InterviewsFeb 2, 2024

Meet the Artisan: Tensira

Written by Kelsey Walker

We’re honored to feature Tensira today on All Sorts Of. Tensira is a retailer of linens and accessories handmade by skilled artisans in the Republic of Guinea. All of Tensira’s products are crafted using certified OEKO-TEX cotton. With a focus on sustainable production and a fair work environment, Tensira devotes every effort to preserving traditional techniques and providing dignified work for women in the community. We are proud to carry the Liora and Weiss Napkins at Shoppe Amber Interiors.

Without further ado, take a seat with Tensira


a conversation with Tensira…

Let’s start from the beginning! Tell us a little about the journey that led you two to where you are now.

It all began with a love story between myself, Tuulia Makinen Diallo, and Hamidou Diallo! We met in Finland during Hamidou’s studies. Hamidou is of Guinean descent and I was born and raised in Finland. We soon fell in love and moved to Paris together. After a couple of years, we worked together to begin what is now known as Tensira.

Tensira was founded upon the strong connection we both have to our respective countries of origin – Hamidou’s devotion to the familial tradition of indigo dying and business management expertise and my education in fashion worked together to create something truly beautiful. With a vision of creating contemporary, universally on-trend, and ethically produced crafts, Tensira is the living encounter between traditional craft techniques of Guinea and European design.


What inspires you? How have your passions and interests changed over the course of your career?

My number one source of inspiration are the clients we serve! As an artistic director, I am constantly envisioning how each client is going to display their product. Our goal is to equip and motivate each client with the products they need to elevate their everyday life and décor.

Sourcing fabric has always been hugely inspirational for me. Each and every fabric in our collection holds a special story. I want everyone to feel the same joy that I do when surrounded by beautiful fabrics!

Additionally, we live in Paris. This city, the art, the culture, and the fashion are my eternal inspirations when creating the collections.


What does your day-to-day entail to support your company?

A lot of work! I spend my days mainly responding to emails, contacting the workshop in Guinea, checking in on the production, chatting with our wonderful clients over the phone, and connecting with our team in Paris. However, my favorite part is designing new products, which represents no more than 10% of my working time. Thanks to the increasing number of exclusive collaborations with other brands, we are always busy! Overall, managing a company is mostly administrative work.


Globalization and industrialized production, amongst other things, have significantly impacted the world of artisan craft. How is your business model working to overcome such challenges?

When we created Tensira in 2009, our goal was to promote Guinean handcrafts and make an economic impact in Guinea by employing as many artisans as possible. We feel proud to have achieved our goals! In 2022, we were able to increase our production capacity significantly thanks to some modernized technology.


Could you elaborate on Tensira’s dedication to sustainable, low-waste production?

We use only natural or recycled fibers. Our indigo dye is 100% natural. We reuse all of our leftover fabrics in efforts to be less wasteful. We have solar panels at the workshop. We offer dignified working conditions to all of the artisans, including a fair wage, a safe environment, access to health care, and more.


What is the impact of your business on the preservation of traditional techniques and other cultural practices?

Hamidou’s mother was a renown indigo dyer in Guinea. It was obvious for us to create a company that promotes this traditional craft. All of the tie dyes and indigo dyes are done at Tensira village, which is located in the mountain region of Guinea.


The majority of Tensira’s tailoring and dyeing team members are women. We believe that when women are empowered, the whole world wins. How does this philosophy play a part in the work you do?

For us, empowering women is one of our core values! They get to educate themselves, earn a living wage, and support their families. It is just the way things should be wherever you are!


Why should people choose handmade?

When you choose handmade, you are preserving a traditional technique, helping to provide an income to artisans and their families, and you have access to one-of-a-kind products.


What’s next for Tensira? How do you hope to see the impact of your work take form?

We are very ambitious! We have an extremely talented team in Guinea and some of the most wonderful clients from all over the world. We want to grow, hire more artisans in Guinea, create new products, and continue giving momentum to such meaningful impact.

Rapid Fire with Tensira…

What is your favorite place to visit to spark inspiration?

Musée d’Orsay


Color or neutrals?

Hard to say! It depends on the mood. Right now, I am in the neutrals mood. Our new collection is called Hotel French Riviera. We took inspiration from beautiful materials, such as marble and mahogany. The collection plays with a sandy palette, mixing beige and brown tie dye.


Patterns or solids?

Stripes, stripes, stripes! It is actually Gabrielle Chanel that inspired me to create Tensira. Stripes never go out of fashion; they are so timeless and universal.


Favorite space in your home?

Our living room! It features a super soft sofa with a stack of Tensira mattress toppers.


Current favorite Tensira product?

Our brown tie dye! I am obsessed. It is the most beautiful brown I have ever seen!

Weiss Napkin


Liora Napkin


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