Swahili Coast

“No, we don’t get to TASMANIA much these days,” Caroline said to us.


Caroline Fisher laughed frequently as she told the tale of her quickly growing business. This creative, young artist was always surprised when people did not know the difference between Tasmania and Tanzania, the real source for her Swahili Coast business story.

We had just met Caroline, but it didn’t seem like that at all. She’s one of those special people who’s like an old friend the very first time you meet her. She had a great story to tell about her husband, their travels, and the start of their business.


The Swahili Coast, her boutique store at the Cotton Exchange, in Wilmington NC, actually got its start in Tanzania (not Tasmania) in East Africa. After her husband had been selected as a Fulbright Scholar, the couple moved to Tanzania where they conducted agricultural research and assisted the people in rural Tanzania with farming techniques and land management.

While in Tanzania, the Fishers met many talented artists and artisans. When it came time to return to America, the couple came home with a new idea and a new business. Together with their friends in Tanzania, they established a market in the United States for the colorful fabrics and beaded accessories. And perhaps, best of all for Caroline, they also started making hand-crafted, beaded sandals.


That was the start of Seeded Hand Sown, a unique, design partnership between Caroline and her Tanzanian friends. Caroline designs the sandals and the artisans in Africa do the leather and bead work.

Not only does Caroline sell her sandals at her boutique at the Cotton Exchange, but she has over 30 partnering boutiques and shops in other locations that carry her “Seeded Sandals” too.  It’s proven to have been a wonderful partnership for everyone involved — on both continents!


Partnerships like the one Caroline and her husband started with their friends in Tanzania increase understanding between cultures and represent a large step in promoting human dignity too. While many of the people involved are not Catholics, what they’re doing is very much Catholic Cool!

In Christ!