Boon & Up was born out of a desire to help the women weavers of the Dagaaba region in the far north of Ghana continue manufacturing their traditional handwoven cloth and to create employment opportunities in an impoverished part of the world.
The weavers create beautiful and well-crafted cloth, but when we met them they told us about how they struggle more and more to make a living out of weaving. The challenge was how to adapt their practices just a little to make their fabrics desirable to the rest of the world but to also to remain authentic to their weaving traditions.
As we were assisting the cotton weavers we also saw other weavers producing small hand-knotted blankets using synthetic ‘wool’, so we’ve built those weavers larger looms and provided them with surplus wool from mills in England and now they are weaving beautiful large blankets. Other weavers are also creating rugs and wool throws using equipment that we’ve built for them.
So we’ve mixed a little bit of new technology with the traditional Dagaaba narrow looms in order to create wide looms so now the women weavers can produce cloth that is 120cm wide, a necessary width for the Western world. We’ve replaced the polyester that the weavers were previously using with sustainable cotton grown by smallholder African farmers under the ‘Cotton made in Africa’ initiative. And while we’ve kept the wonderful patterns that the weavers traditionally use for their fabrics we’ve tweaked their colour palette by referencing the more subtle hues that the Dagaaba paint their houses.
We’ve set out from the start to create beautiful and timeless pieces and products, and by remaining authentic to tradition while adjusting to customer requirements Boon & Up will bring much needed employment to this remote part of our world. 20% of Boon & Up profits will be given to local projects that create further employment opportunities in the district.