OUR FOCUS ON ARTISAN DEVELOPMENT
Our artisan partners are the soul of Obakki—and the reason we do what we do. Our primary objective is to help talented artists around the world build sustainable businesses that will improve the quality of life in their communities. As a company, being able to offer their incredible handcrafted, slow design pieces for sale in our international market is part of that. But in truth, nothing makes us happier than watching these talented artisans find new markets for their designs, as they innovate and grow. We are not a retail outlet with artisan products. It’s the other way around – we are an artisan incubator with a retail outlet.
We are driven by purpose – and that purpose is to be of service when (and where) we can affect a lasting positive change. We meet individually with each artisan partner to identify their objectives – and those of the communities they live in. Only then are we able to weave those objectives into our brand. We insist that the scale and scope and pace of the project be defined by the people behind the products, not by our own quest to grow as a company. Growth is always tied to the objectives of our artisan partners.
From Beginning to End
We meet with our artisans on a regular basis to review their goals and to determine how we can better help them reach their targets. We work with over half of our artists on a deeper level – we stay involved with the project from beginning to end to ensure our artisan partners’ local needs and goals are being considered and supported.
We have authentic connections with all our producers. We know them, we know their families, we know their communities. We know that Sylvester wants to teach his craft of blacksmithing to at-risk youth in Nairobi. We know that Margaret, who has made baskets all her life in rural Africa, cried when she was finally recognized as a person instead of a basket-making machine. We know that Jose began weaving rugs in Oaxaca, Mexico at the age of nine – to help keep the rich history of his community alive.
Our partners care deeply about the art they create and about the world they will leave behind. They care about their ancestors, who spent centuries developing the processes. They care about preserving their culture. And we care about their needs. Through our partnerships, we are able to help these artisans achieve sustainable income while promoting and protecting their indigenous artisan crafts.
We Are All Connected
Another major objective for us here at Obakki is to fund the development work of our philanthropic counterpart, The Obakki Foundation. Focusing on access to clean water and other livelihood initiatives in Africa, the foundation has helped over three million people achieve a better quality of life. And they’re just getting started. Obakki supports the foundation through profits earned from retail sales of our artisan products.
We are connected to our artisans and so are you – through their stories, through your appreciation for their ancestral craftsmanship, and through the products they create that you buy. And each purchase gives back twice – your purchase directly supports the artisan’s business and helps support the additional livelihood initiatives of The Obakki Foundation.
At Obakki, we believe in people, we invest in potential, and we measure our success in the value our partners create for themselves through our programs. It’s not about us. It never was.
SHOP ARTISAN-MADE PRODUCTS
Brian McCourt is an HGTV star and the founder of Toronto-based Brian McCourt Design Build. We spoke with Brian about his thoughts on sustainability in design, his favourite Obakki products and more.
Falken Reynolds Interiors is a leading Vancouver Design firm and is the creation of Chad Falkenberg and Kelly Reynolds. These two magnanimous designers are featured in our inaugural piece for our new Designer Interview Series.
It’s al fresco dining season again and we’re back with Treana’s signature style for summer – a blend of food, drink, and tableware to make your outside time outstanding. Warm summer breezes, chilled rosé, and simple, Mediterranean appetizers set this stunning European table.