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 quickly 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 struck 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 to the production of works is done in Madagascar. Even Ampiana’s logo is based on the three colors of the Madagascar national flag. But Ampiana isn’t just another maker; they’re also trying to give back to their local community. 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.