Carmen Myers is a philanthropist and the designer behind the Meyelo brand. This bold accessories collection is produced by woman artisans of the Maasai community in Kenya. Meyelo?s simple but bold designs have effortless style without being trendy. The leather wallet and tote are perfect wear-anywhere travel accessories. Best of all, every time you make a Meyelo purchase, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to A Voice Is Heard, Carmen?s organization that provides development in Maasai villages. Read more about Carmen's incredible efforts to preserve Africa's design heritage.
How does travel inspire your collection?
Travel is the essence of our collection. My first trip to Kenya in 2008 changed my life forever. Soon after that trip, I founded a non-profit organization called "A Voice is Heard" to help find solutions to fighting poverty. Education is the foundation of our mission. Through our work, we saw an important need to provide opportunity. Education, training and opportunity go hand in hand. Meyelo was founded in 2013 out of a desire to lift artisans out of poverty by providing a global platform for their work. Together, we have created a brand that shares the story of Kenya. We now employ over 80 artisans who are finding a sustainable solution to breaking the cycle of poverty. With every purchase, we donate a portion back to the community development projects of "A Voice Is Heard" who work in some of the regions where our artisans reside.
Describe the Meyelo brand in 3 words.
Opportunity - We are providing employment for artisans who live in marginalized conditions.
Authentic - Each piece is handcrafted by local artisans who represent the diverse talents of people living in Kenya.
Colorful - Color is Kenya. The beautiful prints, patterns, and bright colors are inspiring and uplifting.
Meyelo is a socially conscious lifestyle brand that inspires you with color, using authentic materials and offering a meaningful story behind our products. We give you an escape into a journey to Kenya.
Your collection of products keeps growing. What creative endeavors are on the horizon?
We are about to launch our Fall / Winter Collection, and we have added 35 new pieces to our line. We are evolving with each collection, but simplistic design is always key to our brand.
Who is your muse? Describe the woman who wears Meyelo.
My muses are the Maasai Mommas in my life. They inspire me with their beauty, colorful dress, talent, love and spirit. They dance in the face of adversity. Truly an inspiration.
The women who wear our product are diverse. My hope is that they know the story behind their purchase because when you create handcrafted pieces, there is a face behind that work.
Tell us about your favorite piece (or one of them) and where you were inspired to create it.
Our lulu wallet is one of my favorite pieces. I'm not a big wallet girl. I wanted something simple so I designed it to hold a passport, cash, and a few cards. The functionality fits me perfectly and it's made from beautiful cowhide leather that wears better over time. The lulu collection features my essential travel pieces.
What are your upcoming travel plans?
I love to travel and have been very fortunate to see many parts of the world yet nothing is quite like Kenya. For me, after working there for so many years, visiting Kenya is like going home to family. I will be traveling there next month to work on plans to build a school and spend time with our artisans creating our 2015 collections. I know it's cliche, but I do dream of Africa. I'm in love with the people, the landscape, and the animals. Kenya helps me unplug and take stock in what's really important. The simplicity of that world reminds me that the little things really don't matter.
Souk or Department Store?
Definitely a souk! Who doesn't love a market? That's where you find all the treasures.
DIY or Concierge Service?
Buy Everything or Buy Nothing?
I've become selective these days, I prefer meaningful, thoughtful items.
Camping or 5-Star Hotel?
I love a great camping adventure.
Drive or be Driven?
I like to drive if I am under pressure -- but for leisurely trips, I prefer to be driven.
Room service or Street Food?
Street Food - I love being out in the world.
Lots of Luggage or Carry-on Bag?
Carry-on - I'd rather throw things in a bag and go.