At Zimbowties we believe creativity is the seed of innovation and we want to support “infinite creativity” in Zimbabwe. How are we doing this?

First, we find and pay creative artisans and artists to make our products…

Then we sell these products around the world…

Whenever I see the art created by youngsters in Zimbabwe I am so impressed by their process, ideas, and what they pay attention to. For example, look at these pieces by Delight (above) and Munashe (below) that capture some of the power and violence of a “Terrible Storm” inspired by Cyclone Idai that hit Zimbabwe in 2019 (I’m particularly amused by the juxtaposition of the terrible storm and a man on the mountain losing his hat).

When we started working on Zimbowties, one of the things we realised early on was that we wanted to create products that we could export to different countries so we didn’t have to depend on how Zimbabwe’s roller-coaster of an economy was performing. The United States has a population of over 300 million people and on my first trip out here to attend the Watson Institute in Boulder it struck me that out of all those people we could surely find a market for our colourful, handmade bow ties and other accessories!

The Suitcase of a Travelling Bow Tie Salesman

So towards the end of April, I…

3 years ago I left my job as a biomedical design engineer and I haven’t had a salaried job since then. This has been one of the most difficult yet rewarding times of my life. The fact that I have survived has been a combination of hard work, supportive parents, family and friends, living super frugally, luck and generosity from you and all the people I’ve met (and haven’t met) around the world. Here’s how it’s worked out so far…

2016

Taking Zimbowties to Scotland. Pictured here with Mada, a fellow Beit Trust Scholar at the University of Strathclyde. Pic: University of Strathclyde

When I left my job in 2016, it was to study a Master’s degree in product design in Scotland…

You’re often told that to think creatively you need to “think outside the box”. But why’s that? Well, imagine this box represents the way that you’ve always solved problems.

And because this is the box that you operate in your solutions are always going to look kinda similar.

Games are a great way for us to forget who we are. For a short time, we become a space invader or a unicorn or a wizard! In some games, we even work with others to solve some kinda complex problems. We’re not so invested and the stakes are lowered. Heck, it’s just a game!

Games allow us to become someone else. Photo by Carl Raw on Unsplash

Collaboration on a team project though is a whole other story. When we’re invested in the outcome of the project we want to make sure that what we think is best is getting done. …

What do you enjoy so much that you’ll find a way to do it even if you’re broke? Maybe that’s what you should be building a career in?

Books are free! What do you like to read about? Photo by Ranit Chakraborty on Unsplash

I’m increasingly starting to realise that a lot of people think that by going to a top university they’ll magically enjoy whatever they decide to study be it engineering, medicine, actuarial science et cetera.

Have you ever tried learning about that stuff before? Have you read any books on it? Have you done any free online courses? If you haven’t, should you be trying to get into a really expensive university to…

At Zimbowties all of our eye-catching, one-of-a-kind bow ties are handmade from offcuts of colourful fabrics that come from all over Africa. We get these offcuts from local tailors who are using the fabric to make anything from dresses to pillowcases.

Marjorie, one of our talented tailors, making a bow tie from fabric offcuts.

Using offcuts means that we rarely can make more than 1 or 2 products from the same print of the fabric. Also, due to the nature of the patterns on African fabrics, each item we do make from the same offcut usually turns out quite different from its sister making all of our products one-of-a-kind.

At the end of last year, I was lucky enough to get to talk at the 37th edition of Ignite Boulder. Ignite talks are really cool events where a group of speakers each get five minutes to talk on a subject accompanied by 20 slides that display for 15 seconds each before automatically advancing. Ignite started in Seattle and the Boulder version of it has been running for 10 years now.

Ignite Boulder 37 was hosted at the beautiful Boulder Theatre

One of the founders of Boulder Ignite is Andrew Hyde, a successful entrepreneur, a seasoned traveller, a writer and an all-around great guy. I was really inspired by how…

The kindness of a stranger once led to me staying in beautiful Milan

Can you remember that relative that paid for you to go on the school trip that you couldn’t afford? Can you remember that family friend who got you a holiday job so you could get some work experience? Can you remember that random stranger you met on a layover in Saudi Arabia who invited you to stay with his family if you visited Italy and welcomed you with open arms when you took him up on the offer?

Giving is the currency of community and I think it would maybe be impossible for society to function without it. For…

Kim White

Freelance Product Designer by Day, Bow Tie Salesman by Night kimsdesignkitchen.com zimbowties.com

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