Welcome to Basecamp Maasai Brand - a community project with Maasai women in the Talek region of Masai Mara- Kenya.
We work with over one hundred women making bead and leather handicraft with a unique fusion between traditional Maasai designs and contemporary style. And by that creating a source of income for the women while supporting and maintaining their traditional handicraft skills.
You can see all our products on the left hand side menu under each category. Pick the items you like and send us email. So simple it is! If you wish the jewelry in different color, you can ask us for tailor-made products. if you are planning a trip to Kenya, do drop in to out shop nexto to Basecamp Masai Mara.Email:
Maasai Brand was initiated in 2003 with the aim of empowering disadvantaged
women's groups in the Talek region of the Masai Mara in Kenya, and to maintain
and enhance the handicraft skills, knowledge and designs of the Maasais’ famous
bead and leather work. The Maasai
have a rich heritage in bead work, where many of their traditional ceremonies
and religious beliefs are expressed in colour and pattern.
hundred women are working with us, and making a positive change in the area.
The women's’ training takes place at our arts and craft centre at Basecamp
Masai Mara. We base our range on traditional designs with some conventional
pieces and some more contemporary fusions, and all our products are handmade
with a high quality finish.
work with Maasai glass beads and high quality leather but we also try to
utilize scrap metal and waste materials wherever possible. Even the thread we
use is made from disused plastic food bags, the strands of which are twinned
together by hand.It will take you a bit of extra time to tie a knot and some
patience to thread a loop, but, that is part of the beauty of the work and a
character that we are trying to preserve.
trade agreement ensures that the crafts person receives 75% of what BMB sells
the item for, less the cost of materials. The women are involved in the process
of pricing - the cultural significance of the product being one of several
influencing factors. Typically their earnings are used for improved housing,
healthcare, children's schooling and clothing. The women individually also save
some of their earnings in a savings scheme set up in cooperation with Faulu
Kenya. By choosing
to support this project you are making a difference and helping to build a sustainable source of income for
have in big quantities come to Africa from Europe and India as trading goods.
Beads were traded as a currency for tea, coffee and sugar etc, and also as a
popular payment for slaves during that long dark period of Africa's history.
Although, old traces of ancient glass beads has been found and shows that small
amounts of Egyptian and Roman beads came south over the Sahara to Kenya already
soon became very popular all over and for some tribes they have become a symbol
of their traditions, although the small colorful beads themselves are a rather
late invention. Before the glass beads spread to east Africa the Maasai and
other tribes used seeds, shells, wood, bone and other natural materials for
their ornaments. Nowadays the Maasai use the small colourful glass beads for
beadwork carries messages, from where you are and to which age group you
belong. The patterns and colors in a bracelet are for instance made uniquely
for each age group and its the women sitting down together beading that decides
the style of the new jewellery they are making for their sons, husbands and
fields in the Maasai jewellery are rarely large and divided by contrast colours
The Maasai hardly ever puts similar colours next to each other. A darker or
brighter field must always divide the fields of colour. Contrasts are seen as
beautiful and as a natural state. There must be night if there is day, peace if
war, sun if rain, there’s always a opposite and when those two opposites stands
next to each other then it’s in their eyes beautiful.
are nomadic people that originally migrated to Kenya and Tanzania during the
fifteenth century from the Nile region of Northern Africa. In many areas the
Maasai still lives very traditional and have stayed outside the mainstream
development in Kenya. And they are often seen as a symbol of “tribal” Kenya
with their traditional red clothing and beaded ornaments.
live by their livestock, cows, sheep and goats, which is the single most
important thing to the Maasai, that believes that God gave them all the
cattle...The story goes that Enkai (God) let cattle descend from the sky along
a bark rope (or leather strap or fire stick depending on who you ask), down to
the Maasai people. The Dorobo's, a group of hunters and gatherers closely
related to Maasai, did not receive any cattle, and therefore proceeded to cut
the rope, producing a separation between heaven and earth, and stopping the
flow of livestock from Enkai. From that belief, it follows that there is a
direct link between God and cattle, and that all cattle in the world belong to
family lives in settlements fenced from the wildlife. Inside the fence they
build their small flat roofed houses from sticks and cow dung. Life in the
village is very much centralized around the livestock and taking the cows,
sheep and goats out for grazing. The women are the ones fetching water, firewood,
cooking, taking care of the children and building/maintaining their houses.
community is strongly based on age groups. Each stage of life is decided by the
promotion of successive generations to new positions of responsibility. The
chief autocrat of the entire community is the ‘Laibon’, who decides when the
time is right for the tribe’s age group rituals where each generation is
elevated to a new level of seniority. Each level is characterized by a name,
the youngest and fittest of a generation and the most elite are the warriors,
known as Ilmorran.
Material & description: Warrior bracelet, traditionally worn by the Maasai warriors around their ankles. Beads sewn on soft leather straps that are tied around your wrist.
Price: 7 USD
Size: 19 cm
Material & Description: Warrior bracelet, traditionally worn by the Maasai warriors around their ankles. Beads sewn on soft leather straps that are tied around your wrist.
Price: 7 USD
Size: 19 cm
Material & Description: Like our popular button bracelet but a thinner version. Beads sewn on leather backed with soft sheep nappa.Price: 9 USDSize: 21cmColor options: Black/gold /whiteIvory/Gold/White
Material & Description: simple and feminine bracelet. Five small beaded leather discs on a strap. Ties around your wrist.
Price: 8 USD
Size: 19 cm
Material & Description: Unisex bracelet. Beaded Maasai triangular patterns on soft leather, backed with thin sheep nappa. Closure with two press buttons.
Price: 16 USD
Color options: darkbrown/blue/white
Description: Beads on recycled plastic strings held together with pieces of reused plastic. Made in traditional patterns. Leather with press buttons closing
Price: 13 USD
All keyrings are made with beads and leather.
Leather belts are hand made with bead decorations.