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It was when we first discovered Nkuku and their stunning fair trade bags that the penny finally dropped for us. We had already been blown away by the amazing cutting edge designs our upcycled brands like Alchemy Goods and Elvis & Kresse were showing us, but we honestly didn’t think we could find that same level of talent, design and craftsmanship if we went down the fair trade route. We couldn’t have been more wrong if we’d tried. If you think fair trade is only for people who wear socks with their sandals, then think again. Nkuku is well and truly cool.

Based here in the UK, Nkuku is a family run business that has a unique and wonderfully refreshing approach to business. Not only are they committed to fair trade they are also eco-friendly and even advocate not buying something if you really don’t need it.  Not great for business but we can see their point – if you’re going to buy, make sure your choice is a good one, in every way.

Nkuku was set up by Ali and Alex after they spent a year travelling and working in Africa and India, meeting artisans, and witnessing their astounding skills but challenging living standards and restricted opportunities. Their objective became to promote and develop the traditional skills of these artisans and bring their work to the UK market. And the rest, as they say, is history!

Nkuku’s fair trade bags are inspired by the traditional skills of artisans in India – in fact many of their bags are handmade by just 40 families in Rajasthan. They combine contemporary designs with age-old techniques, natural materials and sustainable methods of production to ensure each bag is a truly unique work of art.

Ali, Alex and the Nkuku team continue to make regular visits to India and have built up trusted and life-changing relationships with their suppliers and the artisans themselves, based on the principles of fair trade and equal opportunity. This means that everyone involved is paid a decent wage for their work, working conditions are safe and of a good standard and no children are exploited. They also work with as many natural dyes as possible, such as tree bark and vegetable extract – good for the environment and for the artisans too.

Nkuku is now a fully fledged member of the World Fair Trade Organisation – a great achievement and one that clearly underlines their 100% commitment to fair trade. Perhaps Nkuku is the new Green and Blacks…

And finally, if you’re wondering about the name Nkuku, they’ve borrowed it from a village in Zambia.

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Bags by Nkuku