Getting Social with Kurandza

We love getting to know female entrepreneurs from all over the world and this one has an unstoppable reputation. Today we’re getting social with Elisabetta Colabianchi, founder of Kurandza. After serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique for three years, she knew she wanted to stay connected and support these women. Today, she dedicates her work by empowering these women through employment and educational opportunities. By teaching them the skills of sewing and how to sell their handcrafted items, this provides them with sustainable income.

This past month, we were honored to have Kurandza gift our socialites with gorgeous handmade stud earrings at our LA workshop (you can find their complete line of beautiful products here). Elisabetta shares her inspiration behind Kurandza and how she was able to create sustainable change and a greater future for the women of Mozambique.

How amazing are our LA Social Studio Shop sponsors? | Getting Social with @kurandza via @social_studio

Photo by Elana Jadallah

Could you share the inspiration behind Kurandza?

The idea for Kurandza came to be while I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mozambique! My assignment was to work at a rural hospital and one of my duties was to counsel HIV-positive pregnant women on treatment adherence and the prevention of HIV transmission to their babies. I noticed that many of the women did not return to the hospital every month for their counseling session and to pick-up their medication because they didn’t have an income to pay for the transportation expenses. My friend, Percina, and I wanted to help these women by starting an income generation activity. We decided to start a sewing project that would provide monthly income to these ladies so that they could reach the hospital every month and stay healthy and happy. When I returned to the U.S. last year, I created Kurandza as a way to continue working with these amazing women and make a greater impact! 

"Empowering women in Mozambique through education and employment opportunities." | Getting Social with @kurandza via @social_studio

What does “Kurandza” mean and what made you decide to name this as your brand?

Kurandza means “to love” in Changana, the local language of our women in Mozambique! The Changana language is the language that we communicate with during our work, and it has a special place in my heart. I wanted to be sure to choose a name in Changana that honored the culture and language of our women while also conveying the message of our organization. All that we do, we do in mutual love and understanding. 

Your jewelry is all made with LOVE! Could you tell us more about it?

Sure! Our jewelry is handcrafted {with love} using locally sourced materials. We currently make all of our pieces from traditional capulana cloth, which is colorful wax-print cotton fabric that is typically worn by Mozambican women as a wrap skirt or to tie their babies on their backs! We make our earrings and bangle bracelets by hand and use sewing machines for our accessories and bags.

Buy a bracelet, change a life! | Getting Social with @kurandza via @social_studio

What was the most challenging part of starting Kurandza? What is a challenging aspect on a day-to-day basis?

In the beginning it was challenging to start the sewing project because for many of our women, it was the first job of their lives! They had to learn about work ethic, customer service, quality control, and other issues, which took some time. Once I launched Kurandza last year, it was challenging to get used to working with the women from afar, communicating with them and designing products over the phone and Internet! 

Are there specific organizations and causes Kurandza supports? Do you have a personal connection with this cause? If so, why?

Kurandza started as a way for HIV-positive women to earn a sustainable income and pay for transportation costs to reach the hospital every month and pick-up their medication. Now that we have grown, we support other causes in addition to HIV care and treatment. Education is so important to us, and our women have been able to their children to school because of their steady income. We hope that Kurandza can send more children to school so that they can have more opportunity in life. More recently, we have supported small business development in our community in Mozambique: each of the nine women will be mentoring families in the community, sharing their business knowledge with the rest of the community. While I was in Mozambique over the summer, we built our first grocery store for a family in the community, and Percina is their mentor—teaching the family about bookkeeping, inventory, and profit analysis.

What’s one tip of advice you have for those who want to mirror your footsteps by combining their talents and passions?

Do what you love in life! When you focus on what you’re good at and what you love to do, magical things happen. Work doesn’t feel like work. It feels like everything you do is what you were meant for in life. I say, go for it! Take a leap of faith and do the one thing you’ve been wanting to do, and perhaps were afraid to do.

"When you focus on what you’re good at and what you love to do, magical things happen." (Tweet this!)

What has surprised you most about your journey with Kurandza?

Something that exceeded my expectations about Kurandza was how much the women have stepped up now that I live in the United States. I wasn’t sure how they would do without me there during our workdays, and the women who manage the workshop are amazingly talented and responsible, and I’ve been humbled and delighted to see how well it’s going!

Where do you see your brand in 5 years?  

In five years I see Kurandza as a well-known social good and ethical fashion brand that provides jobs for hundreds of Mozambican women. I see Kurandza as having started several small businesses in our area of Mozambique, providing basic goods and services, commerce, and employment to thousands of community members!

"In five years, I see Kurandza as a well-known social good and ethical fashion brand that provides jobs for hundreds of Mozambican women" - Elisabetta Colabianchi, founder of Kurandza | Getting Social with @kurandza via @social_studio

The year is almost over, can you believe it?! Is there anything you have in store for the near future that you can share with us – wink!

This year went by so fast! In 2016, we will be launching our first Crowdfunding campaign and we will be producing a new collection that incorporates metal, wood, and leather into our colorful pieces! You can join our newsletter list to stay in the know at

Photos c/o Elisabetta Colabianchi of Kurandza