Co-founders - Mama Anna and Jax
Tailoring Team – Lilian, Sammy, Rahema and Ruth
Karibu! Welcome to the Bushbells journey.
Learn more about our schools and recognise who made your clothes to see the beauty of Bushbells: a purchase with a purpose.
Our Bushbells journey began in 2009 as a modest attempt to support the community and people we care about as a third-generation East African mother and daughter team. When Sammy was widowed with three children to support, we harnessed his expertise as a tailor and took inspiration from the colourful Kenyan coast to sell kikoy clothing to our UK family and friends. Demand exceeded all expectations and Bushbells was born. We completed our namesake school in 2013 and started our sister school, Bluebells, in 2015. Today, profits from all our sales fund our various educational projects and ensure a secure livelihood for our magnificent team.
Our Co-Founders: Mama Ana and Jax
Ann, aka Mama Anna, is my gorgeous mummy who planted the very first Bushbells seed, making it her mission to find Sammy more work following the loss of his wife. That was over ten years ago, and as a vital cog in the Bushbell’s wheel she is still going strong. Her calm and serene nature bring so much joy to Sammy and his team of tailors.
Raised in Kenya, I am Bushbells’ co-founder and driving force, taking the risks and shouldering the work (grey hairs not withstanding) and never giving up. I never thought some ten years on we’d be at the stage we are now, complete with our second school! So far we have helped give a better education and start in life to about 350 children. I continue to love colour, people, mangos and sunshine, but most of all my darling family.
We are on a mission to help people buy less and buy better. This means considering the social and environmental costs of a product before we buy it, and drastically reducing our consumption. We are proud to be championing slow production and will continue to limit our impact on the natural world whilst doing our best for people and planet.
Sammy – Our Master Tailor
You see his name on every one of our labels as his story is at the heart of Bushbells. When he was widowed with three children to support, we wanted to help, and so Bushbells was born. His eldest, Katana was the first child we ever sponsored and he is now at an international university in Nairobi.
Always smiling, Sammy endears himself to everyone he meets. Having trained Lilian, Ruth and Rahema into the excellent tailors that they now are, together they make a formidable foursome.
Lillian was the second tailor we took on to help Sammy with his ever-increasing workload. The security she has from Bushbells’ work enables her to educate two of her nephews and support her aging parents whilst continuing to dazzle us with her ever changing hair styles and colours. Lilian has bought herself a plot of land with her Bushbells bonus, on which she is saving to build.
Next up is Rahema, who is a single mother to two boys aged 12 and 4. Rahema is in charge of stock keeping and runs a very tidy ship! She has an infectious laugh and with her recent Bushbells’ bonus, she bought herself a motorbike, saving her valuable time. Cool dude, Rahema!
Last to our team is Ruth, mother of twins Josphat and Andrew, 7. Her ongoing work with Bushbells have given her status and security, allowing her to ‘be somebody’. Known as our ‘songbird’, she has the most beautiful voice. She has also just bought herself her own plot of land on which she now wants to build. Bravo Ruth.
Mwana, Principal of Bluebells
Dreaming of a better way to educate the children around her, her gentle determination and resilience in a predominantly patriachal society, have resulted in this joyous little school. A ‘modern day, Islamic Mother Theresa’, as described by one of our volunteers recently.
Rose, Headteacher, 25
A single mother to a two-year old boy, Rose was the second teacher employed by Mwana and is the nominal Headteacher of Bluebells. She is loyal and hardworking, truly loves her job and always looks immaculate.
Our longest serving teacher ‘this school is good as the teachers are very hard working and care about the children’.
‘Bluebells is unique as it provides a better education than other schools and Mwana very kind to teachers and pupils alike’.
‘I want to produce better citizens that will help our country.’
‘Bluebells has a great environment for learning both in the classroom and on the sports field. Bringing up the children felt like a calling to me.’
‘This school is special as the facilities are far better than other schools as there are more water points here and the food for the children is much better. I want to inspire my teachers to dream big and to become better people than before.’