CSAO or the Company of Senegal and Africa Occidentale was founded in 1995 by Valerie Schlumberger when she returned to her native Paris having spent many years living in Senegal with her young family. Inspired by the creativity of the local people Valerie set up a clothing workshop in Dakar and later a boutique selling her own line on the island of Goree and was later inspired to bring the skills and craftsmanship from West Africa to Europe whilst at the same time wanting to make a difference to the lives of the Senegalese people who had made such an impression on her. To this end Valerie founded ASAO, The Association for Senegal and West Africa which funded the renovation an old cinema in Dakar, and transformed it into a safe place for street children. ASAO continues to promote social projects and encourages local people to develop and use their knowledge and skills.
Ondine joined her mother in 2012 and through a program of embroidery workshops they have since trained over 150 women to make a these beautiful hand embroidered cushions and other pieces which are sold in their Parisian store and across the world. Being able to provide for their families has enabled these women to grow in self confidence and has created a creative, happy and socially supported workforce.