Our shop has a history that weaves through a rich tapestry of creative collaborations and experiments. It is the original boutique interior & gift shop in Kenya, founded in 1998 by the wildly creative Leslie Duckworth, who’s brave artistic expressions live on through the famous Blue Rhino Maps, board games; Kumiliki and The Safari Game to name a few. With many hats worn simultaneously, Leslie’s creativity spilled over into designing and building incredible, unique houses around the world. A one in a million kinda lady, but also our deeply loving and wonderful Mum.
Our gorgeous Mum passed away in August 2020, her absence is felt in every day. In the midst of the Covid Pandemic Blue Rhino was on it’s knees, and having lost the strength and inspiration of it’s matriarch it’s future seemed bleak. Determined not to have this original, creative, bustling story fade before our eyes, myself and my husband, took a deep breath, blindly rolled up our sleeves and decided to at least try and revive the spirit of Blue Rhino, in hindsight, perhaps the only antidote for our grief. For, what we discovered is that Blue Rhino is not just a retail shop, this creative hub helps feed many families, some of whom live hand to mouth, and were facing a terrifying, uncertain future, we owed it to them to try. With no prior experience we set out to continue Mum’s legacy and with the support of our fantastic team here we are today, providing income to 73 families and artisans all over East Africa. It has been the toughest yet most emotionally rewarding challenge of our lives. We are still and I am sure, forever will be learning. Our only wish is that Mum could see her creation go online, a subject we explored so often over a cup of tea under the garden croton trees, well Mama - we finally made it!
My creative cogs are constantly inspired by the Natural World and our surroundings which I get to explore through different product ideas, most of which come from my long rambling walks through the wilds of Mukima. Here, I am woken up everyday by George, the Egyptian Goose, singing, no… squawking from our chimney. In the evenings I watch a family of hares discreetly hop into the garden to dig up something they ought not too… the bee’s always busying through pollen offered by the diverse spray of colourful wild flowers along the paths. Needless to say, this sanctuary is an infinte source of wild inspiration.
The most rewarding part of our process at Blue Rhino is working with skilled artisans all over East Africa, these talented souls help translate our imaginations into reality, creating designs that are not only practical but fabulous, and loved by us all. We are truly “hand made with love” as they say :) Thank you for visiting us, I hope you find something you love, to nestle into your home, indulge your senses, but most importantly bring you or a loved one joy.