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About us

In the UK: Gill Howard

I first fell in love with Africa aged about 10 when I heard about one Scottish explorer's encounter with hippos. 20 years later I married a South African and we moved to Cape Town.

As a dietitian I was inspired by the craft businesses which run alongside many nutrition projects. These help mothers to develop skills and earn an independent income to support their families.

Back in the Scottish Borders, and with young children, I wanted to source practical children's  products that were beautiful and useful from some of those tiny businesses in South Africa. Yho! Yho! is a Xhosa phrase which describes, surprise and delight. A good name for what I wanted to do.

It has been a long road but we now have a range of gorgeous backpacks which are 100% South African, fairy traded and unique to Yho!Yho! 

Gill in South Africa with Duncan and Connell

 In South Africa:

Marianne, Carolissen is the powerhouse behind the design and production of most of Yho!Yho!'s range.  Marianne learned her sewing skills in a clothing factory and then supervised work at a local craft project. She created our range of backpacks with her amazing eye for detail. Her embroidery skills have given each a personality of its own. YhoYh's South African supplier Marrianne

Yho!Yho! Ethos: South Africa to UK

Yho!Yho! elephants are  genuinely South African. Uniquely, the fabric is woven into cloth in a small mill in eat eastern Cape region. Most fabrics available in South Africa are imported from the Far East. This trend has decimated a previously vibrant textile industry. Doing things the Yho!Yho! way means that we support local employment at every step of elephant production. 

As a Fair Trade business Yho!Yho! is committed to fair and transparent trading practices. We adhere strictly to the 10 principles of Fair Trade advocated by the World Fair Trade Forum. These include: Promoting  opportunities for disadvantaged producers, Fair wages and working practices, Accountability and Respect for the Environment. 

Yho!Yho! is a member of the British Association of Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers (BAFTS).