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 two 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 whole-heartedly 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.
Ellie Bangle >
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.
Este Necklace >
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 feels?
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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