MYEISHA – The One Who Is Loved The Most
Namibian Kym Kibble and German Sandra Baumeister have a deep friendship that is stitched in time, and now also in fabric and leather. Their company Myesiha, produces premium designer handbags in Namibia and is fuelled by a social entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to make a difference.
After several years of working on charitable projects in South Africa, Mozambique and Angola, Sandra decided that Africa was her destiny, and her friendship with Kym led her to Namibia.
“I couldn’t find project here that felt 100% right, so I considered starting my own project. Kym said if I did, she’d be. I thought ‘Oh great, this is somebody from the country, who understands it and is someone I trust,’ remembers Sandra.
“Kym is the godmother of my daughter, Myeisha, whose name means ‘the one who is loved the most’ , so we decided that it would be the name of our brand.”
Starting with a few industrial sewing machines and desire to use them, their handbag business was born. Myeisha produces high-end leather bags for the national and export – they launched the brand in Stuttgart and Berlin.
“We create bags that are valued by the people who buy them because they are beautiful and unique. They are produced to a standard that can compete with international fashion brands.”
A second brand, iNami, caters to the local market and is more African in design.
Added value also comes from Myeisha’s employees, who were unskilled and unemployed before receiving on-the-job training at Myeisha, and also a strong sense of pride in their work.
To share the benefits of Myeisha with the broader community, Sandra and Kym set up a trust called “Especially Namibian” that supports a kindergarten in Katutura with food and other necessities.
“I think we have a responsibility to give back. Not because we want recognition, but because privilege comes with responsibility,” shares Sandra.
“It’s not just about feeding – it’s more about giving an opportunity,’ adds Kym. ‘Seeing this dream become a reality has been rewarding, but giving our 13 employees a reason for being here makes it meaningful.”
“If you wear a Myeisha of iNami bag, you should be proud because it’s a beautiful, valuable product and you are helping to create value for vulnerable people in the community,” shares Sandra, perfectly encapsulating the dreams of two old friends to make a difference.