How Tingomo™ got its start (a note from Amanda):
When we first got married, my husband, JK, and I were Peace Corps Volunteers in Morocco. We were immersed in the culture thanks to wonderful teachers, a loving host family, and warm community. Part of Peace Corps service is to share your host culture back home with Americans, so in 2016 I created a program for my kids’ school to teach them about Moroccan culture and celebrations. Of all the activities, the hands-on craft was by far the most fun (we made tile mosaics, similar to Moroccan zellij). The kids were hooked, the parents were delighted, and I realized that traditional crafts would be a great way to teach people about the world.
I started making craft kits for family and friends, who loved learning about global cultures and enjoyed spending time making something with their own two hands. I also knew that many of the cultures that originated these crafts were in jeopardy. Without a way to earn money in their communities, families were coming apart as parents traveled to find work in cities. Girls weren’t going to school because they were needed at home, or the family couldn’t afford to send them. Artisans were losing the traditions that had been passed down for generations as younger people left. I turned Tingomo into a business in order to support non-profits working with these communities around the world. I get a lot of help from my family, especially my dad, John, a lifelong travel and project partner.
The name Tingomo reflects the company’s goals, and two countries I loved spending time in, Nepal (where I spent a semester in college) and South Africa (where my husband, John, studied abroad in college, and where we attended the World Cup in 2010).Tin is the Nepali word for three, and -gomo is part of the Zulu word for goal. Our company has three goals: promote creativity, share world cultures, and care for people and the planet.
I hope you love making your own art, going on journeys with us to many countries and cultures, and knowing you are making a difference with your purchase. I’m so grateful to our customers and honored you are here, reading this story.
Left: JK (5th from left) and Amanda (6th from left) in Peace Corps with their host family.
Right: John and Amanda in Nepal, trekking after Amanda's semester abroad.