KIPATO- IN KISWAHILI MEANS INCOME OR PROFIT
"When Marta first started working with one of the artists, he asked me for “kipato kidogo,” which is a slang expression for “something small." - KU
Tell me a little about how Kipato Unbranded came to life? Founded in 2015, Kipato Unbranded is a socially conscious jewelry line that has quality jewelry at affordable prices. Using recycled local materials from low-income areas like Kibera and Kawangware, Nairobi-based founder and designer Marta Anna Krajnik creates pieces at affordable prices that both her clients and artists benefit from.
Marta met one of our artists, completely randomly through friends who were interested in the art world within Kenya. They were familiar with some jewelry makers and some shoe makers and craftsmen who sold unique things. Not the standard, touristy crafts that westerners consider “African.” When she met one of the artists and what he was doing at the time, he wasn’t making enough. So she asked him to bring some of his work. She thought his pieces were great and offered to help him sell his work and gave him 50% of everything she sold. He was happy with the idea and that’s how it all started. Very simple, just like that.
When people ask, what is Kipato Unbranded, what do you say? How does KU differentiate itself from other jewelry brands? KU is a social enterprise: Kipato Unbranded is a social enterprise and we strive to ensure our artists get fair wages for all the hardwork it takes to produce the beautiful pieces they produce. Our artists receive 50% of the profits that we gain as a business.
KU is eco-friendly: We are a social enterprise that not only promotes fair wages, but we also seek environmental friendly solutions. We use 100% recycled paper to package our products. No single-use plastics, in fact, no plastic at all. We love the environment and that is why whenever possible we go paperless. This even applies to our displays. We have a symbolic ‘kipato tree of jewels'. We use wood by-products and natural materials to make our displays. All the wooden pieces we use are recovered by- products from someone's custom table, bed frame, or night stand.
How does the dynamic of Kipato Unbranded work between the artists and the contributors? Kipato Unbranded is fortunate to have 5 exceptional young women as shareholders who are all leading ladies in their respective fields. Each of the shareholders contribute their skills and expertise to the business, including the design process.
Tell us about your latest collection, where did the inspiration come from? The Anticipated Collection has very much come from requests from our customers. It is the most 'wanted' collection to-date, especially the stackable rings and bangles. The Thick and Thin Band Rings, the Midi-Rings, and the Trio Bangles (that come in thin, medium, and thick) literally can be paired with any outfit and go with any other kinds of jewelry. They are the most versatile pieces yet! They are definitely staples that complement all of the other Kipato Unbranded pieces. Also, the Masai Brass Necklace and Earrings, were also designed by our customers, requesting us to make the Masai Bone Necklace and Earrings (as seen in our Savanna Collection) into a brass version. Which we did!
Where can our readers buy Kipato Unbranded pieces? Do you have a physical store as well? Kipato Unbranded is unique because it has many avenues for clients to purchase our products. We have our own website: www.kipatounbranded.com and www.kipatounbranded.co.ke for a specific Kenya – based customer. We sell our products and interact with customers on our social media; we are active on Instagram and Facebook. We also have other online retailers, including an Esty account. We have agents in the wider Africa region (Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda) and internationally. We have international wholesalers in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. We also have physical outlets in Nairobi and Mombasa.
Nairobi Westlands - One Hundred Years at the Yard/The Alchemist.
Karen - The Urban African Lifestyle Company at The Hub and Kung'ara at Karen Plains Arcade.
Lavington - The Arbor on James Gichuru Rd and Bikram Yoga in Lavington Green Shopping Mall
Loresho- Wasp & Sprout.
Make sure you check out Kipato Unbranded and stay tuned for more from Kipato x LPNY. For more information visit the Kipato Unbranded x LPNY Homepage.