MEET THE MAKER: Nkuku
It started with a journey… and a journal
Ten years ago founders of NKUKU set out on a life-changing adventure, traveling the world and coming across talented craftspeople and their beautiful work along the way. It inspired them to do something different, so they moved to rural Devon and started working with artisans throughout the world, supporting and celebrating their skills by bringing their products to a wider audience.
Their name was borrowed from a hut in Zambia, their business plan jotted on the cover of a paperback and their first order was for exquisite leather journals that they still sell today. Their team and products may have grown, but they still have the same hands-on approach, meeting and working with all of their makers personally. That’s how we know that every product has a story to tell...
NKUKU has centered their business around three core values:
NKUKU adheres to the standard globally recognized 10 Principles Of Fair Trade, but also have their own procedures for the management of their supply base. A key principle for them is working with suppliers who are at the start of their fair trade process. Providing that there is the desire to start on an ethical journey, they will invest in the supplier to help them achieve this. As a result they will have suppliers who are at varying stages of their own accreditation. Trading fairly provides these artisans with an opportunity to build a future. It helps businesses develop and creates sustainable employment.
NKUKU works with natural and recycled materials through sustainable methods of production and this shapes their collections. They keep air freight to a minimum, and review their packaging regularly. They are constantly evaluating their processes and looking at ways we can improve. Many of their products are handmade from recycled materials by gathering the waste leftover from other industries including; cotton from discarded t-shirts, leather, metals and glass as well as recycled saris. Recycling allows them to create new and beautiful products with less impact on our environment.
The relationship between an artisan and a beautiful handmade piece creates a story, which makes each product not a mass market item, but an individually crafted piece. The traditional skills used by NKUKU artists have been handed down from generation to generation. They value this age old knowledge and hope to help keep it alive.
It has been through these core values that NKUKU has built a network of 100 artisans around the globe. There is a great deal to tell about the character and personalities of the artisans in each work they create. We are so honored to partner with them and hope you enjoy getting to know their products and stories further!