This is a story of a life less ordinary
Chapter No1 IntroductionGrowing up in London, I never dreamed of one day moving out to the Zambian bush. Now it’s my home. Inspired by the rugged beauty of the South Luangwa, the untamed grace of its wildlife and the gentle strength of its people, I started creating jewellery. And Mulberry Mongoose was born.
Chapter No2 The Setting
Life in the African bush is an adventure. One day you’re waking up to a giraffe outside the window, and the next a crocodile is watching you brush your teeth. This is a place of romance and hard realities, joy and adversity. Mulberry Mongoose is a product of this land of contrasts.
Our workshop is located on a well-trodden elephant path in Mfuwe, in the remote Zambian bush. We get our fair share of visitors. Human ones too! We love to show people how we make things, how the sale of each piece supports local conservation work, and how we deal with the occasional elephant mischief. If you’re in the area, come visit us.
Chapter No3 The Characters
We’re a group of creative and courageous ladies who believe in bringing women together, near and far, to help each other achieve the seemingly impossible.
Together we share stories, ideas and aspirations as we make all of our jewellery by hand. And together we all reinvest in our community. In an area where unemployment is high, our income lets us play an active role in supporting our families and preserving this unique place that inspires our work.
“Working at Mulberry Mongoose has helped me be motivated to achieve what I want.”Naomi
“To go to work each morning and feel such a sense of purpose and excitement is the greatest privilege.”Kate
“I am so happy to be able to support my son and family and to every day do something that I enjoy.”Grace
“Working at Mulberry Mongoose has taught me how to take responsibility and believe in myself.”Clera
“By working at Mulberry Mongoose I can provide for my family, but I am also learning about myself and growing as a person.”Edinas
“Mulberry Mongoose has let me look after my family financially whilst doing something that I love.”Mirriam
“I love welcoming guests from all over the world to the Mulberry Mongoose shop. I have learnt so much here.”Sarah
“I have learnt so many things at Mulberry Mongoose and discovered what I am good at. I love creating things.”Artison
Chapter No4 The Materials
We’re always looking for new ways to turn locally sourced materials into jewellery.
Take our guinea fowl feathers. They come from local farmers who appreciate the extra source of income from their livestock. Or our wooden beads. Our craftswomen are trained to hand carve them using basic carpentry tools and reclaimed wood, giving each one a unique rustic character. Or our vintage coins which we pick up from Zambian markets.
And then there’s our gift bags. Everybody loves them, and it’s no surprise why. They’re sewn locally using chitenge material traditionally used by Zambians to hold, wrap, protect and carry things that are special.
Our accessories are easy to care for — just keep them dry. And if your feathers get ruffled, just pull them gently and they’ll smooth back into shape.
The Moral of
Our jewellery is inspired by life in the Zambian bush. So it’s only fitting that with every piece of jewellery sold we make a donation to antipoaching patrols to help remove the snare wire traps that kill and injure many of the area’s iconic wildlife.
By buying our accessories, you’re helping raise thousands of dollars for this vital work to save elephants, big cats and antelope.
Our most celebrated collection mixes snare wire collected by anti-poaching patrols with semiprecious stones, freshwater pearls and hand carved wooden beads. Snare wire is often made from steel and hard to work—many men can’t do it. But our Grace, a five foot tall mother of one, has learned to coil and flatten it to create beauty from brutality.
To learn more about our snare wire partnership, visit Conservation South Luangwa (CSL)