Greetings to All Artists, Patrons, & Friends of Ujamaa’s Retail Boutique!
We want you to be the first to know of a major update for Ujamaa Collective. We are expanding our focus on programs and the maker community, and reducing our retail footprint. In early March, we’re leaving our storefront and moving into a more flexible space that better suits our needs. It’s a big change, though we aren’t going far! We will be in Suite 103 in One Hope Square.
February 2018 marks a decade since Black women in Pittsburgh began organizing cooperative economic models that grew into the non-profit Ujamaa Collective. For eight out of the 10 years, we’ve operated a retail boutique serving Africana artisans and community in the storefront of the One Hope Square building in the Hill District’s Centre Avenue business corridor. More than 150 artists, makers and entrepreneurs have come through our doors with their wares, entrepreneurial services, and workshops. Ujamaa has connected them to customers and communities from all over our city and world. This important service has come at a high cost. Over time, our staff and board have evaluated our inputs, the impacts of our service, and our vision as a non-profit, and we’ve altered our business model to focus on the core things that we provide.
So we’ve identified a new space for our new beginning. We are still in One Hope Square -which is literally right down the hall in Suite 103. While we lose the beautiful window-front space, we gain a space for our expanded services and creating new options for makers and the community at-large.
Our new space provides an inviting environment for entrepreneurial development, and opportunities for cultural education and exchange. We are clear that these services create an impact that helps provide the backbone for healthy fair trade in Africana communities and to resolve issues faced by Africana, mostly female, handmade artists who face barriers to economic access and opportunity, networks and communities of support. Additionally, we interface with many community customers and international constituents who desire a cultural connection. Ujamaa provides a safe, nurturing place for cultural information and mutual understanding through courageous conversations and expressive art-making.
Ujamaa Collective in our new location, in Suite 103, will offer:
- A large Maker Space for art and experiential learning opportunities in creative cooperative business development
- A petite Fair Trade retail space + Expanded e-commerce to serve makers and customers from across the country and globe
- A relaxing visitor’s lounge area
- Space rental for home-based makers working on special projects
- A unique event space
- A calendar of programming for youth and adults
Our last open day in our current space will be Friday, February 23, 2018 and we plan to re-open doors in our new location with new hours by March 12. Please stay tuned to our social media to catch updates on our moving and space-design progress! We’ll also plan a big Re-Grand Opening and invite everyone to check us out!
Thank you so much for all your support for the past decade and here’s to the start of the next chapter!
LaKeisha Wolf, Executive Director
Board and Staff of Ujamaa Collective