Beautifully Handmade Home & Lifestyle Products
Nkuku work with artisans throughout the world, combining timeless designs in Tableware, plates, side plates and bowls with traditional skills and natural materials.
From their website. It’s hard to summarise all the trials and tribulations that go into starting up a business as well as all the wonderful encounters and adventures that they have been lucky enough to experience, but here’s where it all began.
14 years ago they set out on a life-changing adventure, travelling 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 their makers personally. That’s how they know that every product has a story to tell.
Nkuku work with independent businesses, social projects and co-operatives with a focus on building strong business relationships with all of our suppliers, so that they can work together towards mutual success. Their primary focus is transparency, we see our suppliers more as partners and encourage open dialogue and communication.
They make regular visits and employ agents who also visit their suppliers often, to assist with production queries and offer support and advice. They allow long lead times to ensure that no unnecessary pressure is placed on production and that capacity is not exceeded.
They adhere to the standard globally recognised 10 Principles Of Fair Trade and have their own procedures for the management of their supply base. A key principle for 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 have suppliers 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.
We work with natural and recycled materials through sustainable methods of production and this shapes our collections. We keep air freight to a minimum, and review our packaging regularly. We are constantly evaluating our processes and looking at ways we can improve. Many of our products are handmade from recycled materials. We gather the waste leftover from other industries including; cotton from discarded t-shirts, leather, metals and glass as well as recycled saris. Recycling allows us to create new and beautiful products with less impact on our environment.
We try to recycle as much waste as possible at head office, and use recycled boxes for our trade deliveries where possible. We see the beauty in natural materials, from the grain and character of untreated wood through to the golden hues of eco-friendly jute.
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 our suppliers have been handed down from generation to generation.
We value this age-old knowledge and hope to help keep it alive. We love the character in each item, the handmade nature of our products is what we believe sets us apart. We want to protect these skills.