About Welana

Welana is a social company that offers handmade, high quality scarves, towels and blankets from extraordinary weavers in Ethiopia.

Our purpose is to empower local communities in Ethiopia together with you. We do that by showcasing handmade scarves, towels and blankets that embrace the country’s beautiful weaving culture to the world. Welana products are created with traditional weaving techniques and include patterns typical to Ethiopian culture. The weavers in Ethiopia produce the fabrics locally, under fair conditions. The materials consist of pure Ethiopian cotton or a cotton-Eri-silk-mix.

At Welana we are striving for a holistic business approach. Together with our Ethiopian partners we are empowering local communities through sustainable income development and by providing them global visibility of their craft. Adopting a full cycle model, we also ensure a responsible and ethical production process and support an environmentally friendly approach to reuse and recycle textiles.

Our Ambition

It is our ambition to provide timeless high quality products that one wants to keep for a lifetime. We are dedicated to the concept of slow fashion - not succumbing to short trends where clothes need to be replaced after a few weeks of wearing. Welana products are created with great care and love for the craft of weaving and for the people making them. They are here to stay and ought to be connected to your fondest memories.

A symbol of comfort and belonging, treasure and purity.

Our Values

From the beginning we were very clear about our mission and the values that we want to live by and promote. We wanted the business to be centered in joy, consciousness and empowerment. We also wished to prove that doing good and doing well are not mutually exclusive; supporting the fair and dignified treatment of collaborators - no matter what part of the world they come from. With this social business we strive for a holistic approach that emphasizes the concept of conscious consumption of beautiful and unique products, which are handmade with patience and dedication.

Anna Papadopoulos and Welella Negussie are the founders of Welana

We are two close childhood friends, who grew up in Berlin - closely linked to the Ethiopian culture through Welella’s family. We first talked about starting something that matters when we took a trip to the Wenchi Crater Lake, which is located 155 km outside of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We were taken aback by the beauty of Ethiopia and its people and fascinated by the great potential of this East African country. Our enthusiasm and love for the country was only enhanced through our travel and stay in Ethiopia. It was really there when we decided that more people should be exposed to what Ethiopia has to offer.

Welella Negussie

Welella is Berlin-born with Ethiopian roots. She studied Arts and Culture in Maastricht and gained her Master of Science in Development Studies in London at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in 2011. After her graduation she moved to Ethiopia to gain some experience in the field of humanitarian issues, migration and international development. From 2012-2015 she was working for the United Nations in Addis Ababa. Since 2016 she has been working for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Germany. She is interested in social justice and entrepreneurship and she values discovering new places by and connecting to people through travelling. Her biggest joy in founding and managing Welana has been the amazing support from family, friends and Welana-lovers from across the world as well as the strong connection to Ethiopian craftsmanship.

Contact Welella at welella@welana.com

Anna Papadopoulos

Anna, a Berlin native with Greek roots has always been interested in the intersection of business and social change. She gained her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration in Berlin and her Master of Social Science in Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Copenhagen Business School. Since 2018 she has been a Managing Partner at the European entity of Mandalah, a conscious innovation consultancy that supports organisations of all kinds in becoming more human-centric and environmentally friendly in all their business activities. She has three young children, Jasper, Nele and Ella, and is passionate about contributing to societies to become more just and considerate to their ecosystems. Through Welana and her other entrepreneurial endeavours she has recognized that the potential and opportunities to contribute to a fairer world are unlimited and that we as individuals, within our means, have the responsibility to be the drivers of change.

Contact Anna at anna@welana.com

Our Beginnings

We, the founders Welella and Anna, have loved Ethiopian textiles and clothing since we were little and we were particularly intrigued by the traditional textiles and weaving culture, which we saw in and around Addis Ababa. The craftsmanship of the local women and men who weave different kinds of textiles, their creativity to invent new patterns and to combine them with traditional forms and their dedication to detail were inspiring to us. It was then when we decided to develop the idea of establishing our own social company. In our pursuit of collaborating with suitable partners, we were looking for organizations that value and uphold the principles of fair trade, dignity and appreciation of the craft. We found two amazing local fair trade organizations that we have been partnering with ever since: Sabahar and Maraki (formerly Connected in Hope).

Supporters

Lesya Trepte

We are proud to have the support of our dear friend Lesya Trepte in all matters of Social Media and Marketing. Lesya, born in Ukraine and living in Berlin since her 10th birthday, loves being involved with Welana because she dearly believes in the company’s mission - striving for more than just profit but elevating people and their potential. The publicity and communications expert is the founder of Thoya Communications, a social media consulting firm.

Charlotte Kellner

Charlotte is a Berlin native, recently graduated with a Master's degree in Business Communication, and is on fire for Welana because she doesn't want to continue to accept the kind of economy where one side benefits while the other suffers. She feels deeply connected to Welana's values and working towards Welana's goals and objectives is forward-looking and meaningful for her.

The many others we would like to thank for their continuous support are

Georg Babing, Bosena Bekele-Negussie, Fekadu Bekele-Negussie, Julia Bobenko, Simon Bonnen, Nebiat Bezabeh, Jeanine Cooper, Dawit Dejene, Chukwudozie Ezigbalike, Henry Franz, Hewan Goethals, Benjamin Tedla Hecker, Ben Hoffmann, Dietrich Kanz, Meseret Walelgne Kanz, Rico-Thore Kauert, Florian Krüger, Katinka Lotz, Kathy Marshall, Sophie Mosko, Ryane Murnane, Lessano Negussie, Aris Papadopoulos, Niki Papadopoulos, Susanne Schneider-Papadopoulos, Patricia Schichl, Pam Simpson, Mister Tesch, Weinshet Walelgne, Jonah Wedenkind.