Interview: Angela Inglish of Good Glass

Good Glass, Kampala

Good Glass is one of the prettiest social enterprises around. Based in Kampala, their mission is twofold. First, they want to make an impact on the environment by recycling the tons of glass that inhabits local dumps and trash centers. Secondly, they work to create sustainable livelihoods for those that work in their factories and stores. Their newest shop just opened in Kisimenti and showcases some of their best-selling items. We went in to take a look, speak with the owner, Angela Inglish, and check out the creative process that started Good Glass.

We asked her what inspired her to start Good Glass and she had a lot of experience to draw from. She first arrived in Uganda working on cleft care for children through CoRSU and then in microfinance. However, she had bigger goals in mind. “I went to the University of Manchester to get my masters in International Development, thinking I wanted to work for a big international development agency, but instead learned that what I wanted was something different. I wanted something truly sustainable and something that I could get behind and believe in. I wanted to work for job creation in Uganda, but not through some huge structure that relied on international funding. I wanted to start a social enterprise.”

As imagined, there were a number of bumps along the way. We asked her about some of the more difficult obstacles she faced in setting up Good Glass. “There were many. Things usually don’t go as smoothly as planned and never as quickly as you would like. I worked for a year to get all the machinery needed to make the glasses in house. It was super frustrating and challenging, but the wait and persistence paid off in the end.”

She expanded further, “We just opened a shop which has really increased our ability to reach more customers and has allowed us to expand. The next step is to export our goods.”

There is little doubt that people will enjoy the new shop. An open, spacious area, it is lined with uniquely crafted glass goods that are sometimes whimsical and also surprisingly practical. A look inside had me picking up dark flattened bottles sold as cheese plates and serving trays, which were as distinctive as they are stylish. The punt (or divot) on the bottom of wine bottles has also been refurbished into small serving bowls. Also included are a number of cups, candleholders, and the incredibly hip Corona Beer glasses that make a fantastic conversation piece.

I asked Angela what some of her favorite items were. “Currently, I love the flat wooden-topped glasses and these sweet little clear glass bowls made from Robertson’s bottles. I never get sick of the unique wind chimes though. Each design is different and fun.” The bottles are collected at Prunes on Saturdays between 10am-2pm. From there, they are taken to her workshop in Makindye where a group she has trained forges them into sparkling household items.

Before opening her own store, the items were sold at Banana Boat, Prunes, Wasanii Living and Flock of Birds. While they will continue stocking her items, the new Good Glass store is a fantastic place to showcase some of their best work. The plot for Good Glass is conveniently located on Bukoto Street, between Corporate Heights and the Turkish Dentistry Clinic. It’s a fantastic place to shop for some very practical and distinctive items, while making sure you contribute to a sustainable working environment, and help keep Kampala clean.

Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10am – 7pm
Address: 50 Bukoto Street, Kololo
Phone: +256-773-864711
Email: info@goodglassug.com
Facebook: http://www.goodglassug.com/
Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Good-Glass/242534742492453

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About Lizabeth Paulat

Hi, I’m Lizabeth, a freelance writer whose been stomping around Kampala for the better part of two years. I came here while pursuing a story and decided never to leave. I’m originally from Seattle and have found refuge in both the sun and the culture of Kampalans (plus I still get the rain when I’m feeling homesick).I’m always trying to unearth new and interesting stories about Kampala’s culture and development and am so exited to have an amazing platform to explore the city with. I hope to bring a bit of know-how and a bit of fun to Living in Kampala. Feel free to contact me any time at lizabeth@livinginkampala.com.