Yho!Yho! was set up by Gill Howard who first fell in love with Africa aged about 10 after reading about certain Scottish explorers and their encounters with hippos. She went on to marry a South African and moved to Cape Town.
Having trained as a nutritionist, she found that many health programmes ran craft outlets through which mothers could develop skills and earn an independent income for themselves and their families. Back in the Scottish Borders, and with young children, she set out to source practical children's products that were beautiful, useful and fairly traded from some of those tiny businesses in South Africa.
In South Africa:
Marianne, Carolissen is the powerhouse behind the design and production of the Yho!Yho! collection. Marianne lives near the famous Cape Winelands. But it is not an affluent area, and unemployment is high. Marianne learned her sewing skills in a clothing factory and then supervised work at a local craft project. She has no formal design training but a wonderful eye for the colour and character of African animals. She now works with a small local team, co-ordinating production of all things Yho!Yho!
Yho!Yho! Ethos: South Africa to UK
Yho!Yho! elephants are genuinely South African. Uniquely, the fabric is made in South Africa from flax, which is processed into linen yarn and woven into cloth in traditional mills within South Africa. Most fabrics available in South Africa are now imported from the Far East. This trend has decimated the previously vibrant textile industry. Doing things the Yho!Yho! way means that production of each elephant supports employment not only of Marianne and her team, but also jobs within small scale textile manufacturing in South Africa.
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 promote: Opportunities for disadvantaged producers, Capacity Building, Payment of fair wages, Fair working practices, Accountability and Respect for the Environment. The principles are described in full on the WFTO site. Yho!Yho! is a member of the British Association of Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers (BAFTS).