The Story of Anin
Our Day at Anin Embroidery starts by walking into the buzzing workshop to a song and a smile that gives us such a feeling of joy. Sometimes it feels like you want to sit down behind a sewing machine and join the buzz, but not all hands were made for sewing. Even more intricate is the hand embroidery that these Namibian Women do so effortlessly at Anin Embroidery. We would then quickly gather to sing a Typical Nama song and welcome our Creator into our day with a prayer.
What does Anin mean?
Anin is not just a name; it is a Nama/Damara word that translates to “many birds”. The Nama People are a member of the Khoikhoi people of Namibia and live in the southern parts of the vast Namibia.
How it began
Like most good things in Namibia, the Anin project grew from humble beginnings. As the very creative, hip, city girl wife of a successful Swakara Farmer, Heidi von Hase was thrown into the deep end of a new reality with the man she loves. Activities such as milking the cow, processing meat and growing vegetables for the table were a step away from the supermarket and other city comforts. The Family was expanding with 4 girls in their toddler and early school years. Heidi’s creativity however was not about to fade.
She was faced by the everyday struggles and poverty of people, living in tough conditions in the neighbouring village of Hoachanas. Heidi was able to recognize and appreciate the impoverished women’s talent for hand embroidery, a skill learned from the missionary women in the early 1900’s and passed down for generations. In seeking shelter from the blazing Namibian sun, the first embroiderer’s meetings took place in the shade of a camelthorn tree. This was where Heidi von Hase established Anin in 1987.
The Anin Style
Initially Heidi supplied textiles and threads while providing creative direction. The motifs chosen by the women mostly depicted the many birds of Anin itself and familiar scenes from village life in Hoachanas. One could imagine children herding goats and donkeys while the old and wise enjoy each other’s company in front of their homes as mom is chasing the chickens out of the house. This set against a backdrop of makeshift houses and dusty yards.
Ready-cut pieces of fabric strips and threads were given to the embroidering ladies to work with. These strips were and are still today sewn onto the products and form both the functional and aesthetic appeal that is the core feature of the ‘Anin style’.
through Hand Embroidery
Finding this practical way to create a functional craft by sewing up tablecloths, cushion covers and later bedlinen, Heidi took the women’s skills to another level. Visitors came from far and wide to see the craftsmanship of incredibly gifted hands and to purchase a souvenir for friends and family. Soon the Anin Project provided an income for many mothers and their families in Hoachanas.
Using only the highest quality fabrics to embroider onto, the Anin products were soon to be recognized as a hallmark for Namibian creativity and quality, both locally and abroad. The “father of the Namibian nation” Dr. Sam Nujoma also acknowledged the efforts of Anin in a time that was especially important for Namibia’s growth.
The business has since relocated to Namibia’s capital Windhoek, still working with a loyal group of skilled women from the village of Hoachanas. As a high demand and fast turnaround time required more machine embroidered goods to be offered, the sales of hand embroidered goods declined.
However, after more than 30 years of being in business, the focus of Anin has been realigned to the people and the skills that they offer, and we are delighted to be working with the women of Hoachanas once again.
Anin Retail outlet and Online Shopping
Through the years Anin established many retail outlets throughout Namibia and supplied its goods to the world through international fairs and the tourism industry. Currently Anin is situated in Windhoek at the Namibia Crafts Centre. Our products are also stocked at Tumbleweed in the Trendhaus in Swakopmund and online in Europe on the Namshop store.
a Family Business
for the people
Today Anin is headed up by Heidi von Hase’s daughter Anabel Loubser. “For me, this is more than a family business, it’s about real people working, laughing and doing life together”. Like us our employees have their own families and everyday challenges which we support as they support us.
In this ‘House of many Birds’ humility, mutual respect and love are critical values and keep us accountable to one another and our clients. We continually strive to run Anin in a manner that will uplift even more mothers and families in our beloved Namibia.
“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained” CS Lewis
What clients say about Anin Embroidery
We find it highly rewarding when our clients share their stories – such as:
Your bedlinen is such fantastic quality I need to get one for my kids as a wedding present.
After 12 years of sleeping in it, I was so sad when I hung my duvet cover on the washing line and it tore right down the middle…
…luckily a trip to our retail store was the perfect solution to another 12 years of undisturbed sleep. Among many, our clients have become family and enjoy our homeware products in Namibia, Germany, the UK, USA, New Zealand and Norway to name a few.
From its humble beginnings Anin has evolved to becoming a leading competitor in both retail and wholesale Namibian handmade homeware products, such as bedlinen, scatter cushions and tableware.