Co-founder, Malaika Linens
Malaika was founded in 2004 by Margarita Andrade and Goya Gallagher who, after growing up in their native Ecuador, found themselves living and settling in Egypt. With a background in design and a keen interest in embroidery, crochet and hand-drawn thread work, they decided to utilise Egyptian cotton to produce high quality bed linen previously not available in the local market.
At the heart of its business model, Malaika focuses on teaching hand embroidery to local women giving them a chance to learn a valuable skill and improve their economic standing. Today, dozens of underprivileged Egyptian women and refugees, travel to Malaika’s self-funded embroidery school to learn embroidery techniques. Once proficient, the women leave the school and return to work from home, making way for more women to be trained there. Most have never held a needle before.
This model empowers women to take charge of their economic futures without breaking social norms. Because many work from home, they can generate an income – and make a difference – without disrupting traditional family patterns and cultural expectations.
Since the launch of its first collection Malaika’s business has flourished. In 2009 Malaika built its own factory employing 60 workers, enabling absolute control on quality and craftsmanship. In 2018 we opened our own embroidery school.
In addition to its signature bedding, Malaika’s range includes silkscreen-printed accessories, super-soft terrycloth bath towels, sumptuous cushions and beautifully embroidered table linen, all crafted from the finest Egyptian materials.
Malaika Linens does not keep its success to itself. As the company grows, so does its social impact. In the next two or three years, the firm aims to build new training centres in areas in which women badly need job opportunities. The expansion will not just benefit Egyptian women either. In collaboration with the United Nations’ refugee agency, UNHCR, the company is also reaching out to refugee women.
For Malaika Linens, this responsibility extends not just to women and girls, but also to the planet. The firm is currently moving away from plastic packaging and uses natural dyes for its linens.