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By Chere Di Boscio
Imagine you’re a really talented jewellery designer. People love your stuff and want to buy it, but you can’t get a bank account for people to pay you. Plus, you have no computer access, so can’t sell on line.
It would seriously hamper any business, as the women at Soko understood, so they aimed to help talented artisans in Kenya get their goods to a global market.
Working with Soko, these jewellery designers can now upload their jewellery on line via a mobile phone, and don’t need a bank account or even a computer to sell to international clients.
Soko was created in 2012 by women for women to help “fashion a better world” through the equitable direct trade of beautiful goods between artisans in the developing world and web consumers worldwide.
Whilst most Africans have no access to computers, they do have mobile phones, so the Soko solution transforms the ubiquitous mobile phone into a tool that expands access to economic opportunity for artisans in underserved communities, disrupting the traditional export supply chain to revolutionise the way money and goods are transacted into a peer-to-peer exchange. This new technology also cuts out the middlemen to create better economic opportunities, reduced logistical costs and increased profits for artisans.
Besides the ethical standards of the brand, they deserve kudos for their fashion credentials, too : always oversized and chunky, each piece makes a serious statement.