We had the good fortune of connecting with Isabel Ehrich and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Isabel, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I have a love for design and culture. Jabulani Creations is rooted in my admiration of Africa, it’s cultures, people and art. I wanted to be able to share stories of the artisans and their diverse cultural beauty as a way to connect the world and spread kindness. In the formation of my business, it was and still remains important to me that there is 100% transparency. Each collection of items is specially curated and authentically represents the traditional craftsmanship of the region from which it is sourced. By sourcing directly from the makers, my business helps provide fair trade wages and steady income to over 600 people and their families.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Growing up I always enjoyed traveling and exploring other cultures. I studied Marketing and International Business at the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa as a way to further my career opportunities. I spent more than half of my undergraduate career studying abroad, I wanted to expose myself to as much as I possibly could, including interning abroad to gain first-hand professional experience in the international market.
Since my graduation, I have worked full-time in the Healthcare IT field. I work directly with health systems, specifically their Emergency Departments, to create and design their electronic medical records. This work has allowed me to explore different parts of the country as well as travel internationally. I always knew that I liked my job but it was not until I read the book “The Alchemist”, that I finally put together the missing pieces in my career. It helped me figure out my true passion and purpose in life, and voila…sparking the idea for Jabulani Creations.
The COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown was the opportunity I needed to fulfill my dream of opening my own business. For the first time in years, I was home for more than a week and I was able to focus on developing a business plan. I am forever grateful that I was fortunate enough to create and sustain a business during the struggles of 2020.
Maintaining a demanding full-time position while running my own business presents unique challenges. Add to that the time change between here and Africa (8+ hours), you can imagine there were, and still are, many sleepless nights. But, when you are doing something you are truly passionate about, it makes it all worth it.
My brand provides a meaningful connection between authentic African artisans and our clients. We focus on eliminating the unknowns within the supply chain, while providing clients a clear view of the benefits their purchases make in the lives and communities of the artisans. The inspiration for our name, Jabulani, “pronounced Jah-boo-LAH-nee, meaning happiness and to rejoice,” is rooted in the African Zulu tribal language. I discovered this beautiful expression while visiting an elephant sanctuary during my first trip to Africa. Jabulani conveys the sentiment we aim to share with our clients, artisans and partners.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love hosting, having a good time, but mostly enjoying time with friends and family. When people come to the Western Slope, there is so much to do but to highlight a few of my favorites….
Dinner – Pêche in Palisade, the food is exquisite and the owners, Matt and Ashley, are fantastic!
Wine Tour – there are so many wonderful wineries, it’s hard to pick just a few. For sure TWP, a cozy South African-inspired retreat and winery. Edwin & Shari are so inviting and the experience is one-of-a-kind. I would then follow that up with several stops at other wineries – Colorado Vintner’s Collective, Mesa Park Vineyards, and Restoration Vineyards. If we felt like hitting all of them in one day, I would definitely use Pali Tours. A Taste of Palisade charcuterie board is a must, they are so yummy and make great snacks for a day of wine tasting.
Hang Out – Spoke & Vine Motel in Palisade has a super cool new outdoor patio that features a variety of food trucks and they have recently renovated to add a bar. Definitely a chill place to grab a bottle of wine or a margarita and chat with your friends.
Activities – Palisade Rim Trail hike, day trip to Moab, Colorado National Monument, Palisade Sunday Farmers Market – so many cool shops and great farm-to-market produce, and do not miss Main Street Grand Junction.
No trip is complete without going to McLean Farms for a soft-serve peach ice cream during The Season.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family – due to my family growing up overseas, they helped me develop an appreciation for the arts and traditions of other cultures. They have been a constant source of encouragement and I am immensely grateful for their support.
One Lady Studio Azizi Life