When I was first heard of Kipato Unbranded I simply knew their reputation of ethically made in Kenya jewellery. It was only when I had the chance to get more information on the brand, I realised how amazing their story is and learnt of all their unique and stunning products. I am honoured to wear their pieces and bring you their inspirational story.
How did you come up with the name Kipato Unbranded?
- Kipato: Kiswahili word for income. This underscores the social justice core of the enterprise. We ensure that our artists to are empowered by their work and receive fair wages for their creativity. From its beginnings, 50% of any of the profits from the artist’s’ work, whether sold in international or local markets, goes directly to the artist, creating a model that is sustainable and fair to them. In addition, 2% of the company profits are channeled to One People Trust Foundation, which supports not for profit work in the artists’ communities.
- We are “unbranded” because we are focused on creating jewelry by everyday people, for everyday people. We believe that beautiful Kenyan jewelry should not be out of reach for Kenyans and Africans on the continent, and therefore are striving to create an enterprise that is accessible and approachable.
The name Kipato Unbranded conveys our mission to empower our artists: 50% of our profits go directly to the artists who create the jewelry.
Kipato Unbranded connects jewelry makers to larger local and international markets, giving them a 50% share in any profits made from their jewelry, whether sold locally or internationally.
Founder Marta Krajnik with one of the artist
What inspired the creation of Kipato Unbranded?
In Dagoretti Market, Elijah works relentlessly in the mounting heat of Nairobi: hammering away at sheets of brass, cutting them into thin shapes, rolling these out on a cylindrical piece of wood. As he creates, his concentration so sharp you could use it to cut through the brass in his hands, his work slowly comes together to form the intricate, delicate artistic designs that will end up adorning someone’s hands or neck. In Kibera, Ojiko does the same.
The same scenario plays out as many jewelry makers in lower-income Nairobi neighborhoods painstakingly create beauty with their hands, some as independent contractors, others in group workshops run by luxury jewelry brands.
Being an independent jewelry maker in a lower-income neighborhood in Nairobi, these artists depend on employers to give them access to larger markets. And while the jewelry industry in Kenya thrives on the labour of artists like Ojiko and Elijah, their salary is dependent on the whims of their employer, and often is only a very small proportion of the profits their work would generate. On the flip side, their jewelry pieces are mostly aimed at high-end luxury stores, selling at prices that are normal for the target market but which are exorbitantly out of reach for many Kenyans.
This dual problem: the need for more enterprises that offered a just wage to jewelry makers, and the desire to make their beautiful work accessible to more local Kenyans, is what inspired the founding of Kipato Unbranded in August 2015.
To make orders or check out their extensive and unique pieces please click here.
All Jewelry: Kipato Unbranded