What is Obakki?

Founded in 2005 by designer and humanitarian Treana Peake, Obakki is a purpose-led lifestyle brand that is focused on providing access to modern, sustainable goods handcrafted by artisans from around the globe. By championing intentional living and slow design, Obakki believes in the importance of understanding and respecting the process of how the objects that we include in our lives are made. All Obakki products are thoughtfully designed and ethically made, and every item purchased makes a tangible social impact.

How has Obakki evolved?

Obakki originally began as a fashion label with the goal of creating ethically designed ready-to-wear. Through the years, the brand’s commitment to slow design and sustainable consumption has grown. As a result, Obakki Founder Treana Peake began focusing on building relationships with indigenous artisan groups from around the globe to develop ethical, handcrafted homewares and lifestyle products, as well as smaller, more meaningful apparel collections.

The new Obakki caters to conscious consumers who want more from the brands they choose to support. As a company that is driven by purpose, Obakki ensures that the highest levels of dignity, respect and social responsibility are upheld in creating and sharing these special products that connect consumers to a real story.

What products are available through the new brand?

Obakki’s new line of ethical, handcrafted homewares and lifestyle products bring meaning and connection to your home. Created in partnership with artisans around the world who are experts in their craft, collections include homewares, jewelry, beauty and clothing.

How does my purchase give back?

Obakki’s main mission is to support and expand our artisan partnerships, and to fund development work through the Obakki Foundation (the brand’s philanthropic counterpart). Focused on providing clean water access and livelihood initiatives in Africa, to date the Obakki Foundation has helped over 3 million people.

What is intentional living?

Intentional living involves slowing down to be mindful of the choices we’re making, and understanding the impact that they have on the environment and the community around us. Whether it’s the purchases we make, how we spend our time or the relationships we keep, the things that make up our lives should reflect our beliefs and values. In the same vein, we should know where our products come from, who made them and what impact our consumption has on the world as a whole.

How does Obakki work with artisans?

With an eye towards slow design, Obakki Founder Treana Peake has tirelessly built relationships with world-class artisans within their indigenous communities. All Obakki products have been handcrafted by these makers, and by respecting each individual artisan’s creativity and technique, Obakki helps to preserve vital traditional methods while elevating the hands that made them. Adhering to fair trade standards, Obakki works directly with artisans from concept to completion to ensure that the supply chain is sustainable and that partners are paid fairly and promptly

How does Obakki support its artisan partners?

With every Obakki purchase, consumers are supporting meaningful income opportunities for artisans, their families, and their communities. Obakki provides a platform for these talented makers to share their craft with a global audience and the company’s entire mission is to put profits back into artisan development.

If there is a need, Obakki has helped artisans facilitate sustainable local practices, ensuring their livelihood is not dependent on this partnership. Obakki also invests in community development through the Obakki Foundation’s programs, so partners can improve their local communities and living conditions. With that in mind, many of Obakki’s artisan partners may already have well-established practices and don’t require this type of support.

How does Obakki facilitate sustainable practices?

Obakki Founder Treana Peake strives to meet with each artisan partner in person, fostering genuine relationships around the globe to ensure that the highest levels of dignity, respect and social responsibility are upheld as Obakki works with these vital communities. The brand’s authentic connection with their artisan partners allows Obakki to trace each product from concept to completion, ensuring that the highest level of sustainability is maintained.

Is Obakki B-Corp Certified?

We are dedicated to balancing purpose and profit, and actively working to become a Certified B-Corporation. To do this, we are legally required to consider the impact of our decisions on workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. We are joining a community of leaders, driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good. You can learn more about B-Corporation Certification here.

Where is the merchandise shipped from?

All products ship from our studio in Vancouver, Canada. All products are consolidated and items from different artisans always ship together.

Is Obakki a Fair Trade business?

Obakki is committed to working with artisan groups around the world, and this includes our partners in underserved communities. By personally traveling to each country and using only local materials, we establish sustainable relationships with our artisans and ensure that they follow fair trade practices. This includes paying fair wages, providing a safe work environment, and not using forced or child labour.

How do you choose artisans to partner with?

For decades, Obakki founder Treana Peake’s passion for design and lifelong dedication to making a difference in the world have informed her travel choices. She is always on the lookout for ethically sourced, artisan-made goods, but she is equally interested in the people behind the products.

Treana has formed partnerships with people and communities that have lasted decades and she continues to meet with each of our artisan partners, ensuring that the highest levels of dignity, respect and social responsibility are upheld as we work with these vital communities.

She is committed to preserving, progressing, and celebrating the diverse craft cultures around the world, while also creating sustainable change in underserved areas through our Obakki Foundation projects.

How do Obakki and the Obakki Foundation work together?

The Obakki Foundation partners with individuals and communities in Africa, identifying gaps and strategically investing in reliable livelihood programs. Obakki covers the administrative costs of the Obakki Foundation, allowing for 100% of donations to go directly to these programs. Through our artisan programs, Obakki also invests in partnerships that support sustainable economic initiatives.

How much do you pay your artisans?

We are 100% purpose-led, meaning we put our artisans above profit. We purchase products directly from our artisan partners at a price determined by them. However, we recognize that every artisan is different - and therefore we make sure that we work directly with them in order to take into consideration their specific economic, individual and cultural situation.

For our well-established artisans, we operate at a traditional 50/50 margin. For artisans who are striving to establish themselves, we operate differently. With Amadou from Mali, where our Obakki Foundation isn’t active, he receives 75% of the profit.

In some of our more rural areas, where our artisans need more support, rather than buying at western prices, which can create dependence that hinders sustainability, we purchase at a price determined by the village (usually double local market value). From there, we reinvest 100% of our net profits back into expanding our artisan partners’ businesses and into their communities through our Obakki Foundation development programs.

What is the difference between being purpose-led and charity?

The work that Obakki does is never charity. We source ethical, high-quality products from traditional artisans and rural co-ops who are experts in their given fields. These partnerships offer good trading practices and independence-building prices, while providing creators with global market access.

We have authentic connections with all of our producers—we know them, their families and their communities. Through these partnerships, we ensure sustainability, integrity, and respect while helping to preserve, promote and protect indigenous artisan craft.