About Old

Osei-Duro was founded in 2011 by Maryanne Mathias and Molly Keogh, who are designers from Canada and the United States respectively. The company is based in Vancouver BC, and Accra. We currently produce textiles and garments in Ghana, applying hand techniques to simple contemporary designs.

Born out of the designers’ shared interest in discourse between different fashion systems, Osei-Duro began as and still remains an experiment. Having pioneered the use of West African batik on fabrics like silk and rayon, Osei-Duro continues to focus on developing new and hybrid materials. Processes we have used include batik, tie and dye, hand weaving, block printing, lost wax brass casting, hand crochet, hand knitting, hand painting and screen printing, quilting, wood carving, glass bead making, soft sculpture, performance, ikat, and botanical dyeing. As a brand owned by white North Americans living and working in the Global South, we prioritize social responsibility and transparency in our projects, preferring to work collaboratively with a wide range of artisans, manufacturers, and fine artists. Our sewing and dyeing is done in small workshops in Ghana where we have direct relationships with the sewers and can ensure that their pay is well above the minimum wage.

We don’t discard our fabric scraps, but rather use them to make patchwork, or gift them to artists, schools, quilters, or anyone else who has a productive use for them. We are always looking for new creative ways to divert waste and put our scraps to use.

Osei-Duro aims to support local textile industries – on both large and small scales – in becoming sustainable. We believe that economic and environmental sustainability are intrinsically linked. As much as possible we source materials in Ghana, which both reduces carbon footprint and supports local textile producers. We work towards a vibrant local fashion industry wherever we are, one that exceeds international production standards while respecting the rights and aesthetics of local makers.

image: Erandi de Silva

 

Our Workplace 

We are currently 12 total employees here in Accra: 66% are women, and 33% are parents. 33% of us have tertiary degrees, while 66% have a senior high school degree or less. 50% of us were unemployed and financially vulnerable prior to our current jobs. Everyone on our team in Accra is Ghanaian aside from Molly, our co-founder and COO. We are committed to being a great place to work where everyone's voice is heard and their needs are met. We work to grow and thrive together and we have great retention, no one has quit in years. The benefits of our jobs include:

    • Work week: full time pay for a four day work week (standard in Ghana is six days) and three weeks paid vacation per year. Full pay during pandemic lockdowns and others forces majeures.
    • Wage: above a living wage, and earnings of 2 - 5 times previous incomes. Income sufficient to not only live on, but to also enable a change in circumstance for the individual, family and community member.
    • Profit-sharing: 10% of annual profits are shared, with percentage based on years worked.
    • Pension: full government pension pay in by Osei-Duro.
    • Parental Leave: three months full pay maternity leave, one year of one hour paid per workday for nursing or pumping, and two weeks full pay paternity leave.
    • Medical: unlimited sick days, prescription eyewear, emergency health coverage, and annual wellness exams.
    • Financial Services: matching savings program, interest-free loans, emergency short-term housing.
    • Childcare: childcare provided, family friendly workplace.
    • Career development: paid career development

 

2019 Financials 

Country spending breakdown
Ghana 43%
US 31%
Canada 12%
China and India  11%
Other 3%
Total 100%

 

Spending as % of revenue   
Advertising  7%
Bank fees 2%
Contract labor 19%
Debt service 2%
Material 13%
Other 1%
Payroll 25%
Postage/Freight/Import Duties 18%
Professional fees 1%
Profit 3%
Rent 3%
Taxes 4%
Travel/transport 2%
Total  100%

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