Register to vote // Black Lives Matter // A note about covid-19// Free us and canada shipping for orders $95+


Weekly Newsletter May 4, 2020

Celebrating Moms Everywhere!

We love how intergenerational our dresses have become, and it's so inspiring to see families represented in the Zuri sisterhood (we have four generations of one family in Zuri in the photos above - clockwise from the top left, Inja, Nia, Blanche, Besia, Robin, Robin, Ginger, Julie, Kim, Jamie, DeeDee, James)! This Mother's Day, while we may not be able to spend time in person with our mothers, we encourage you to take some time and reach out to the women in your lives, mothers in the broadest sense, and say thank you!

WHAT WE'RE READING // The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Author Isabel Wilkerson was the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism and the first African American to win for individual reporting. In her debut book, Wilkerson maps the epic journey of six million people who left the South and changed America through the stories of three remarkable individuals. With powerful specificity and sweeping breadth, this is essential reading for understanding the history of this country.








WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // NATAL by Martina Abrahams Ilunga and Gabrielle Horton

NATAL is a podcast about having a baby while black in the US. Black mothers are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes compared to white mothers, and 60% of those deaths are preventable. In the first episode, host Gabrielle Horton talks with a new mother about her ending up in the emergency room two weeks after giving birth, alone and ignored, fighting for her life.




WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Amara Touré & L'Orchestra Massako

Amara Touré, a legendary Guinean singer and percussionist, rose to fame in Dakar in the 1950's and 60's. Originally a member of the Star Band de Dakar, he was part of the Afro-Cuban movement that defined the mid-century music scene in Senegal.  This album is one of my all-time favorites; energizing, rhythmic, and soulful, it will fill your room (and your mind) with joy.

Read more →

Weekly Newsletter Apr 28, 2020

Bits & Bobs & Odds & Ends

Those of you who have stopped in our stores know that we have lots of fun accessories made by different cooperatives that we work with across Kenya. We've finally added most of them on our site (we'll be adding a few more through the week), so if your pup is in need of a pop of beaded brilliance, or you're in spring cleaning mode and want to brighten up your home with colorful organizers, we've got beautiful collars, handwoven baskets and lots more on the site now!

Meet the weavers! We work with this wonderful group of ladies in central Kenya to make our baskets. This tradition of weaving is passed down through generations and is mostly done by the elders. We're really proud of Victoria, Rebecca, and the entire team for producing such a special collection for us this past year.



Update from Kenya // 15,000 and counting!

Thanks to your support through donations and purchases, we've produced and donated 15,000 masks to Penda Health and Jacaranda Health. Penda has distributed masks in Nairobi to their staff at their 13 medical centers and support office, their operational partners including drivers who transport their medical staff, community partners including chiefs and police stations, and to their community members. (Hello to Beatrice, Grace and Mr. Kamau in the photos above!) Jacaranda has distributed the masks in their maternity hospital and to their partner clinics outside of Nairobi.

We are continuing to produce masks that we will donate to these two organizations, and if you would like to contribute, send us an email!

Let's sew together! // Homemade how-to

Join us in making masks! Inja and Dee Dee from our SF team have created wonderful tutorials on how to make a mask at home by hand or with a sewing machine! As always, share your pics with us! We love this photo from Noorallah of the masks she made for herself and her family!




WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Intersectionality Matters with Kimberlé Crenshaw

In this podcast, Kimberlé Crenshaw discusses issues through an intersectional lens, investigating how race, gender and class overlap during her conversations with leading thinkers. We'd particularly recommend listening to episode 6 where she traces the relationship between slavery and the continued systemic oppression of black women today.


Chiwoniso was a beautiful singer, but what really stands out about her music is her use of the mbira (an african thumb piano that, until the late 60's, was played exclusively by men.) This album is a classic example of her work--crisp, pure and electrifying. 

WHAT WE'RE READING // Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Jende and Neni recently immigrated to the US from Cameroon, and they're struggling to make ends meet when Jende gets an opportunity that transforms their lives working for a wealthy family. The financial crisis hits and this new life is thrown into flux as we see varying perspectives and reactions from Jende and Neni and their employers to their world on the edge of financial ruin. Beautifully written and deeply felt, Mbue's depiction of inequality in America is relevant still today.
Read more →

Weekly Newsletter Mar 31, 2020

Let's sew together!

We know that many of you in our Zuri community are sewers, and we'd love to mobilize all of you to join us in making masks! Dee Dee, from our SF team, is a prodigious quilter and sewing instructor, and she has put together an instructional how-to for all of us (experienced and newbies alike), that we hope you will use and share!

As a reminder, these are NOT a substitute for PPE, but can help while hospitals are suffering from severe shortages. To find out where to donate your masks, we suggest visiting this website, which lists donation sites around the country: Additionally, we recommend calling your local hospital to find out if they're accepting donations and have specific requests!

It's always more motivating to do things together, so please send us photos of your masks or your process, so we can share them! Please also share tips and suggestions as you work through the patterns so we can pass them along!

A note from Kenya:

We are starting mask production to distribute free of charge in Kenya to public hospitals and clinics, and we're planning to begin distribution next week. We are taking precautions to ensure the health and safety of our production team as we do this work. We've been consulting with multiple doctors, including an infectious diseases doctor (and Zuri-wearer!) as we develop the mask, so big thanks to all of them!

If you'd like to contribute to this effort, please email us!

Some of you have asked, and while we don't have fabric in the US that we can contribute to this effort since our all our fabric is in Kenya, we take immense inspiration from Nicole, who used extra fabric from her dresses to make these masks!






How to make a mask at home

Pattern and instructions by Dolores Presley

Materials needed:

2 pieces 100% cotton fabric, 7”x9”

2 Pieces 100% cotton fabric, 1-1/4”x5”

2 pieces 100% cotton fabric, 1-1/4”x 40”

Ruler, pins, scissors, sewing machine, thread

How to check your fabric: fold into two layers. You should not be able to see through it, and you should be able to breathe through it.

Lay 7”x9” fabrics wrong sides together. Sew around edges at ¼”.







Create pleats on both sides of 7” edges by placing pins 1-1/2” from top, 2-1/2” from top, 3” from top, 4” from top, 4-1/2” from top, and 5-1/2” from top.  This should leave 1-1/2” on bottom.

Bring first pin to second to create pleat. Repeat with third and fourth, fifth and sixth.






Sew around previous stitching to secure pleats.









With the two 1-1/4”x5” pieces, bind the short sides. You can make double seam binding by evenly folding the strips length wise and pressing, and then folding length wise again. This will make the mask reversible. Or, you can double the strip length wise and sew the back piece (open seam) on first and top stitching the front.

After sewing, trim binding to match mask.

With the two 1-1/4”x40” pieces, you can use the method above to make double seam binding or just double the strip and sew.

With either method, mark the center of the mask and the center of your strip. Match both centers and sew one side onto the mask.


Fold the strip over the top and bottom, and top stitch not only the mask but the entire strip. Before sewing, finish the end of the strip by opening it and turning under ¼”, then folding it back to match the strip.







Feedback or suggestions? Let us know!

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // The Stoop by Leila Day and Hana Baba

Hosts Leila and Hana share stories from across the black diaspora in this podcast, highlighting ideas that are often left out of conversations about blackness. In their most recent episode they talk about navigating power as black women journalists, with veteran journalists and also share their own experiences from the field.




WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Super Mama Djombo

Many of us are home right now, and I think we could all use a little space, a little encouragement, and a LOT of Super Mama Djombo. This album will make you bounce--I've been listening to it with headphones to create my own space--it works! So grab your earbuds, ignore everyone else, and great ready to feel GOOD.




WHAT WE'RE READING // The Edge of the World -- A Short Story by Souvankham Thammavongsa

This is a story about feeling alone; it's about love, loss, the little moments that stay with us, and how those moments color a memory. It's a cathartic exercise that only takes about 5 minutes to read, and will leave you feeling all the things.  

P.S. Call your mother.

Read more →

Weekly Newsletter Mar 24, 2020

UPCOMING EVENTS // INSTAGRAM LIVE // Artist talk with Dennis Muraguri

Join us on Thursday at 1pm EST for an artist talk with Dennis Muraguri on Instagram Live! You may remember Dennis from the our collaboration to make our Ma3 print, and we're looking forward to talking with him!

Not sure what Instagram Live is? Just sign into Instagram and you'll see a circle at the top where the Stories are that says Live, click on that and you'll be able to watch our live conversation!

PS If you have specific questions you want us to ask Dennis, please email or DM us!

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Simone Leigh Artist Talk

Produced by the Guggenheim Museum, this video is a wonderful introduction to Simone Leigh and her artistic process!


WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Recording Artists: Betye Saar Working My Mojo

This podcast was produced by the Getty Museum in LA, and features conversations with and about six artists and their relationships with feminism. We especially recommend this episode on Betye Saar, which features interviews with the artist when she was in her late forties. It's incredible to hear about her evolution as an artist, and how the feminist and vivil rights movements around her impacted her work.




WHAT WE'RE READING // What Do We Want History to Do to Us? : Zadie Smith on Kara Walker

All I can say is read this! Here's an excerpt:

"What might I want history to do to me? I might want history to reduce my historical antagonist—and increase me. I might ask it to urgently remind me why I’m moving forward, away from history. Or speak to me always of our intimate relation, of the ties that bind—and indelibly link—my history and me. I could want history to tell me that my future is tied to my past, whether I want it to be or not. Or ask it to promise me that my future will be revenge upon my past. Or warn me that the past is not erased by this revenge. Or suggest to me that brutal oppression implicates the oppressors, who are in turn brutalized by their own acts of oppression."



WHAT ELSE WE'RE DOING // New Orleans Safety and Freedom Fund

If you're able and looking for organizations that you can contribute to during this pandemic, we encourage you to consider the New Orleans Safety and Freedom Fund, which helps post bail for individuals who are awaiting trial, but can't afford the cost and must otherwise wait in jail. Especially as this virus spreads, we can make a difference in reducing the number of people who will be infected unnecessarily and help make New Orleans a safer, more equitable place for everyone.

If you'd like to learn more about bail reform, we recommend listening to this!

Read more →

Weekly Newsletter Mar 16, 2020

An update from our stores

We have decided for the health and safety of our team and our customers to temporarily close our stores on Fillmore and Bleecker through the end of the month. We will continue to pay our team for all their scheduled hours during this time. We plan to continue shipping online orders for the foreseeable future, but our shipping schedule will be reduced to weekly, instead of daily, meaning that your orders will take a little longer to reach you!

We're feeling especially mindful of those around us who aren't able to social distance, work from home or stock a pantry, so we just want to remind everyone to look out for those in your community, especially the most vulnerable. Whether that's donating to your local food bank, leaving a thoughtful note for your neighbor, or calling someone who's been on your mind, please, let's remember to stay connected!

Let's do something together: Zuri CHALLENGE and Office Hours!

Many of us are feeling isolated and anxious, so we thought, what can we do to stay connected and also be active? 

And sooooo!! 

We're going to be issuing a DAILY CHALLENGE and we hope that you'll join us! The only rule for the challenge is that it has to involve things that you already have around you and it has to bring us together. 

Daily from 1pm to 2pm EST, we'll have Office Hours, where members of our team will be on Instagram Live and we'll announce the challenge, and also be available to you to talk! Plus, if there's someone from our team that you've wanted to meet, now's your chance! 

Our first challenge kicks off TOMORROW, so join Ashleigh and me on Instagram Live at 1pm EST and let's hang out!! :)

PS here's a hint for our first challenge...









The Zomba Prison Project is a compilation of songs that are composed and recorded by prisoners held at the Zomba Central maximum-security Prison in Malawi. Mostly sung in the Chichewa language, these songs will absolutely speak to you. Proceeds from these records go toward the legal representation of several of the musicians, and since the albums have come out, three of the female prisoners featured have had their cases reviewed and been released. This is a mix we made of a few favorite tracks from both released albums. Feel free to pass it on!

WHAT WE'RE READING // Ordinary Light by Tracy K. Smith

We're huge fans of Tracy K. Smith, and it's not just because she wears Zuris or because she was the US Poet Laureate (though those are pretty major reasons!)! She's a writer who truly speaks to our time, the way that she develops her own understanding of self and identity is so deeply resonant in this stunning memoir, and we can't recommend it enough!

PS: we're huge fans of the public library (and our lending library, where we have this book!), but we also want to remind everyone that if you can, please support your local independent bookstores! In times like these especially, small businesses are really vulnerable, and your support makes a difference for them and your community!

WHAT WE'RE STREAMING // Call Your Girlfriend by Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow

Call your girlfriend! Many of us can relate to these conversations between best friends Aminatou and Ann, and while many of us are at home or feeling disconnected, or have already talked to all our girlfriends and still want to keep talking, listening to this podcast makes you feel like you're right there with them, hanging out and talking about what's new, interesting and important in our world today.



WHAT WE'RE COOKING // Bryant Terry's Warm Butter Bean Salad with Roasted Bell Peppers

Bay Area chef Bryant Terry just published a fabulous cookbook called Vegetable Kingdom, and we thought that this would be a great recipe to share, since it's super delicious, and stars dry beans, which many of us have at home! If you don't have the fresh veggies in the recipe in your kitchen, don't worry! You can easily substitute zucchini for the peppers (or even smoke-y eggplant! or canned peppers), and if you don't have arugula, feel free to use any fresh herbs you may have, or if you have a jar of pesto, olive tapenade or sun-dried tomatoes, throw those on top instead! We're big proponents of taking a recipe and making it work for you based on what you have on hand! Eat this dish on its own or as a side or toss it with pasta! Enjoy!

Read more →