Sunday, April 19, 2009

One Mango Tree in the blogosphere

Lucy, holding a coin purse, photo by Stephanie Makosky

Check out what bloggers are saying about One Mango Tree:

From Timbuktu Chronicles, a blog by TED Global Africa Director's Emeka Okafor.

From Bupgrade, the Black Urban Professional’s guide to what is hot, new, lust and spend-worthy, and basically everything else you need to know—from fashion to travel to cultural events.

From Stephanie Madden's blog tracking her travels on the Michael B. Keegan Traveling Fellowship from Vanderbilt University. Stephanie and I met up at Cafe Pap in Kampala, Uganda.

From Find Nika Here. Nika Stelman is a Parsons undergrad taking a year off to travel; she went up to Gulu to meet the tailors and learn more about One Mango Tree.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Retailer Profile: Greener Country

Robert Meinke in front of his shop, Greener Country

Last year at the Green Festival in Washington, DC, I met Robert Meinke, a Long Islander who was then putting the finishing touches on his LEED-certified shopfront in Jericho, NY. The shop opened for business last month. Robert and his wife and co-proprietor, Maria Brandis, believe that the sooner green becomes mainstream, the better. That's why they started Greener Country. They want to make it easier to be "green" by bringing together a wide array of environmentally-sound products.

They sell all sorts of green products, from composting bins for your kitchen to all-natural bath products. They even carry fair trade gifts - now including One Mango Tree! You can buy the One Mango Tree product line at Greener Country's online store, or in their shop in NY.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

More than just a t-shirt

"Organic" is the label of choice these days - not just for your food, but for your clothes as well. We've spent years adding toxic chemicals to everything, from what we eat to how we get around, right down to what we wear. United Nations decided that 2009 would be the "International Year of Natural Fibres." In conjunction with this campaign, One Mango Tree is partnering with Phenix Logistics to bring you a line of 100% organic Ugandan cotton knit. Phenix is the same company that partnered with Bono and his wife, Ali Hewson, to bring you EDUN Live - a t-shirt company that is making waves internationally with its simple, but beautiful designs.

A Ugandan-owned company based in Kampala, all of the cotton Phenix uses is grown in Lira District, northern Uganda. The production is very similar to UTEXRWA - the main difference being that Phenix knits its yarn (producing t-shirt material, or cotton jersey in varying weights), while UTEXRWA weaves it. Phenix also screen prints and embroiders, and all of their production takes place through a closed system, which gets bonus points for low environmental impact. Stay tuned for the first One Mango Tree products coming from Phenix.

Do you need t-shirts or polo shirts for your business and want to have them printed on 100% organic Ugandan cotton? For a quote, send an email to

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ohio State's Knowlton School of Architecture kicks off Uganda Studio!

On April 6, Ohio State began a 10-week collaborative architecture studio. Fourteen architecture students are spending spring quarter designing a green, off-the-grid production facility for One Mango Tree tailors in Gulu, Uganda. I'm facilitating the communication between students and tailors, using a blog, photography and design charettes with the tailors as the students develop their designs, taking measures to consider climate, materials and the rich cultural heritage of northern Uganda. Our tailors are in a cramped market stall in Gulu. One of One Mango Tree's major goals is to create a healthy and safe work environment for our tailors - which means moving them out of their current space and into a much larger and more comfortable place on the outskirts of town. We're currently on the hunt for the right piece of land for our project, which will house production and training space for thirty tailors, as well as a small daycare, kitchen and guesthouse.

And of course, there will be a mango tree right in the front yard.

Look for more updates as we develop the partnerships necessary to make this facility a reality.

Interested in investing in the construction of One Mango Tree's production facility? Email me at

Monday, April 6, 2009

One Mango Tree: blogging for

I had no idea what I was getting into when I started One Mango Tree. Since its inception, and particularly since I relocated to Uganda, a lot of young people have been reaching out to ask how I did it. For one year I'll be guest blogging at, as part of a new feature called Entrepreneurs on the Verge. I'll be commenting on the ins and outs of running a fair trade business in Africa. Check out the posts so far:

One Mango Tree: A Fair Trade Sapling
For-profit or Non-profit? The Existential Crisis of Fair Trade Retail


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