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Our Story and Commitment to Fair Trade

Mission Statement: 

To work in partnership with individuals and craft focused social enterprises in South Africa to build capacity for income generation and financial security for families, and always considering wellbeing, happiness and respect for the environment. 

Key partners

In the UK: Gill Howard

I fell in love with Africa aged about 10 after reading about one explorer's terrifying encounter with hippos.  Twenty years, and a few travels later I married a South African and we moved to Cape Town.

As a dietitian I was inspired by the craft businesses which were part of many nutrition projects in South Africa.  These helped mothers to develop skills and earn an independent income to support their families.

Back in the Scottish Borders, and with 3 children, I wanted to source practical children's  products that were fun 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.

Our gorgeous backpacks are 100% South African, fairy traded and unique to Yho!Yho! Our range also includes long sleeve t-shirt tops and baby bodysuits, decorated with African animal appliqué, and incredible wire and bead accessories.

Gill in South Africa with Duncan and Connell

 In South Africa:

Marianne, Carolissen was the original 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. She also designed the appliqué animals which decorate our t-shirt tops. We have always been proud of the colour range of these tops - each one a tiny bit different !YhoYh's South African supplier Marrianne

A family business: 


We are delighted that Marianne's daughter Tarien is now working with us on a new range of baby items and appliqué animals. She was taught sewing by her Mom. Her gorgeous baby daughter is of course one of our favourite models.

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 the Eastern Cape region. Most fabrics available in South Africa are imported from the Far East. This trend has decimated a previously vibrant textile industry. This means that we support local employment at every step of elephant production. 

Whenever possible our t-shirt tops and baby bodysuits are made in Africa in a tightly audited factory, and our appliqué animals are created from South African shweshwe fabric and  leftover scraps of fabric from other projects.

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).