As founder of the socially conscious accessories label, Zurii, Patrice Gibbons bid farewell to her corporate job to chase her passion and make a positive impact in the world.
Patrice recently launched the #zuriiwoman movement to remind everyday women that they are beautiful and that their choices can change the world – one handbag at a time!
She also hopes the campaign will inspire, uplift and empower women–and provide 50 women across Africa with access to micro-finance loans and financial literacy training in 2017.
What was the inspiration for Zurii?
The idea behind Zurii was born three years ago in the middle of a remote Uganda village. I met some women creating jewellery from recycled paper. I realised that by purchasing direct from the source, I could have beautiful pieces that were handcrafted and ethically made. The women creating them would also be empowered in the process.“This is how shopping should be,” I thought. Right there, Zurii was born.
What does Zurii stand for?
The word Zurii means ‘beautiful’ in Swahili. As a brand we stand for stylish pieces that are ethically made and that give back. We are all about beautiful women creating change. A #zuriiwoman is beautiful inside and out. She is strong, bold, brave and creating her own place in the world.
Why is it important to you to support ethical fashion?
As consumers I don’t think we spend enough time thinking about how our clothes and accessories are made or how our choices impact others. We all love a fast fashion bargain – a gorgeous dress for $10 – but for that dress to be so cheap someone, somewhere is paying the price. Sadly it’s usually a young woman or man working insane hours, in bad conditions for below minimum wage. I’m just not comfortable with that. I see ethical fashion as the opportunity to us as consumers to make a positive impact in the world.
How does Zurii support ethical fashion?
We are passionate about promoting an ethical supply chain. When you own a Zurii piece you know it has been created by a talented artisan who has been well paid for their work, worked under good conditions and received opportunity as a result of our direct relationship with them. It’s guilt free fashion.
Where do you source your products?
Our leather goods are handcrafted by a select team of tailors in Indonesia, who all have a long family history in the industry. Most were trained by their fathers and grandfathers in the art of creating beautiful wallets, handbags and clutches. Each piece is handmade with love.
Why is it important for you to encourage women to empower themselves and each other?
I truly believe women should be each other’s greatest champions. Together we can make such a big impact and drive positive chance. We can also have a lot of fun doing it. Plus, life is too short not to feel bold, brave and empowered!
Which is your favourite piece in the collection?
The Zarlie clutch is definitely a fave. I love it because I can take it out to dinner or drinks, all civilised, and then later in the night put on the shoulder strap if you want to dance or just turn it into a bag for ease of use. I have a soft spot for the green version; it’s functional and looks great!