YEVU in a Nutshell
YEVU is a business with purpose. We are proudly Ghanaian made and co-owned. We are female owned, led and majority employed. And we believe in the transformative impact of economically empowered women.
Founded in 2012, YEVU has spent more than a decade creating fair and sustainable jobs in Ghana with, and for, women. Jobs at YEVU pay a livable wage, provide full-time and dignified work, guarantee health care and social security, and build the capacity and technical skill set of our team. YEVU makes vibrant, high quality and ethical apparel that sells to customers globally whilst having a positive social impact.
We own and operate a small factory in Accra, Ghana, in partnership with sister group YEVU Foundation. In-house production means full oversight, accountability and greater transparency over our supply chain. The YEVU Foundation is an ethical clothing manufacturer (established by YEVU Clothing) with a highly skilled workforce that makes clothing for brands looking to produce ethically on the African continent.
Our story begins with a chance meeting between now Founders Anna Robertson (left) and Felicia Adwubi (right) in 2012 in Ghana's capital, Accra. At the time, Australian born Anna was working in the aid and development sector in Ghana, and Ghanaian born Felicia, was undertaking her apprenticeship course in sewing.
Working out of a large and underutilized workshop, Anna met Felicia and several other female sewing apprentices who were making very little income creating bespoke wax printed garments for a local market. The work coming in from the immediate community was infrequent and poorly paid.
During this initial year in Ghana, Anna formed relationships with Felicia and the group of seamstresses - stories were exchanged and ideas were dreamt up in response to the very real challenges that women like Felicia face in Ghana. They are systemically financially excluded, often without access to formal bank accounts, have limited access to capital and very little financial security. Many are single mothers and desire to support thier families better and be financially independent.
These are the realities of the informal sector, where almost 70% of women in Ghana earn their livelihood. It’s a precarious and often dangerous place to work, and is characterised by unsafe and unhealthy working conditions, low and irregular incomes and long working hours, and yet it makes up 80% of all economic activity in Ghana.
With access to bigger and wealthier markets through Anna’s privileged background and place of birth, the idea to create and sell garments initially to the Australian consumer was conceived, and YEVU Clothing was born.
Ghana's rich history of textiles and wax print propelled this idea into a reality, with the wholesale markets of Accra overflowing with vibrant and culturally unique wax prints available at scale, and a small but viable textile industry to support YEVU's growth. This context provided the perfect backdrop for YEVU’s first collection of unisex Summer wear released through YEVU's first pop up store in Sydney's Surry Hills in 2013.
Ten years since Anna and Felicia's initial chance meeting, they collectively own and operate YEVU as business partners. Anna owns and operates the Australian arm of YEVU (YEVU Clothing), and Felicia owns and operates the Ghanaian arm of YEVU (The YEVU Foundation). YEVU is setup as a hybrid social enterprise, working in partnership with a joint mission:
To economically empower those that are systematically excluded through creating inclusive, dignified and sustainable employment opportunities.
What We Do
YEVU makes fabulous clothes in vibrant and locally sourced Ghanaian wax prints. We aim to look good, feel good and do good!
Create dignified jobs
In 2023 we employ a team of 27 staff in Ghana in permanent and full time jobs at the YEVU Foundation. Over 80% of this workforce is female, and the majority are single mothers. Everyone in our team was formerly unemployed or underemployed in Ghana's informal sector.
Pay fair wages
YEVU pays above urban Ghana's living wage benchmark, meaning that our staff are able to provide for an entire household on their sole income. We know that on this wage, our staff are earning 4-6 times what they were earning before joining YEVU. Providing a women with a liveable income means that they can become breadwinners and will spend on improving the lives of their families. Education, especially for the daughters of these women, goes a long way in breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
We provide up to 200 hours of on the job training and capacity building a year to ensure our staff feel confident and can meet the standards of an international market. With these skills, our team cut, sew and ship around 10,000 units of YEVU Clothing per year to customers all over the world.
Partner for impact
In Australia, we aim to economically empower through our longstanding fulfillment and dispatch partnership with Avenue. Avenue is a coworking space and NDIS provider redefining day programs for people of all abilities. Avenue team members fulfill up to 50 orders a day, shipping over 7600 garments annually, creating meaningful work opportunities for more than 33 people living with disability in Australia.