About the Designer
Linda Hackett is the Designer and Owner of Global Girls. Linda's love of fashion, design and interest in world cultures has been a common thread throughout her life and career, which includes stints as a designer, wardrobe stylist and home accessories buyer. Since her teens, Linda has also lived and traveled extensively abroad where she's forever been attracted to unique, handmade items.
On a trip to Kenya in 2008, Linda was impressed by the talented artisans who excelled at the traditional craft of beadwork, many of them disenfranchised women. She also witnessed the great need for jobs and realized the incredibly important role of women in African life. What's more, she was inspired by African design and was excited about the possibility of connecting the underemployed, skilled artisans with a market for their handmade sandals in the U.S. And, perhaps most importantly, Linda was at a place in her life where she yearned to do something that would help the world in some small way and was confident that she could create an opportunity that would have a positive impact on the artisans' lives.
Living in Los Angeles (as Linda calls, "the sandal capital of the world"), Linda felt sure that she could develop a market for the handmade sandals from Africa. What's more, she was confident she could design sandals that American women would enjoy by combining her design skills and her knowledge of American tastes with the talent of the African artisans.
And so in May, 2008 Global Girls was born. The company has grown from working with five artisans at the start to currently providing steady work for about 170 skilled craftspeople. The sandals are now sold world-wide in some of the finest shops along side some of the most exclusive brands.
Linda has spent much of the past eight years in Kenya having made more than a dozen trips there. She now spends about two months a year in Kenya working with the artisans to produce new sandals styles and to develop new products. Linda is still inspired by African design and regularly seeks to incorporate the bold, colorful designs she finds in tribal beadwork in her sandals and other accessories. She hopes to add other special items from talented artisans from different countries to the Global Girls collection in the near future.
About the Artisans
Global Girls sandals are entirely handcrafted by skilled artisans in East Africa. The beadwork on the shoes is hand-done primarily by women, though there are talented men beaders as well.
Global Girls' mission is to support African women and promote the traditional crafts they make by providing much-needed jobs at living wages. We're excited to be creating an international marketplace for the handmade sandals and other unique fashion accessories made by artisans.
Global Girls strives to encourage self-sustainability specifically among women and to develop income generating opportunities especially for the disenfranchised. For example, in Kibera, Africa's second largest slum and home to approximately one million people, Global Girls works with women who make our horn and bone jewelry.
Global Girls' believes in the importance of fair trade and in the value of jobs instead of hand-outs. A job that provides a living wage is crucial to empowerment and to promoting a sense of self-worth, which in turn, helps people move away from a culture of welfare and towards self-reliance.
Global Girls is proud to pay the artisans fair-trade wages and allow them to work in their community at their own pace. By working close to home, the artisans save money that would otherwise be spent on bus-fare to and from a job-site, meals out and child-care. In fact, many of our artisans that were once disenfranchised when we first started have experienced a positive change in their financial status.