Tuli was founded in 2014 by Megan Kitt, who was, at the time, a journalist. She traveled to Kampala on a writing assignment and while there, was struck by the women she saw who were so eager to work, they took discarded paper and made a product out of it. They’d take their handmade jewelry to markets to sell. The problem: In Uganda, buyers were few.
Tuli is a word in Luganda, one of the languages spoken in Uganda, that means “we are.” The idea behind Tuli’s name is that everyone can take part in fighting global poverty. Every Tuli product provides a fair wage for the woman who made it. Tuli’s partner artisans are able to feed their families, educate their children, and save for the future.
Their jewelry is made using recycled paper beads, a craft borne out of their artisans’ desire to build businesses for themselves in unemployment- and poverty-stricken Uganda. They salvage paper, cut it into thin strips, and roll it tightly into beads. Next, each bead is hand-painted and coated in a water-based varnish. The result? Beads that are as durable as they are beautiful.
Tuli now employs nearly two dozen women artisans in Uganda, as well as a production manager in Kampala, Olivia, who oversees their artisans and quality assurance. Their Washington State based US team oversees marketing, design, and retail distribution.