MADE in Kenya
Here at Wrap London HQ we believe collaboration is key to success, and we always strive to
build strong relationships with our suppliers. For the past three years we've been working with
Made, a small jewellery and accessories brand who are committed to developing the skills of
their artisans as well as raising awareness of fair trade principles in their industry. We
wholeheartedly support and believe in everything they stand for, and we know you will too. Our
mission today is to share their inspiring story with you.
Based in both London and Kenya, Made focus on creating positive change through fair trade
and ethical practices. Every piece in Made's collection is individually handmade at their
workshop in Nairobi using sustainable and locally-sourced materials alongside time-honoured
techniques. Using techniques handed down through the generations, Made's pieces not only
look great, but also tell the story of lives changed through safe, sustainable employment,
training and education. We caught up with owner, Neil Gershinson to find out how it all started
and the importance of sustainability for the brand.
Can you tell us a bit about your story? How did MADE come about?
Made was born 10 years ago, soon after I returned from a trip to Kenya. It's common
to see the beautiful work local artisans sell to tourists, and such wonderful skill used
in many local markets in and around Nairobi. I knew that to really create meaningful
employment these artisans needed to focus their talents on making beautiful
contemporary jewellery that customers in London, New York and Paris would love and
want more of. Now, 10 years on, we have grown to employ over 80 men and women, all
working in a safe, non-sexist, non-tribal environment with all the benefits, security and
opportunities we all take for granted.
What does fair trade mean to you?
To us fair trade means just that, to trade fairly. To treat people how you would want to be
treated, to pay a fair price for someone's work, to show people respect and appreciation
and offer help and support to those who need it in any way you can.
How important is sustainability for your brand? Can you tell us more about the
materials you use?
Sustainability is important to us, but we're not hung up on it, and we don't let it
compromise our designs. It's just something that when working in poor communities like
ours, you do naturally. We don't operate in a disposable society, everything has a value
and everyone is used to making the most of what's around them so sustainability is a
natural way of life. Materials are recycled and locally sourced wherever possible: old door
handles for brass pieces; horn and bone are often by-products of the meat industry and
glass details come from recycled gin or beer bottles. What is very important, and we take
very seriously, is to ensure the business is sustainable and that we don't risk people's
livelihoods. All of our team members provide for their wider families and therefore
my focus is to ensure that Made is around and creating meaningful employment
opportunities for many years to come.
What are some of the key, time-honoured techniques used by your skilled
The team use skills and techniques that continue to amaze me - these men and women
are so talented. Techniques range from hand beading, to soldering and carving, however,
my personal favourite skill is what Collins does. He is one of our casters who makes
amazing jewellery using molds. They are created in a very traditional way from sand and
molasses and smelting recycled brass in our furnace.
Your jewellery is wonderfully understated, whilst adding charm to many of our
favourite looks in the Wrap London collection this season. What do you think it
is about your designs that so effortlessly transform the way a person looks and
We approach design with the premise that our jewellery should add to a look and not
distract. Simplistic, understated charm with hand made originality and quality is what we
try to produce for Wrap London.
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