Product Review: Khutsala Artisans Decor + Giveaway!*

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A few months ago, I was scrolling through social media and I happened upon an advertisement for Khutsala Artisans. I hadn't heard of them before, but their 50% off special pulled me in! I immediately checked out their website and fell in love!

Not only did they have the type of necklace I was looking for, but they had an amazing mission statement as well! I quickly made a purchase and reached out to one of the Heart for Africa employees. Since doing so, we've partnered to bring you a couple of awesome product reviews and giveaways!

So far, I've posted two other reviews with them and they've turned out wonderfully! My first product review was titled "Product Review: Khutsala Artisans Jewelry + Giveaway!*" and I also partnered with Heart for Africa on a couple of book reviews too! The first of which was posted on my other blog, Ivy Cirillo Books, and I reviewed the co-founder's book, It's Not Okay with Me. Next up, I'm reviewing Khutsala Artisans Home Decor!



Heart for Africa & Khutsala Artisans
Heart of Africa was founded in February 2006 by Janine Maxwell and her husband Ian. According to their website, Heart of Africa is "a faith-based humanitarian organization focusing on the areas of Hunger, Orphans, Poverty and Education in Swaziland."

After starting Heart for Africa, the Maxwell's then started Project Canaan, a place of hope. Project Canaan is a 2,500 acre large-scale land development project designed to come alongside Africans and bring expertise, resources, and heart together to find a holistic solution to a complex set of issues. Not only does Project Canaan provide training and employment, but it also provides a safe haven for orphaned and vulnerable children.

In an effort to fight back against the AIDS epidemic, the Maxwell's continue to build homes and schools for the children of Swaziland. They are quite committed to raising the future leaders of this nation.

As of January 2017, they house over 140 children at Project Canaan and employ over 250 people from the surrounding community. At this rate, it looks like they will have over 260 children living with them by the year 2020!


As part of the initiative, the Maxwell's created Project Canaan Technical. This project includes the Kufundza Learning Center and the Khutsala Artisans Center. Both of these centers help provide various skills and opportunities to the adults of Swaziland.

The learning center teaches Swazi adults the skills needed to gain employment and provide for their families. According to their website, the center includes a carpentry shop and a multi-purpose classroom.

The Khutsala Artisans Center trains the Swazi people to sew and make jewelry. In addition, the center also helps provide the local Swazi's with the necessary skills and opportunities to provide for their families. Inside, the center includes an additional multi-purpose room used for presenting locals with information on hygiene, family planning, and other important issues. This center has been such a success that it continues to expand while also being one of the key sources of revenue to support the Project Canaan Children.


Review
As I mentioned earlier, I purchased a couple pieces for myself before reaching out to the Khutsala Artisans staff. They were so incredibly generous and sent over a TON of beautiful product, I was completely surprised by how much they sent over and I couldn't wait to start reviewing it!

As far as packaging goes, everything arrived in a USPS Priority shipping box and it was as secure as it could possibly be! I actually struggled to get through all of the tape, so I appreciated the extra effort put into the packaging!

Inside the box, I found everything neatly packaged and organized beautifully. I really have to give Khutsala Artisans props for their packaging because they really bring their branding through the entire box! There was, of course, the packaging basics: business cards, social media cards, tissue paper, and a packing slip; but they even went the extra mile too! Underneath the products, I found a personalized note in one of their beautiful greeting cards!


Honestly, the only negative thing I can say about their packaging was that I didn't like the way the Lucky Seed Decor Set was packaged. Each word was covered in sticky plastic wrap and it was a bit of a pain to get off, especially since there were three in total. Truthfully though, I can't imagine how someone could possibly package those pieces without them getting destroyed, so I understand why they chose this method.

Of course once I got the wrapping off, I fell in love with the handmade pieces! As someone that previously owned an online jewelry shop specializing in wire wrapped gemstone jewelry, I know how difficult wire can be to work with. So, I can sincerely say that I admire the work that was put into each of these pieces!


Upon further inspection, it is clear that these pieces are high quality! I was afraid that I would accidentally bend them or break them, but that never seemed to be the case. Not only that, but the artists went so far as to add hooks on the back of each piece for the customer's convenience. And I can honestly say, they helped a ton! My husband and I were able to mark each hook with a pencil and immediately knew where to hammer a nail into the wall. Besides deciding where to hang them, it took all the guess work out of displaying them in our home :)

Another thing that I'd like to point out is that the beads used in each piece are actually Imfibinga seeds from Africa. According to the Khutsala Artisan's website, "Imfibinga seeds, more commonly known as “Zulu Teething Beads” or River beads, are found in Swaziland. This tropical wild grass seed has been gathered and used for generations by local Zulu women for their babies to chew on as a natural teething remedy. They are referred to as Job’s tears in other parts of the world."


Due to the nature of the materials, each piece is a completely unique handmade beauty! Of course, this can be both good and bad. In my case, I absolutely loved the mix of beads in the words "Hope" and "Love," but I can't say the same about "Joy." To me, it looks like the artist ran out of beads towards the end of the word and the last letter is almost completely made up of the same color. And as someone diagnosed with OCD, it bothers me greatly. However, it more than likely wouldn't be a problem for others, especially since each piece is different! And as I get used to them hanging on the wall, I'm sure I won't continue to notice it over time.

Overall, I would highly recommend purchasing with Khutsala Artisans! The story behind their brand is amazing and the quality of their work is just as great! I have spent a great deal of time talking with their staff and getting to know more about their organization and I love everything that their doing! Honestly, I'm so happy to have found this company and I love knowing that my purchases make a difference! I might just have to pick up one of their black and white infinity scarves next :)


Coupon Code
Khutsala Artisans has been incredibly generous, not only to offer me a product for review, and a giveaway for you guys, but they wanted to include a coupon code too!

As a Perfectly Ambitious reader you can save 25% off your entire purchase! Just mention discount code “IVY25” at checkout :)


Giveaway
As promised, I am hosting a giveaway for you guys! One of my lucky readers will win a Baby Cheery Owl. This beautiful handmade treasure is worth $35, but will be completely FREE for one of you guys! These gorgeous owls come in two different sizes and color variations, but I will be giving away the multicolored baby owl!

According to the website, "Each owl is handcrafted and hand beaded by our Khutsala Artisans. Their adorable eyes are hand rolled clay from Swaziland, called SwaziMud. They are approximately 4.5" tall and have the ability to stand!"

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Free shipping for U.S. residents only. Any winner out of the country will have to pay for shipping + custom charges as well as any applicable duty fees. 

This giveaway starts on 4/14/2017 and ends on 4/23/2017. The winner will be randomly drawn and announced on 4/24/2017. 

Please note that there is only one mandatory entry and a variety of ways to earn extra entries. You can also come back to enter every single day!

If you want to stay connected with Khutsala Artisans/Heart for Africa just use the following links:

Have you purchased from Khutsala Artisans before? I'd love to hear what you thought, let me know in the comments!

* I have been given products through this company to review and giveaway. Although these products were gifts, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company. *

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4 comments

  1. What a beautiful product and charity

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  2. Such a beautiful cause. This piece is absolutely gorgeous and the story that comes with it is priceless. Thanks for hosting this great giveaway!

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  3. So beautiful. Just brrathetaking. I love one of a kind work like this. Thanks for sharing !

    ReplyDelete