South Africa
Made with Love Responsible_Materials Social Responsibility
  • Founder

    Jodi Jade Smith & Rodrigo Salazar Castro

    Founded In



    South Africa

    Brand Story

    “Me (Jodi) from South Africa and my partner Rodrigo from Mexico, met in India, two travellers tired of mainstream society, looking for another way of living. A life where we could be free to make our own choices about the way we wanted to live.
    We combined our skills and cultures, and began to travel the world together, gaining experience in handcrafts and being greatly inspired by our travels.
    Nomadic living was the only thing that made sense to us, so we began by selling jewellery on the streets around the world as jewellery making was a way we could sustain our passion for travel and live a more connected life.
    We sourced crystals, gemstones and materials along our travels and carried everything we owned in our backpacks, selling in every country we arrived at. Makembaboutique was born on the road.
    We continue to choose a nomadic lifestyle and have been on the road, living off our handcrafts for the last ten years. We conceived a child along the way and I think that was when the business really started to grow and evolve. We needed to become more organised, we needed a base, a workshop, a place where we could expand on our creativity, a place to send shipments from.
    We began working with a small team of tailors in India and Africa, helping us to grow our business in a fair trade manner whilst supporting and empowering these local entrepreneurs.
    For the past year we have been living in Africa, greatly influenced by African traditions, cultures and arts. We have now opened our first shop in South Africa and have been selling at festivals around the world for over eight years.
    Our brand expanded from solely jewellery making to clothing and leather goods. Travelling allows us to continuously encounter magic moments, beautiful tribes, traditions, materials and jewellery from around the world. Travel ignites our inspiration and this is what we wish to preserve and share with you. Makembaboutique, a story of freedom.” (Jodi & Rodrigo)

    Purpose & Mission

    “Nomadic living has exposed us to a myriad of handcrafts, ancient traditions and techniques from around the world. We take immense pride in the individuality of each piece we create or curate. The collections of unique artisanal accessories and apparel have an eclectic nomadic spirit, merging traditional tribal designs and materials into new age designs, whilst supporting indigenous tribes and artisans worldwide.
    Our hope is that when you wear one of our items, you can deeply connect to the nomadic culture that each piece was born from. By creating and living this way we feel we are contributing to a more sustainable life via slow production and a great responsibility for social and environmental standards.
    In these times it is a natural evolution for businesses to have an online presence, and by moving in this direction we wish to maintain our core values of sustainability, fair trade, love and passion.
    Our aim is to be able to use 100% organic, sustainable fabrics in the near future. Right now a big portion of our clothing production is going in that direction, however affordability is still an obstacle.” (Jodi & Rodrigo)

  • Location of Creation or Assembly

    Cape Town, South Africa


    “All our materials are sourced around the world — from the great Indian deserts of Rajasthan to traditional trade markets in Africa, from wandering gypsies riding on camel’s backs, to Mexican traders on cobbled stone streets, from the top of the Andes mountains in Peru, to ancient Balinese villages surrounded by rice fields. Each piece carries with it such rich history and culture.

    Natural dyes are used for all of our clothes. We have a close relationship with the dye master and each year we learn more and more about the process which helps us identify where we can grow and become more environmentally responsible for everything we create, including our waste.

    Our aim is to move to 100% organic, sustainable fabrics. Right now a big part of our production incorporates natural fabrics, especially all of our handmade fabrics.” (Jodi & Rodrigo)


    “We use eco-friendly packaging for all of our products. Each creation is carefully gift-wrapped with reusable bags made from 100% cotton or with recycled brown carton paper, stamped with an eco-friendly stamp.
    Often when our products are shipped they are tightly packed in plastic bags. Our solution is to create eco bricks from all our plastic use, thus creating reusable, environment friendly building blocks, which can be used for building eco-friendly structures.

    At the moment, all of our online orders are sent from South Africa, using either private or local couriers.” (Jodi & Rodrigo)

    Method of Creation

    “We source and collect gemstones and crystals from our travels around the world, combining these natural materials with ancient pre-Columbian and Aztec styles of jewellery making techniques. Our main materials are silver, wire work, filigram, wire weaving, brass and macramé.
    We are able to create jewellery from wherever we are, however for the past year we have had a workshop in our home in South Africa where we create our jewellery production.

    Our clothing range preserves the art of traditional tailors, craftsmanship and textiles while supporting local small scale artisans in India. Our production consists of eight local artisans. India is like a second home to us, it is a great place of inspiration both personally and for the business. We are honoured to support a small family in Rajasthan. Together we design and create items made from the fabric we source at a local textile market in India. Tradesmen from Mali supply us with the mudcloth featured in our clothing range, sourced in West Africa. Our designs pay homage to traditional textiles.
    Our clothing range focuses on natural fibres, hand loomed cottons, pieces featuring handmade mudcloth details and hand block prints. Catering to the appreciator of slow fashion, and lovers of tribal art.

    Our range of handmade leather is designed and handmade by our partner Alicia Boshoff in South Africa. Alicia, a well known and respected designer has been working in the film industry for over 10 years refining her outstanding leather skills. Her slow-made leather range has been featured in films such as Madmax and Game of Thrones. We are proud to combine our range with such an incredible artist.
    All the leather is sustainably sourced in South Africa, all hand-stitched and finished off with laser machines, featuring African themed shamanic animal designs, steampunk and sacred geometry symbology.

    Our supply chain is designed around our nomadic lifestyle, perhaps one day we will be able to move our entire production to one place, however at this point in time it is not clear as to how long we will stay in South Africa.” (Jodi & Rodrigo)

    Use & Maintenance

    “A lot of love and care has gone into the making of these creations, the same amount of love and care should be given when taking care of them.

    All clothes are made with traditional tribal fabrics that we have sourced throughout Africa, making these creations and unique materials very special. Extra love needs to be used when washing them! Handwash cold, hang up to dry in shaded areas.

    All macramé is waterproof and can be used in the shower and the ocean, the colour will not fade and the stone is super safe with a tight macramé weaving technique - no glue is used.

    All pieces made with crystals need to be taken care of. They are fragile as this is the nature of the material, and this is what we love about them.

    For the shiny look, polish with brass polish. Lemon can also do the trick.

    Just like skin and other fabrics, when leather gets wet and then heated right away, it can shrink and dry out too quickly. Rather, let it dry naturally, even if it takes a couple of days. In general, it is best to keep leather out of direct sunlight when storing.” (Jodi & Rodrigo)