Who is behind Welana?

Anna Papadopoulos and Welella Negussie are the founders and CEOs of Welana.

Anna 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 2013 she has been working at Mandalah, a consultancy that focuses on human-centric and purpose-driven products, services, strategies and organisational designs that build bridges between purpose and profit.

Welella is Berlin born and raised 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. Interested in humanitarian issues and international development, she has been working in this field for the past few of years, lastly for the United Nations in Addis Ababa.

Why did we set up Welana?

The idea of setting up Welana emerged in 2015. We have been trying to come up with innovative solutions and ideas for the lack of (employment) opportunities for the local population in Ethiopia. We wanted this solution to be long-lasting and sustainable- and at best be a solution that can transform not only the lives of single Ethiopians but entire communities.
Ethiopia’s beauty is undeniable, and the country has gained a spot on the map for its rich history, multi-faceted traditions and great food. Ethiopia is also home to an incredible weaving culture,which produces beautiful cotton and silk textiles. We want to connect and transport these qualities to Europe and beyond by importing handmade textiles which are produced locally, under fair conditions and with great appreciation of the weavers and local producers.

What values does Welana stand for?

Welana stands for the fair and dignified treatment of employees - no matter what part of the world they come from. We know that everything we do in this world and the choices we make have an immediate effect on the lives of others and on the environment. Therefore, 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.

Who are Welana’s local producers?

Welana works with two local producers: Sabahar and Maraki. Read more at Welana Partners.

Why doesn’t Welana work directly with weavers?

Welana is a for-profit social enterprise, founded in 2015, and therefore we are a small company and a team consisting of two members who are based in Berlin. At the moment we do not have the infrastructure and human resources in place to work with the weavers directly but enjoy working with trust-worthy (and certified) and established local producers that can deliver our products based upon the principles of fair trade, dignified treatment of employees, fair wages, provision of health insurance, overall community support and the use of natural fabrics for our products.

Where does the cotton come from?

Our producers source the cotton for the textiles from local vendors within Addis Ababa. Currently, there is no certified fair trade cotton available in Ethiopia but there are plans underway by organizations such as ‘Cotton Made in Africa’ to establish fair trade cotton supply. We will keep you updated.

Where do the dyes come from?

The high quality dyes for the cotton products come from Bezema and Maiwa. For the silk products natural dyes are used.

What if I don’t like the product and wish to send it back?

If you do not like a product you can send it back and you will be refunded. Welana will also bear the costs of the shipping costs. Click here for further information: Returns & Refunds.

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