Founded in Madagascar by Mr. and Mrs. Yoshida, Ampiana is a human-centric studio focused mostly on selling bags. When Mr. and Mrs. Yoshida were students, they were actively involved in NGO and NPO organizations. They later settled in Madagascar after Mr. Yoshida was dispatched to the country by his company to assist in building a local harbor.
For the Yoshidas, every day in Madagascar was an adventure. Each day was spent on the street, up close with the local culture. They were struck by the use of basket bags by locals as an everyday item. In Japan, basket bags are typically used in the summertime as a fashion item. But in Madagascar, they’re used for all sorts of things – locals will buy fish, meat, or vegetables at the bazaar, and carry them in their basket bag.
The Yoshidas quickly fell in love with Madagascar, and they wanted to do something related to the local culture. They founded Ampiana and started making their very favorite basket bag – the first item that really wowed them when they arrived in the country. It filled them with warmth, and it was so functional, too – re-usable every day, and yet the material was sustainable and recyclable.
At Ampiana, everything from the sourcing of materials (Raffia) to the production of works is done in Madagascar. Even Ampiana’s logo is based on the three colors of the Madagascar national flag.
Today, we'd like to showcase a few of Ampiana's most popular items.
Marché Bag - Sobika
In the Madagascar language, "Sobika" means basket. The Marché Bag - Sobika represents the reason the Yoshidas started Ampiana - the first culture shock they experienced after moving.
Comes in two sizes, large and medium.
Large size is 36cm x 28cm and 22.5cm deep (not including the handles), storing six 1.5L bottles:
Medium size is 33.5cm x 25cm, with a 19cm depth (not including the handles). It can store four 1.5L bottles:
Whether you use it as a fashion item or as an everyday groceries bag, the Marche Bag - Sobika is both convenient and fashionable. Most importantly - it's very durable, and crafted with sustainable materials.
Inner bag - Soga
100% cotton bag. Even while you're just carrying it casually on your arm, it's a fashion statement. Works well on its own, or as an inner bag for the Marché Bag - Sobika.
Sometimes, you don't want others to see what's in your bag. That's where the Inner Bag - Soga comes in. Place your items in the bag and tie up the top - it's both chic and private.
Not only does it protect your privacy; it also elevates the fashion level.
Paper Bag - Tsipika
"Tsipika" means line in the Madagascar language.
This bag leverages the concept of the paper bag frequently given at supermarkets. One of Ampiana's most popular items, and very durable, too - holds 10kg.
Whether you’re going to work or going to class, this paper bag is perfectly sized for books, a laptop, or bottles of water.
Pochette (M) - Posy
A small crossbody bag with an adjustable length. Features a closeable button inside the bag, meaning there’s no need to worry about things falling out or people seeing what’s inside.
But Ampiana isn’t just another maker; they’re also trying to give back to their local community. In fact, most of Ampiana’s artisans are deaf, and through the company, they are able to receive assistance with daily life or even medical expenses. The Yoshidas wanted to provide their artisans with a better life, so they founded a local NGO, HANDICRAFT MADA. In addition to providing help with expenses, this organization also supports a local school for the deaf and mute. In fact, part of the profits of every product Ampiana sells goes back to this group in order to support this community.
For more on Ampiana, Norm will do a new Meet an Artisan with the Yoshidas next month - stay tuned!
Interested in Ampiana Bags?
- Marché Bag (L) - Sobika
- Marché Bag (M) - Sobika
- Inner Bag - Soga
- Pochette (M) - Posy
- Paper Bag - Tsipika fr
Words by Yuwen W. and RP
Photo Credit : Ampiana