Kerry Glanfield is the founder and creative force behind Nyumbani Design, a Tanzanian-based jewellery brand that creates simple-yet-distinctive, architecturally inspired jewellery created from a variety of indigenous Tanzanian trees. 

Kerry graduated from the University of the West of England in 2005 with a degree in fashion and textiles; and went on to work in production and development for high-end fashion designers in London. One particular role, at London-based German designer Markus Lupfer, provided her with invaluable experience working with smaller companies and a solid understanding of the importance of creating high quality commercial design at affordable price points. 

Kerry first visited Tanzania in 2009 and was instantly drawn to the culture and colours. Sensing an opportunity for a new challenge in a developing country, she moved to Dar es Salaam in 2010 and began working in the retail industry, collaborating with local artists and designers. 

Whilst wooden sculptures are commonplace in Tanzania, Kerry noted a gap in the market for carving indigenous woods in a more contemporary fashion. She started working with local artisans, experimenting with wood, a material she hadn’t explored before. She created wearable pieces of art for herself and, fuelled by the response she received in both Tanzania and abroad, she continued to experiment and develop, using the structure and colour of locally sourced trees to inspire her. The business grew organically and she launched her label in 2012.

Kerry loves to travel, and draws inspiration from her surroundings, both in architectural form and from natural landscapes. “The art of travel allows me to look at commonplace things in a creative way,” she says. The enchanting Venetian canals, hidden walkways and storied streets discovered on a trip to Venice influenced the seafaring shapes and structures in her Nautical Passages collection.

Once Kerry has a theme for a collection she researches imagery that reflects the overall feeling; she spends quiet afternoons working alone, sketching her ideas.

The design process starts with woods that are indigenous to Tanzania. Kerry partners with environmental and conservation organisations, Trees for the Future and Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative; and, as the trees are sourced locally, she generally has an idea as to which woods she will work with each season. Depending on the theme for the collection, she may also include an additional wood based on its colourings and markings. Each piece is then had-carved by local Tanzanian artisans from different sections of wood, making each slightly different and unique in colour. 

For every piece of Nyumbani Design jewellery sold, a seed will be planted to restore and support the plantation of indigenous trees for the future. This supports local communities to generate ethical, sustainable and long-lasting forest-based income by selling responsibly harvested FSC certified timber. As Kerry’s designs and your purchase helps support local communities, you’ll benefit from an extra feel-good factor to your purchase.