Artisan craft sector is the second largest employer in the world. However, it’s also the most marginalized. Without access to the global market, exposure to fashion trends and quality standards, capital and bank accounts - these talented artisans are limited to selling their goods in local markets. Where after a day’s hard work, they may have to sell goods at a loss - making it impossible to earn enough to support their families and businesses.
Soko, meaning ‘market’ in Swahili, employs technology to connect these marginalized artisans with international demand and increase their income five fold. Using their revolutionary platform, artisans are able to accept and process orders without nothing but a cell phone in hand. Their products now sold by Nordstroms and Anthropologies of the world. And worn by everyone’s favorite leading ladies, including Gisele Bundchen and Emma Watson.
What’s more, Soko works directly with artisan entrepreneurs to help expand their businesses, improve production capacity and sustainably increase their incomes. With their ‘virtual factory,’ artisans retain higher percentage of revenues while consumers pay less. And that’s not all. Female empowerment is at the core of Soko’s values. Partner workshops are required for 50% of the hires to be women. And to get more women out of harm’s way and poverty, Soko has partnered with United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women.Redefining aesthetics of ethical fashion, Soko pioneers Ethical Fast Fashion. Inspired by architecture and traditional tribal designs, their classic minimalist pieces are executed using recycled materials. Brass comes from old faucets and door knobs. Horn - a byproduct of the food industry - from nomadic tribes in Kenya and Uganda. Polished and mod yet handcrafted and ethically made, their pieces are truly the new kind of luxury.