Danielle & Jim
Upon returning from her first trip to Tanzania with an inspiration to do something to assist the amazing people and communities she met, Danielle's energy and passion led us to embark on this shared mission.We founded Love+Kind to combine our skills across business and art to make a difference, to empower the people and communities we've met. After two years of training and development in Tanzania, we are excited to share our passion with discerning customers world wide. There is no mass production at Love + Kind, only carefully crafted garments made with Love. That Love is for every customer, if you feel it, we and our team have accomplished our goal.
Irene M. Lugalla
Irene is a vivacious, dynamic leader who has become a role model in her community. She is a proud mother of 4 and her children take after her in their scholastic endeavors and big heart. She has been a University Lecturer and Researcher focused on women entrepreneurs in Africa since 2008. Currently she is pursuing a PhD at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Irene’s heart and compassion drive her to empower those less fortunate than herself. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Amani Orphans Home where she also volunteers as a life skills coach. She is passionate about empowering women and children in poverty stricken communities, and has hosted volunteers in her home, helping those communities since 2004. She is the director of production for Love + Kind in Tanzania where she is responsible for recruiting, educating, and overseeing the fundi making our beautiful skirts. She is instrumental as a cultural liaison to make sure that Love + Kind fits within the fabric of the community.
Irene lives in Iringa, Tanzania.
Bibi is the Swahili word for grandma. Bibi’s has spent her life in service of others: her six children, the orphaned and vulnerable children she has taken in and foreign volunteers and missionaries she hosts and cares for when they visit Tanzania.
Bibi started working with the Love + Kind in 2016 when Irene left for the Netherlands for her PhD studies. Bibi supervises the Love + Kind daily operations in Tanzania including supervising fundis, selecting and purchasing local fabrics, training fundis, and shipping the hand made skirts to the U.S.
She says “I love Love + Kind so much that it has helped women to get jobs in the community around us. For these workers were unemployed and now they are happy and proud that they have a very important job! I have new inspiration and determination. I really love this work and I pray for Love + Kind and all the Love + Kind team. I love you all”. Bibi is the bibi for all. She is grateful to be able to share with others and feels blessed that her children are following in her footsteps.
Mama J is the kind, passionate, creative, innovative chief-fundi (dress maker) of Love + Kind. A mother of four, and a wife, Mama J provided the inspiration to start Love + Kind, sewing the first skirts that Danielle brought back from Tanzania. A devastating fire took Mama J’s home and everything she owned shortly before the birth of their fourth child, but that didn’t dampen her spirit or dull her infectious smile. Her passion, talent, and love are evident to everyone who saw those original skirts and inspired the mission of creating a way to empower her and women like her.
Sent to college as part of the founding of Love + Kind, she excelled as she had done in her earlier vocational training. She is looked up to with admiration by her family, neighbourhood, and village as an inspiration to many women. Crafting skirts for Love + Kind has enabled her to rebuild her house and provide for her family. As the chief fundi of Love + Kind, “I feel blessed, empowered, and loved” she says. Her moto in work and in life is “it can be done! hakuna matata”.
Habiba (aka Mama Chai- famously known and named by her customers) is an innovative, creative, entrepreneur and a mother of three, hardworking wife, and owner of a mobile breakfast business selling spicy tea with bites. After her morning rounds selling breakfast and lunch to local construction and factory workers, she focuses her attention on tailoring, a passion she has held since she was a kid. Originally self-taught, she became an accomplished local seamstress making women and men’s clothes in her neighbourhood. She has applied the passion she brought to Love + Kind to mastering the finer points of dressmaking. Since joining Love + Kind she has excelled and has been empowered (economically and mentally). She is anxious to share her passion with every customer of Love + Kind.
Jane is kind, passionate, and ambitious single mother of two daughters. Orphaned at a young age, she was raised by her aunt who sent her to be an apprentice to a dressmaker. After two years of apprenticeship, Jane was making dresses for women in her neighbourhood, although her ability to support herself was limited by their poverty. She taught dress making to other young women looking for a skill to sustain themselves. Though reserved and shy, Jane has made a big impact on the women in her neighbourhood. The opportunity to become a Love + Kind artisan has meant steady income on which she can support herself and her daughters, investing in their future. She has called it "a God sent blessing.” Jane embraces the love and embodies the spirit of empowerment that is the Love + Kind mission.
Sylvia is the youngest fundi amongst the original fundi of Love + Kind. A shy and aspiring young lady, she learned to sew from her aunt, Mama J. As with most young girls from rural Iringa her chances of getting a job or for further studies are very slim. Her best opportunity to escape her local poverty is to learn to be an independent entrepreneur. Her aunt's work with Love + Kind created the opportunity for Mama J to bring Sylvia in as an assistant and apprentice. Since then she has been a reliable, dedicated, and trusted fundi of Love + Kind. She is passionate and talented and has excelled in her learning and her craft. Her love for her work is evident in every skirt she crafts, she says “I am blessed to be part of the Love + Kind family.”
Victoria’s career spans multiple dimensions including leadership in the customer service and luxury retail industry. Most recently, she opened a successful 10-month pop up in LA, curating a West Coast footprint for a NYC based luxury and travel inspired brand of women’s clothing. With over two decades experience managing well established and in trend companies, primarily with an emphasis on social and community responsibility, Victoria brings invaluable knowledge and passion to our mission.
Friends since childhood, Victoria was inspired by Danielle’s recount of her trip to Tanzania and felt called to be a part of Love + Kind in whatever capacity Danielle and Jim honored her with. With a mission to bring these unique and artistic fashions to the US, Victoria’s skills in retailing have helped us curate the collection to communicate directly to the fashion forward, socially responsible consumer.
Born to Haitian parents, Victoria is a first generation born American, who has always had an innate passion and curiosity for fashion, travel, embracing other cultures and for languages. She currently speaks 4 languages and looking forward to adding Swahili to communicate with her beloved new dadas (sisters) in Tanzania.
Kim joined the Love + Kind family early on to lend her skills as a marketer and photographer. With over 10 years of experience in Marketing and Advertising and a passion for storytelling across multiple creative outlets, she has become a key contributor to the telling of the Love + Kind story. Having known Danielle since the first day of high school, a friendship that has grown into a sisterhood, she immediately understood and embraced Danielle’s vision for creating a sustainable enterprise focused on the empowerment women and their communities.
In November of 2016, Kim joined Love + Kind on the company’s first official trip to Tanzania as a photographer. She spent 2 weeks meeting the team, establishing relationships with the fundi, documenting the process of sourcing materials and creating the skirts. “That trip changed my life in so many ways. The people of Tanzania are the most gracious and giving people I have ever met. They welcomed us and invited us into their communities as if we were family. To see the pride in their creations and the excitement to be a part of this venture was truly magical!”
Irina joined Love + Kind in 2017 as our lead instructor in tailoring and production. Born in Russia, Irina’s family nurtured her lifelong passion for fashion. Introduced to the art of sewing at an early age by her Grandmother, a seamstress, she has been making clothes for herself and others for as long as she can remember. She brought her talents to New York to study at Fashion Institute of Technology. Her unique talents and sense of creative, flowing style led her to launch her own clothing brand in 2016, a brand with a devotion to simplicity, versatility, elegance and comfort, and each garment is in celebration of women.
Irina feels a very personal sense of responsibility to share the timeless skill and artistry of tailoring, as that was also her grandmother’s way to freedom after the war. Her artistry and creativity has empowered Irina to use her creations as a language to encourage consumers to re-evaluate the relationship that they have with clothing. It is with that same sense of conviction to helping others that she brings her skills to Love + Kind. The mission of empowerment that Love + Kind pursues speaks to her on a very personal level and she is grateful to be an integral part of fostering community empowerment and economic freedom.