Our Story

 

Lesley Magnay

Founder, Ankole

I went travelling to Uganda aged 21 and stayed – how could I not.  This beautiful country with its diverse scenery and the friendliest people imaginable captured my heart. Now many years later, a bit more baggage in terms of 3 children and a husband  ‘The Pearl of Africa’ remains the place I am most at home.

On our many safari’s ‘up-country’ we were very used to seeing the magnificent  Ankole cows on the side of the road, being herded by young boys, but what of the bi-product of this animal?  The horns I knew were normally burnt as waste – surely this was a wonderful sustainable material that could be recycled?

Several years on, and I am now working directly with a local family run business and a team of talented artisans.  We have designed and produced this amazing range of accessories – straight from the Equator to your home.

At Ankole, our team works hard to remain loyal to Uganda, and strives to support small Ugandan businesses. We source locally where we can; our packaging is made by a small company on the Entebbe Road employing predominantly women, and our wooden boxes are made by someone known to us since childhood.

We are proud of what we produce and we thank you for your interest in these truly ethical and individual products and hope that you will now enjoy the beauty of the Inyambo – the cow with the long, long horns.

 

Emma Richardson

Partner, Ankole

After a chance conversation with Lesley and her husband at an event we both attended in 2021, a few stories of our shared love of Africa later and I am the latest addition to the Ankole team! 

Having already been a customer of Lesley's, I already had a strong love for the brand and Lesley's story. I was always so impressed with the work that Lesley puts back in to help the local community at her home in Kampala. (You can read more about this on our Instagram @ankole.co.uk) so when the opportunity arose to be involved with her brand, I jumped at the chance. 

Having just visited Kampala, I have met all of the incredibly talented artisans who create all of our products, packaging and carrier bags. It was wonderful seeing where each of their small businesses are based and even better to get to know them and the members of their teams, all of which are good friends of Lesley. Seeing how quite so many people are supported by our own small business was a lovely experience. 

In the UK I am based in Milton, Somerset which is now where our HQ is based and where all of our wholesale and online orders are dispatched from. I will be a new face to many of our customers at this years events and very much look forward to meeting more of you! If you are a new customer, I hope that you fall in love with these exclusive collections of products and the brand the same way that I did.

Emma x