Long before she launched Zaaf Collection, a handbag business headquartered in Ethiopia, Abai Schulze spent her earlier years in Wollo Province and then in Addis before entering an orphanage at age four, then moving to America seven years later. “It had naturally shaped me in a dynamic way,” Abai recalls of her childhood in Addis. “Being adopted at a later age meant that I had a certain amoutn of attachment to Ethiopia.”
Zaaf is the Amharic word for tree. “at the same time it is a simple word with symbolic meaning across all cutlures. I was inpsired by the notion of deep roots reaching into abundantly rich Ehtiopian culture and heritage, while bringing out beautiful branches of creativity and functionality it is a theme that works well- most of our products are named after Ehtiopian trees.”
Starting out with a small team of six, it has now grown to seventeen artisans and staff.