunder möjlighet att vinna Yawama of Sweden goda klappar. Klappar som är handtillverkade i Zambia, som ger kvinnor en extra inkomst genom att arbeta hemifrån.savann


Vinn ett helt kit med ett ekogosedjur, kudde och filt 
Du kan vinna 2 kuddar och 1 gosedjur (som du själv väljer) samt en stor handstickad pläd Sand. Totalt värde 2285kr. För att delta i tävlingen gå in på Loppi.se och svara på en enkel fråga.

 Lycka till!


Emily 67 År

Emily 67 Years Old

This is Emily one of the ladies behind our beloved ecological soft toy Kolwe. Emily is 67 years old, a widow and has 4 children. Her firstborn Lloyd is a farmer. Her second-born Ruth is married with 4 of her own children. Her third-born Feston is at teaching college and last-born Mapens is in grade 12 and living with his Aunty. Emily is a Minister at her local church, where she delivers sermons 3 times a week and keeps the church clean and tidy – all voluntarily!   Emily lives in a two roomed house at the church with 4 young children, 3 of whom belong to her sister’s daughter and 1 being her firstborn’s son.

She likes to get up at 4:00 am to write her sermons as it is quiet and calm at that time and she can pray in peace. Otherwise she is often disturbed by her neighbours seeking advice – she us clearly a well-respected member of the community!

Emily earns her living by doing peace work but these days mainly by knitting her toys. She says she has learnt so much about knitting from the other ladies as well as loves the socialising! The ladies have learnt masses from her too!  “When I first came I did not have skills but I have learnt from my friends. I am a widow woman, when i get a little it helps my family. I like laughing and doing so many things with my friends”

Ekological plush toys

Emily and her eko-monkeys


A tropical culinary experience for Christmas

Welcome to a tropical culinary experience at Yawama of Sweden. The Christmas table is laid and here we present our range of tropical dried mango and  sun-dried tomato from Chankwakwa in Zambia, cashew nuts from Smiling a Swedish fair trade and eco brand that works with small-scale producers in Gambia, fair trade tea and coffee and a range of exotic jams and chutney sourced through Sackeus who represent a number of fair trade and ecological producers in Tanzania, South Africa and other developing countries.

Fairtrade and Eco food

Tropical delights

I have slowly being trying to find edible products that fit into the Yawama range of “good products”. By good I mean products that take into account both producers and the environment. I do not demand that smaller producers have to be fair trade certified and labelled but it is important that fair trade principles are adhered to and respected. I am well aware of the cost implications and the time and effort that goes into achieving both fair trade and eco certification,  which in many cases means that smaller producers have to apply for external funding in order to be able to meet these costs. In the event where producers do not have certification I source from reputable agencies such as Sackeus that have been working with fair trade development in third world countries for many years.

Dried mango

Sun dried mango and cashew nuts

tropical mix

Tropical mix of fruit and nut for muesli



6 Yawama tips on how to choose eco-friendly toys for kids

Eco-friendly soft toys from Africa

Yawama of Sweden Eco-friendly plush toys from Africa

Who said that parenting in 2014 was easy? Apart from avoiding the risk of choking hazards in toys, us parents need to protect our kids from hazardous synthetic chemicals and heavy metals that are found in toys, clothing and interior products in our homes. We need to make certain choices not only to protect our children, but to protect the environment for their children and generations to come. Here are some Yawama (good) tips on how to choose eco-friendly toys.

1) Less is best- Lets be realistic. Kids don’t need 71 soft toys. An article in SVD states that In Sweden alone, children have an average of 71 soft toys. The majority of these toys end their lives at the dump, second-hand stores failing to sell the excess.

2)Go natural -Safe toys made of organic and sustainable material like bamboo, organic cotton and wood. Make sure that toys made from wood are harvested environmentally. Know your producer. Read labels.

3)Go to Sally’s boutique -The word “Salaula” in bemba means second hand-hence “Sally’s boutique”. Second-hand and hand-downs are a great way to spare the environment. Watch out for older wood products and soft plastics that might be chemically hazardous.

4) Avoid soft plastic toys – These can contain hormone disturbing chemicals

5) Choose quality over quantity- Toys that are more expensive often last longer, can be handed down or have a higher second-hand value.

6) Be creative- Recycle, recreate, reuse.

For tips on how to keep your home eco-friendly read Undebaraclaras blogg here.

For the yawama range of eco-friendly soft toys klick here.

And if you haven’t already figured this one out- Yawama means- It is good!


Understanding our Core Value.

I will include this into the business model section as I feel that this is a starting point to developing your social business or your inclusive business model.

A core value is the  principle that guides how we work and our relationship with the world around us. It also guide our relationship with the external world. Understanding your business core value will engage and motivate you to continue what you started out to do.

As a business that is out to make social positive impact for small businesses in Africa and in particular women I soon realised that only setting targets in monetary terms or in sales statistics, did not engage me. I read this inspiring article on how to design for real impact by the Unreasonable Institute where these 3 points were underlined.

  1. Know your mission
  2. Measure the right thing
  3. Measure it well

So what is the Yawama of Sweden core value?

  • Our core value is to create good job opportunities for women in Southern Africa.
  • Our Vision is to create unique soft toys and interior details for children and adults by amalgamating swedish design with african craftsmanship.
  • We measure the number of women knitting, crocheting and sewing our handmade products.

We have incorporated our core value into our Mission Statement. This acts as our corner-stone, our compass our motivational factor.

So what drives you?

Core Value