Women's History Month. We honor you. We thank you.

Women's History Month. We honor you. We thank you.

As a company, we are greatly indebted to women. There’s the obvious with Idris’s mother. He was seven weeks old when we flew to Ethiopia (where the concept of Idris’s Pieces took root)  as a family. She had no extended family or friends, and didn’t speak any of the local languages that could easily facilitate meeting a few. As I began to think more deeply about what Women’s History Month means to the company, I was struck by the obvious. In my experiences in Africa, women face similar struggles as they do globally, but are also very active. Very. 

In fact, when Idris’s Pieces was initially founded, all of our suppliers were women. Aziza, who owned a shop along a bustling commercial corridor in Addis Ababa, was one of my top suppliers. She was firm in her pricing (I actually appreciated this) but had a quality standard that I could rely on. I recall placing an order in 2010 that for reasons completely unrelated to her, never got shipped (can’t believe I haven’t told this story, but I will). When I visited in 2016, she had the entire order in her store’s basement. She insisted that I take it all. I replied, “Aziza, I can’t fit all of this in a suitcase.” She insisted that she instead pay me back the money I paid for the items. SubhanAllah (Glory to God). I of course refused because this would be a financial loss for her. She replied, “Then take what you can, Abdul Nasr.” So I took three or four pieces. 

Then there’s my experiences in West Africa. The woman who gracefully gave me a tour of the Musée de la Femme Henriette-Bathily, in Dakar, Senegal, using her phone as a translation device to point out people and details that most people overlook. In Segou, Mali, women ran most of the stalls where we shopped. They are mothers, entrepreneurs, community leaders, and more. And then there’s of course shea butter. Shea butter is a woman-owned process. From harvest to production, this labor-intensive process is not for the weak, an attribute incorrectly associated with women. It’s backbreaking, tedious, and even at market price, undervalued. 

 Last but not least, we recognize and thank Gina Herrera, the woman who created the branding images for Idris’s Pieces. I had no idea what colors or visuals I wanted. I did my best to convey to her the vibe we were looking for and she did the rest - from our logo to the templates we use for social media. 

We are indebted to women around the globe and we use this moment to say again, and again: Thank you! May you be elevated. 


Photo 1. Ambata and Idris two blocks away from our apartment in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 2010. 

Photo 2. Malienne woman selling teni, a small fish that is fried and eaten whole. Delish. 2020.

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