Something Beautiful from Ethiopia

Something Beautiful from Ethiopia

On the popular shopping site of Magnolia Market - skyrocketed to fame by the hit HGTV show "Fixer Upper" - a photo of an elegant leather tote hanging on a rustic wooden ladder draws shoppers' eyes to what is known as "Joanna's Favorite Bag." Joanna, of course, refers to Magnolia founder and design superstar/TV host Joanna Gaines, but the story of just how the simple tote became her go-to bag - and how it found its way onto the arms of countless Western shoppers - begins in a rather unexpected location: Ethiopia.

It all started when, on returning to Ethiopia after living in the U.S. in 2004, Yamerote "Yami" Mengistu sought a way to incentivize Ethiopia's educated but unemployed women to stay in their country. Her...

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