Our Mission

The Kenyan Collection /JMS Ventures, Inc. markets and sells a collection of fine handmade products from Kenya.  Currently JMS Ventures, Inc is working with 1 group and 2 families who produce products such as beaded leather work (collars, belts, bags, bracelets), hand carved birds and  bird mobiles and wooden bowls. Our goal is to demonstrate that products made in Africa can compete in the global marketplace, while at the same time creating employment for the artisans, in the hope that they will have an investment in, and an opportunity to change, their own future and the future of their children. "We have seen clearly where hope and opportunity exists in one part of the world it can impact peace and stability across the globe." The company generates income for over 200 Kenyans who otherwise might earn as little as $1,500 a year. Joan Schultz, the owner, was living in Kenya when a group of Maasai herded 13 of their precious cattle to the US Embassy in Nairobi to express their condolences to the families affected by the events of September 11.
“The gift of the cattle, which are so precious to the Maasai, was a way to say how wrong that event was and how sorry they were for our losses.  It made me realize that we all have 'gifts' to share and we do what we can to make a difference to help each other in spite of our own constraints.”   What we are doing is not charity or a hand-out, but just as the Maasai and many other Kenyans extended their hand in sympathy and concern in their own way, we are reciprocating in our way by providing guidance and presenting their talents to a demanding market.

JMS Ventures, Inc (Americans working in the US) is responsible for marketing in the US with Out of Kenya Art (Kenyans working in Kenya) responsible for coordinating with various artisans on the ground.  The company start up was funded by Joan and Joan takes no salary.  Other than operating costs in the US (one part time employee, advertising and marketing costs as well as air shipping), the money goes back to Kenya.  The groups work with Joan because she is inclusive and respectful when it comes to making decisions that present their work. 

Why is The Kenyan Collection NOT a non-profit?  Because the Kenyans felt that setting up as a non-profit would suggest donations are required or desired to sustain this operation and suggest customers would need to manage expectations in terms of quality of products. These are both assumptions the Kenyans specifically wanted to challenge….and they have.  We don’t want your donation, we want your business which we will earn by ensuring every customer is satisfied with the product purchased with their hard earned money.  While there are many who have tried to duplicate some of the work and designs of our artisans, in terms of creativity, consistency and quality we are sure you will agree there is no comparison.

In the News

Our company has been featured in several print publications.
  • Dog/Milk - December 21, 2012: 2012 Year in Review: BEST OF CLOTHES, COLLARS, AND LEASHES
  • The Washington Post - May 21, 2006:  Featured in the "Sunday Shopper" section highlighting The Big Bad Woof, one of our fine retailers.  Included a photo of a pink/black/silver collar on a greyhound (page M2).
  • New York Dog - November 2005:  Photo of model Ebony wearing beaded bracelet, and dog Jada wearing a collar and lead (page 93).
  • Organic Style - December 2004: Photo of collar and story of "Our Favorite Souvenirs from Kenya" (page 65).

We Care

We not only assist in providing employment for our Kenyan partners, we also assist organizations in the US by providing product donations for fund raising.  The organizations we have donated to include:

A Forever Home, Virginia (where Joan's Daisy is from!)

Animal House 2005 Bucks for Beagles

Animal Rescue of New Orleans, Louisiana

Art Bark Fest 2006 - Animal Art & Wine Festival

Big Dog Foundation

Carolinas Great Pyrenees Rescue

Carolinas Jack Russell Terrier

Community Coalition - Pet Pantry, Loudoun County, Virginia

CorgiAid

Equine Rescue League

Friends of Homeless Animals, Virginia

Gingersnap Girls Foundation, Equine Rescue, Virginia

Higher Dreams Horse Rescue

Houston Humane Society

Humane Society of Sarasota County, Florida

Humane Society of Winnebago County

Hunt Country Classic Silent Auction

Italian Greyhound Club of America

Mid Atlantic Great Dane Rescue, Virginia

Much Love Animal Rescue, Los Angeles, California

My Wonderful Dog

National Anatolian Shepherd Rescue

National Beagle Club of America

Newfoundland Dog Rescue

No More Homeless Pets

Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program

Pug Rescue of North Carolina, Inc.

Rappahannock County Animal Rescue League

"S.O.S." Save Our Strays Association

Second Chance Animal Shelter

Second Chance Humance Society

Special Olympics Equestrian Program

SSJRTC - Sunshine State Jack Russell Terrier Club

Stokes County Animal Rescue, North Carolina (where Joan's Jackson is from!)

Tailwaggers 4-H Club

The Priceless Parrot Preserve, Inc.

The Washington Humane Society

West Coast Mastiff and Large Breed Rescue, California

Making of a Dog Collar

Press Releases

February 7, 2011
THE KENYAN COLLECTION RELEASES SPRING/SUMMER 2011 COLLAR

Latest addition blends Western colors with beading skills of the Maasai mamas to create “Over the Rainbow”

LEESBURG, VA - Presales for the latest addition to The Kenyan Collection dog collars and leads exceeded that of any new release thus far. The vertically beaded stripes of perfectly blended brilliant colors leaves you looking for the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow interpretation.

The Kenyan Collection/JMS Ventures, Inc. has stirred up passion for these collars by introducing a new color combination or design to their line each season, making sure there is something that appeals to everyone. Each collar is an individual piece of wearable art. Eleven color or design options are currently available with Primary, Earth and their original Circle of Life leading the top sellers list, all also available in people belts and bracelets and horse brow bands.

“The feedback we get from customers is that they find the collars as rugged as they are beautiful and purchasing from the collection provides an opportunity to make a personal statement as these provide income opportunities for Kenyans who would otherwise make as little as $2,000 a year” said Joan Schultz, the owner of The Kenyan Collection/JMS Ventures, Inc. Currently over 70 retail stores across the country as well as several specialty on-line retailers are carrying the collection. Contact info@thekenyancollection.com to find a store/online retailer.

About The Kenyan Collection/JMS Ventures, Inc
The Kenyan Collection was founded in 2003 by Joan Schultz to support and guide Kenyan artisans who want to compete in the Western market. Joan spent years working in Africa (mostly Kenya and Sudan) and has always had some involvement in the pet world related to rescue work and her own rescue dogs, creating a natural focus on the pet industry. Other than minimal operating costs and donations to a number of pet rescue efforts in the US, the money goes back to the Kenyans. To learn the full story behind The Kenyan Collection/JMS Ventures, Inc. go to www.thekenyancollection.com or contact Joan Schultz at 703 743 9991.
 
July 18, 2006
VIENNA, VA – The Kenyan Collection/JMS Ventures Inc. - The Kenyan Collection introduced a new “Geometrics” line of Kenyan beaded leather collars, adding circles and zig-zag designs in mixed color palettes including a sophisticated rendition of traditional holiday colors. JMS Ventures, Inc., the small company behind The Kenyan Collection, is asked all the time if they are a non-profit organization because of the company’s mission of providing employment for Kenyan artisans by helping with design and marketing of products. “We don’t seem to fit neatly into one category or the other. We are for profit -- the profit of Kenyans,” explained Joan Schultz, who, with her Kenyan partner Mercy Mahiani, started the collection in 2002 while Joan was living in Kenya.

“People are shopping according to their social values these days and want to know who made the product, and who gets paid. Our purchases can be a powerful way of saying who we are and what is important to us” stated Ms. Schultz noting that many Kenyans live on less than $1,000 a year. “We contemplated setting up as a non-profit to take advantage of the tax breaks and fund raising opportunities available. But to the Kenyans we represent, that sounded like another way to ask for money or to manage expectations about the products they produce,” Joan stated. “They want to change the image of Kenya as a country with its hand out, one with few real business opportunities”.
Instead, those individuals and community groups JMS Ventures, Inc. represents wanted to offer high quality, desirable products that could compete in the world marketplace, and for which the Kenyans would earn a fair wage. “With those wages they want to put their children back in school, take care of family members; move to a better part of town – you know, the same things you and I like to do: make their own choices, feel independent and productive and able to contribute to their community.”

Unlike many non-profits, JMS Ventures, Inc. is self financing and focused on longer term change driven by the Kenyans themselves. “More than ever we see that stability and well-being in one part of the world affects events across the globe. Creating opportunities and economic stability in developing countries where there are few social safety nets increases hope for a better future for humankind. This venture brings interest in Kenya and its culture, employs Americans directly and indirectly and provides a product that allows us to adorn our pets that bring joy, better health and service to our lives”. JMS Ventures Inc. also regularly donates collars to rescue and service companion organizations for fund raising or to bring attention to a special adoptable pet. “We don’t want your donations” explains Ms. Schultz, “what we want is for you to feel good about every aspect of your purchase from The Kenyan Collection, especially knowing that your money goes a long way in influencing the lives of others.”

About JMS Ventures, Inc:
Joan Schultz has lived and/or worked in Africa for over 20 years, part of that for the World Bank but more recently in Kenya starting up The Kenyan Collection with her Kenyan counterpart Mercy Mahiani. In addition to doing marketing for groups already producing high-quality products, JMS Ventures Inc. has also helped Kenyans design other original products. The full range of products and retail stores that carry them can be found at www.thekenyancollection.com or contact Joan Schultz at 703-743-9991.
JMS Ventures, Inc.    Phone ~ 703.743.9991    Fax ~ 703.991.4344

Copyright 2004 - JMS Ventures, Inc.