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Our Story

What started as a small journey with one suitcase of jewelry...traveling from Nairobi to Dubai & London...has now voyaged to the US. 

Growing up in Kenya, designer Elizabeth Glaysher, embraced the African culture from an early age. Speaking fluent Swahili and armed with a keen creative flair, Elizabeth forged a successful career in costume design for renowned films such as Out of Africa, Constant Gardner and Gorillas in the Mist filmed in Kenya. During this time she created a bond with many of the artisans who are still today a part of the AYAM family.

After sometime, life led Elizabeth and her young family to Dubai. Longing for Africa, she started designing jewelry with the artisans makers who became family through the years. Not only to share the tradition and beauty of African culture, but to help establish a sustainable and reliable living for the local artisans, traders and merchants she worked with for so many years.

Elizabeth’s mother still lives in the family farmhouse in Nairobi, which takes her back and forth, allowing precious time in Kenya sourcing materials and working on new designs with the team.

The journey continues …and the suitcases travel to America!

With a desire to expand further, Elizabeth teamed up with American partner, Sharon Khaldi.

Both entrepreneurial and nomadic souls, when Elizabeth and Sharon met in Dubai they instantly connected through their shared passion for Africa, and firmly held beliefs of supporting artisans and handicraft initiatives throughout world.

No stranger to the fashion industry, prior to moving to Dubai, Sharon was a pioneer in the emerging Deep Ellum scene as partner of cutting-edge boutiques Rancho & Casa Loco in Dallas and London based Western Styling.  After 20 years working in the fast-paced UAE events industry, she ventured back to America to launch AYAM Africa US.

Together they headed to Nairobi to introduce Sharon to the AYAM family of makers, create new designs and continue the journey with the amazingly talented artisans in Nairobi, who are the driving force behind the brand. Being able to bring their creations to another level empowers them to make a sustainable living. Your purchase directly helps to develop this reliable source of income.