Big Blue Moma began in 2012 after a trip to Ghana where my partner Dominique was volunteering for six months.
I’m a graduate from the textiles department at Alberta College of Art + Design and was inspired by the beauty of Ghana's handicrafts. At first I thought that a simple import company would allow us to share what we had discovered, and help the people we had met there. That idea quickly evolved to include a basement art studio and a whole bunch of jewelry tools. The next thing I knew, I was drilling holes in driftwood, attaching antique trade beads and hauling my creations to shows across the country.
Our products are made in Canada, with the exception of the baskets. We travel to Ghana once or twice a year to visit artists’ homes or workshops. We get to know our trading partners because our dealings in Ghana are based on building long-term relationships. We feel this is the most effective way to positively impact the people we trade with.
We are often asked if we are “fair trade.” I prefer to describe Big Blue Moma as a “conscious and thoughtful company,” because we look closely at the impact of every decision we make, especially when trading in Ghana. We believe in paying fair market prices directly to the artists so they receive the maximum benefit from our business.
We also have fun! We enjoy meeting our customers and seeing their appreciation of our products. As an artist, I take great joy in making something that puts a smile on someone's face. It fills me with pride to share our love of Ghana and my passion for making things through our little company.
Karie Wylie & Dominique Dagenais
a.k.a. Big Blue Moma & Big Blue Popa