SOKO : About the Makers
When it comes to Fair Trade, SOKO does it differently, but SOKO's Fair Trade goals are the same.
Soko's founders, Gwendolyn Floyd, Catherine Mahugu, and Ella Peinovich were designers working in Nairobi, Kenya and were frustrated to see that the local artisans were not able to sell their jewellery to a wider market and their earnings were so small despite the beauty and the quality of the jewellery they were making. The three women saw an opportunity to connect the artisans to a wider market and by doing so increase the artisans' income and well being.
The SOKO team decided to set up a smartphone commerce app where the artisans that make and create the jewellery stay in their own communities and in their own workshops and connect with SOKO in San Francisco using technology. 100% of the jewellery is made in rural Kenya.
Through this commerce app SOKO sets up bank accounts for each artisan, connects them with the latest SOKO designs, gives the workshops the equipment they require to make SOKO, organises pick up and pays each a guaranteed 25% of the wholesale cost of each design. This gives each of the artisans that create the SOKO jewellery an income of around 5 times the local average income, enabling them to increase their staff, educate others in the art of jewellery making, and improve their equipment as well as improving the quality of their lives. Artisans are able to use the equipment and the funding to also make jewellery of their own designs for their local market.
Now almost 2,300 artisans have found income through SOKO Jewellery.
SOKO is also committed to our environment and uses locally and ethically sourced materials for each piece. SOKO uses recycled brass, cow horn and wood to make most of their beautiful pieces and is now also partnering with Kazuri, another Kenyan Fair Trade jewellery maker to include hand made clay beads in their newest styles.
Two of the most glam and beautiful women in our world wear SOKO, Michelle Obama and Oprah wear these beautiful styles, stunning designs and unique pieces. What an amazing Fair Trade success story!