About African Imports
Making a difference in Africa
African Imports brings lasting income to people and communities in Africa in two ways:
We make African creations easier to get. This creates real change with a sustainable income for hundreds of small business people in Africa
We also help hundreds of African orphan children through direct donations. Half of our profits go to helping people in need. We are closely connected with these children, and do extra to guarantee that this money is properly distributed to them.
This is what drives our company. In 2019, our sister company Africa Imports donations totalled over $230,000. Seeing what this does has made a big difference in the lives of most of us who work here. Your purchases help to accomplish some tremendous and lasting good for many people in Africa.
Since the beginning of our charitable work in 2007, Africa Imports has contributed over $1.5 million to help people in need in Africa. It's not just money, we have personal long-term relationships with about 70 adults who help the children and others.
Making a difference in North America.
With 20 years of experience with African products. and a capable team of knowledgeable people, we can help you find the right African products for you. We offer what no one else can. African Imports gives you between 70 and 200 new products to choose from every month, You’ll always find something new.
Our sister company Africa Imports exists to help people and communities in need in Africa. The company was born after the founder Wayne Kiltz and his family spent a month working in a missions hospital in Mali, West Africa. They felt a strong desire to help some of the communities and people who they had visited while in Africa. They also learned from a number of other people that the most powerful ways to help people in need in Africa, was with paid work or by selling products that people made.
While in Africa the Kiltz family was given a lot of gifts. A lot of times the gifts were chickens. Other times they were given artwork that people had made. Wayne started selling these products online after work as a way to help the people making them. The reason that Africa Imports was started, was to provide a channel for people who make the artwork and other products to be able to sell them in the US.
The business began in 1998. For the first year, the business was operated by the founder Wayne Kiltz, his family, and by one office person. Most of this period of time was spent learning about the market for African goods, and connecting with the people in Africa who make the products. We sold a few products through a website and online auctions. Most of our sales came from store owners and other wholesale customers.
Wayne visited almost all of the African stores in the US to meet customers. He also showed products at a number of trade shows. This helped to build a customer base; and a small community of African product businesses in the US.
One other thing that happened from this was that we got advice from hundreds of other African store owners. He learned mistakes to avoid, and other ways to succeed. African businesses are special, and have a lot of unique challenges and opportunities. Because we now know some of the best ways to sell African products in the US. Africa Imports can only succeed if our customers do. People in Africa are helped the most whenever you or someone else sells more of what they make. Because of this, we have made customer training and providing free sales tools a big part of what we do.
In October of 1999 we moved the business to the New York city area in Hackensack, NJ. This put us closest to a large group of African suppliers, and helped us to have a lot more product choices at low prices.
One of the biggest things that we were able to see happen during this time was getting strong relationships with a lot of different people from across Africa. We have a lot of capable suppliers across most of Africa; and have been able to gain the trust of these people over a long period of honest dealings. We have sources of supply for African products that is unmatched by any other business. This gives our customers access to new product ideas faster and at lower costs than anywhere else.