The Challenges facing Kipato Unbranded in Kenya
It's never easy to start a business let alone keep it alive, thriving and profitable. LPNY got the chance to talk with Kipato Unbranded, the jewelry house which has created a formidable partnership, friendship and relationship with the artists. 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.
Here's the challenge scoop:
How does youth unemployment play a part in the vision and work of KU? Kipato Unbranded seeks to not only support our artists, but also to employ youth, especially young women. With the rise of youth unemployment in Kenya, we train young women to ensure they have the necessary tools to work within the sector and beyond. Our team of under 25 – is able to manage all KU operations domestically and internationally as well as run all of our events.
Kipato Unbranded introduced a team of Brand Activators to not only promote the brand, but also to teach these young individuals important skills they can use in their careers. Besides building our teams’ capacity internally, we promote their work outside of the social enterprise – with other employment and growth opportunities, including supporting their creative projects such as photography, modeling, journalism, and fashion.
What are some difficulties you have found trying to enter the international market? The main challenge is finding the perfect fit in a partner. We are a fair trade and ethical brand and look for partners that support and stand for the same cause. It is always difficult penetrating into a different market, especially internationally. We work hard to share our story as much as possible through our social media portals which helps to raise awareness from partners, potential stockists and wholesalers who also believe in our vision and mission. We also intentionally target ethical trade brands and reach out for potential collaborations that way.
Another challenge may be one that we encounter in the (very near) future when we have large orders and have to ship in large quantities. We are starting to see an increase in demand for our products, especially internationally, and in large amounts. However, we are working on increasing our artisan base in order to meet the demand.
How do you maintain the company afloat? What are your price ranges? We recently increased the number of stockists in and outside Nairobi, which has increased Kipato Unbranded’s sources of revenue. This coupled with events we are able to keep steady stream of revenue coming into the business. We have also increased our stockists internationally and produce our items to wholesalers in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Our prices are very affordable ranging from 10-50 dollars. We aim to provide luxury pieces at affordable rates.
What can we expect to see in the near future from Kipato Unbranded? We plan to continue building the brand by strengthening our online presence, especially focusing on a specific digital strategy tailored to increasing sale conversions from our pages and website. We look forward to increasing our stockists outside Kenya, and through this we will be able to promote and build the brand internationally. With the upcoming changes we will also need capital and hope to get funding to grow the business and employ more of our amazing team on a full time basis. We would also like to employ more artists and design new creations. All in all, success in 5 years and even more success in 10 years!
We can't wait to see Kipato Unbranded surpass all their challenges and grow! Checkout the Kipato Unbranded x LPNY homepage for more information and creatives!