By Audrey Stanton
Soko is a socially responsible jewelry business based in San Francisco, California as well as Nairobi, Kenya. The three founders– Gwendolyn Floyd, Ella Peinovich and Catherine Mahugu– met in Nairobi, Kenya just 4 years ago. They bonded over their passion for fairer fashion and innovative business practices. Together, the trio created relationships with skilled artisans in order to bring jewelry that doesn’t skimp on style or sustainability. Through their expert operations, Soko is able to provide fashionable statement jewelry at accessible prices, all while keeping quality high. Soko’s name comes from the word’s translational in Swahili, the native language of Kenya, which is ‘market.’ This title is fitting for a B-Corp Certified company which hopes to develop a marketplace for ethical innovation.
Productivity Through Technology
Soko prides itself on introducing the world to ‘ethical fast fashion’. By incorporating the proper technology into its supply chain, it is able to speed up production without harming its makers. The company has given mobile phones with specific technology to the artisans they work in order to enable smooth production. This implementation delivers makers with autonomy and keeps the process mostly swiftly. Soko gives the power back to the artisans so that they are able to lift themselves out of poverty.
For something to be beautiful, the system that created it must also be beautiful. – Soko
Ethical Production Through Empowerment
Soko’s new approach to fashion business connects artisans with a sustainable living and participation in the global market. Along with the clever use of technology, Soko also partners with organizations and projects which aim to empower vulnerable individuals. The ethical brand has two featured collaborations as of now with The Adventure Project and UNTF (United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women.) A brass bracelet sold by Soko not only supports the makers but gives $10 to local farmers as well. For every $10 donation, from ‘The Adventure Bracelet,’ enables a farmer to feed one person in their community. Soko’s second partnership, with UNTF, focuses on ending violence against women. The purchase of a unique bracelet supports the financial and physical security of women and girls around the world.
Sustainable Style Through Accessible Pricing
Soko commits to ethical production and efficient supply chains, all while keeping prices accessible. While maintaining high quality, the brand works with artisans to utilize locally sourced brass and cow horn. Today, 90% of brass consists of recycled material and proves to be more affordable than other materials. Brass is sustainable, durable, and can be easily cleaned with proper care. Cultivated ethically, the cow horn found in many of Soko’s signature earrings is a by-product of the food industry. This means less food waste and more beautiful jewelry for customers to enjoy. Much of the sustainable fashion industry leaves out customers who cannot afford the high prices. The jewelry brand aims to bring sustainability and style to customers without emptying their wallets. Soko couples the integrity of the traditional craft, with the forward-thinking practices of sustainability, and efficiency of a large company. Ethical fast fashion, it’s here!