The Bimbi Painted Wood Bowl is beautiful and simple in both natural and cream. Designers and co-founders Alistair and Alexandra Cooke designed this piece with the idea to add color to a classic bowl. The sustainable mango wood used to make the bowl comes from India, where the pieces are also made. Nkuku practices fair trade business ethics, paying its artisans fair wages and ensuring safe working conditions.
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Why it's special
Environmentally ConsciousMade with specific care to the environment
HandmadeEach piece is lovingly assembled
High-Quality Raw MaterialsSpecially sourced materials
Size, Fit & Care
- 100% mango wood
- 15 cm in diameter
- Wash by hand
All Roads Lead to India
The Brand Story
Alexandra and Alistair Cooke were taking a year off from working life. Traveling around Africa and India, they started to develop an idea: “We wanted to find a way to promote and develop the traditional skills of the artisans we met along the way while building a sustainable business for ourselves, and in the process improve the challenging living standards and restricted opportunities many of the artisans endured.” Sounds like a tall order, but they pulled it off. The two visionaries jotted down a business plan on a paperback book cover in Malaysia, returned to London, moved to South Devon, and in 2003, Nkuku was born. Alexandra and Alistair now work with several social projects, small family-run businesses and co-ops. They regularly visit these suppliers to ensure that they uphold fair-trade standards. “We also maintain a close and personal relationship with the artisans themselves, and know that they are very proud of their work and their workforce,” they tell us.
Nkuku is environmentally conscious during every step of production. “We work with natural materials including sustainable mango wood, jute, hemp and recycled glass. This in its way inspires our collection, as we like to keep the natural beauty of the material and create timeless pieces for the home,” say the designers. They then ensure that all of their suppliers and producers—social enterprises, co-operatives, collectives and businesses—share their value for fair trade and ethical manufacturing. But Nkuku is doing more than producing beautiful products for the modern home. Alexandra and Alistair work with artisans in India to showcase ancient crafts and traditional skills: “We encourage the handmade process in the production, such as hand looms, hand-blown glass, hand-carving, hand-stitching of leather.” Simple. Beautiful.
“Fair Trade”: What Does It Mean?
“Fair trade” is a term we hear thrown around more and more these days. Nkuku is part of the growing number of businesses that are making a conscious effort to ensure good labor practice and establish long-lasting relationships with suppliers. As such, Alexandra and Alistair support fair trade and community initiatives. So what is “fair trade”? According to the World Fair Trade Organization, the 10 principles are as follows:
- “Creating Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers”
- “Transparency and Accountability”
- “Fair Trading Practices”
- “Payment of a Fair Price”
- “Ensuring No Child Labor and Forced Labor”
- “Commitment to Non-Discrimination, Gender and Women’s Economic Empowerment and Freedom of Association”
- “Ensuring Good Working Conditions”
- “Providing Capacity Building”
- “Promoting Fair Trade”
- “Respect for the Environment”
But what, exactly, does that all mean? Alexandra and Alistair tell Zady, “Our suppliers are paid a decent wage for their work; working conditions are safe and a good standard; no children are exploited. All our products are skillfully created in a positive and pleasant environment.”
Now we understand what all the fuss is about.