Discovering The Kenyan Collection
Unique hand beaded dog collars designed with a purpose
Have you ever felt that buying your dog a nice collar is an ordinary thing? I used to think so too, especially during my Shibas’ first year as puppies. By the time they were a year old, they had worn at least a dozen collars. Hoping to find unique collars, frequent visits were made to the local big box pet stores, but I had become disinterested with their same ordinary selections. My dogs mean the world to me, so in anticipation of their first birthday, a turn to the internet lead me on a search to buy them the best-looking collars I could find.
“Unique Dog Collars” was what I searched on my quest for their new collars. The “girls”, as they’re referred to at home are Shiba Inu’s, whose fur is red sesame in color. It wasn’t clear what style of collars were available, but discovering a collar that would complement the warm tones of their coat was my only hope. Up until this point, they had outgrown and/or destroyed every collar they had worn, so quality, along with a classic style were crucial factors for the new collars.
Discovering The Kenyan Collection collars
When I first stumbled upon The Kenyan Collection collars, there was a sense of excitement as if I were a child in a candy store. The choices were abundant and the unique designs, along with their bold vivid colors made it extremely difficult to decide on just one style. This was my candy store and I wanted them all! After much indecisiveness, the Topi Beaded Collar with its earth tones, gold beads and accents in red, became the collar of choice. For as long as they wore their Topi Beaded Collars, there was never a time when someone would not stop us and comment on their collars and proudly I would say they were from The Kenyan Collection.
It’s funny how most of us would not hesitate to purchase a quality product for our dog, but we think twice and look for deals on designer items for ourselves. Personally, wearing average shoes, clothes and accessories is okay for me, but that’s not the case for the girls, because knowing that they’re using or wearing products that are safe and high in quality gives me peace of mind.
Quality Stands the Test of Time
Recently, a story from my childhood about a particular store that my mom would buy my dresses came to mind. “El Bebé Español” was a boutique that sold baby and infant clothing imported from Spain back in the early 70’s. Being the child of Cuban immigrant parents, we were not afforded many luxuries during that time. However, my mom knew that buying a quality dress would last much longer than a dress from the local five-and-dime store.
So, every week she would set aside some of dad’s hard-earned money to save up for a new dress for me. Sometimes it would take her months to gather up $28 for a dressy occasion dress, but other times it took a little less and she was able to save $15 for an everyday dress. Sure, things are much different today. Most of us don’t think twice about paying $15 for two cups of coffee, but in those days $28 was a huge sacrifice.
Not long ago I asked mom what was so special about these particular dresses. At first, she stayed quiet, but then she got up and walked away, leaving me to wonder if there was something I had missed. After about a minute or so, she came down the hall holding what looked like a light blue article of clothing. As she lay it on her dining table immediately I recognized it as my childhood dress.
With precise detail, she began to explain that every pleat on the dress was hand sewn using imported yarns. The ornamental applications, which gave the dress its unique look, were also hand sewn into the dress and carefully applied one at a time to cause a pattern of sorts. It then dawned on me that what The Kenyan Collection means to me is the equivalent of what El Bebe Español meant to my mom.
Rukia and Saki are five years old and although their Topi collars have been outgrown, they will always remain a keepsake from their puppy years. They’re still hung up on the wall with their other supplies and often I reminisce about their early years. These Topi collars went through four years of rugged Shiba play, beach vacations, outdoor adventures, hiking and countless activities, but you would never imagine it because they look as new today as the day they were purchased.
Not one stitch has become undone nor is there a single bead out of place. The leather looks and smells like new and the brass hardware has kept its shine through the years.
Since 2014, The Kenyan Collection collars have been dear to my heart, primarily because of their unique aesthetics and quality, but most importantly, because of everything these collars represent. To the artisans who create the hand beaded designs, it’s simply a way of life, but to the Western world, they are a work of art.
In partnership with the Maasai Mamas, The Kenyan Collection has empowered this group of women in a way that allows them to use their craft to help sustain their community. The Mamas enjoy working with The Kenyan collection because they are compensated fairly, encouraged to participate in the expansion of the collection and get regular feedback on specific ways in which their work has been received by customers.
The “Maasai Mamas” – the story behind the artisans
Mostly known for their distinctiveness in their dress and customs, the women would often wear beads that symbolize their age as well as marital and social status. These beads at times may also point to special events that have occurred in one’s life. Since 2004, The Kenyan Collection team has been guiding the Maasai Mamas on quality and expectations of a demanding Western market.
The Mamas have drawn on their natural sense of color and design to handcraft these one-of-a-kind collars that are increasingly in demand by customers who not only appreciate the beauty of the products, but want to be part of The Kenyan Collections goal to foster economic independence through opportunity.
A Closer Look at ‘‘The Kenyan Collection’’ Beaded Dog Collars
The Kenyan Collection collars provide comfort, durability, aesthetics and uniqueness, which are just some of the things we want most in a dog collar. The creation of each collar begins with a small packet of beads and a single piece of black or brown leather depending on the style. Each unique beaded design unfolds as the Mamas skillfully hand-sew the beads into a layer of the leather, anchoring every 4 to 5 beads back into the leather, which provides additional strength and durability. A second piece of leather is glued and stitched to the back of the beaded piece for added durability and comfort. Each dog collar by The Kenyan Collection is hand-finished with hand-cast buckles made from recycled brass.
The Kenyan Collection stands out from the rest and while there have been others who have tried to duplicate the work of The Kenyan Collection, there is no comparison when you realize that these artisans are the heart and soul of their creative designs. When you purchase a collar from The Kenyan Collection what you are getting is a true masterpiece.
Explore The Kenyan Collection at mountainshiba.com
As pet parents, the passion we feel for our dogs and the desire for quality drives us to give them the best of everything. As an authorized reseller of The Kenyan Collection, all of our hand-beaded dog collars have been carefully selected to provide our customers with a variety of designs. At Mountain Shiba, we are delighted to dedicate a category of hand-beaded collars exclusively to The Kenyan Collection. Each dog collar has a precise blend of aesthetics and functionality as well a soul-stirring and heartwarming backstory.
Once you discover The Kenyan Collection you’ll know that you’re not just purchasing a pretty collar, but instead a work of art.
Visit our entire collection of The Kenyan Collection hand-beaded dogs collars.