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Lemon tree and garment with blue background

Kenyan Craftswomen making artisanl products

Case Study

Retraced hosts Case Study "Reclaiming African Brands” by Kipepeo Afrika (Kenya)

The “Reclaiming African Brands” Case Study is an initiative of Kipepeo Afrika, a smart, managed, marketplace for verified, licensed and ethical merchandise.

Kipepeo Afrika has selected the Oracle's blockchain and Autonomous Cloud infrastructure hosted platform solution retraced to power this Case Study, which is the first of it's kind on the African continent. The following is a 'case-study-in-progress', written by Kipepeo Afrika founder and CEO, Raychelle Injette, with a variety of announcements and exclusive updates about the exciting new partnership.

The Case Study

This Case Study will be undertaken in Kenya and will provide a model for the rest of the African continent. We have selected products from four authentic well known Kenyan handcrafted product categories that have become a global sensation. They are:

  1. Maasai bead and leather craft (Sandals, Accessories & Jewellery) from the Maasai, Samburu, Rendile, Pokot and Turkana pastoral communities
  2. Maasai Shuka (The iconic bright red handmade wrap that’s the traditional dress of the Maasai community in Kenya & Tanzania)
  3. Kikoi handmade 100% colourful wrap from the coastal region of Kenya
  4. Kiondo from the Akamba, Taita and Kikuyu tribes
various rooms in a home with different African color schemes

Example of Kenyan craftsmanship used for interior decorating.

African prints shown throughout a home

African color and design continues to turn heads in the interior design field.

The Problem; There’s no Platform to prove the authenticity of African handcrafted merchandise

Despite the above listed top four Kenyan handicrafts enjoying runaway success on the global fashion scene, the owners and originators of the beautiful iconic designs, local names and content, do not benefit as they should. Worse still, most brands have diluted the content and generated fake stories to meet the expectations of gullible buyers who are awed by African product stories.

Handicrafts that have African names or stories are booming business on the global scene, to the extent that some international brands have patented traditional Kenyan designs and names as their own, effectively stripping local communities of the rights to use and benefit from their own names, designs and content. This problem exists because there is presently no African owned Platform that protects the creative rights of content generators and crafters.

Kipepeo Africa seeks to demonstrate in this Case Study how customers can trace and buy authentic merchandise from a sustainable supply chain in Africa. Kenyan crafters will be the first in Africa to offer their customers the opportunity to verify the quality, authenticity and sustainability of their crafts as they get to hear the real product stories from their suppliers.

In the absence of this platform, genuine, original crafts with amazing stories and a rich cultural heritage are competing with little success with mass machine produced counterfeit crafts produced from sweatshops around the globe.

kenyan beads

Kenyan beadwork

Man wearing traditional masaai attire

Traditional Masaai Shuka

About The Founder...

Kipepeo Afrika was established by Kenyan ethical business owner, Raychelle Injette, to be the "Single Source of Truth” between Africa and the world. The Platform is powered by integrated cutting edge technology, that includes enterprise blockchain, artificial intelligence and IoT.

Why the Kipepeo Afrika Platform?

  • It offers Intellectual property (IP) licensing for creative Africa
  • It monitor Quality Control and verifies certification
  • It provides a sustainable supply chain
  • It is an ethical business model
  • It is a green African marketplace that enables carbon footprint and supports reforestation projects
a variety of sandals in different colors

African inspired sandals

Case Study Product Categories (Kenya)

  1. Maasai Beadcraft
  2. Maasai Shuka
  3. Kikoi handmade wrap
  4. The Kiondo Sisal basket

Using the four Kenyan handicrafts as a model, this Case Study captures efforts of creative Africa to reclaim, own and benefit from it’s own intellectual property.

brown sandals with beads

Masaai sandals for ladies

The Battle has gone global…

Brand Maasai

For the last decade, the Maasai name and culture have been at the centre of bruising battles between the Maasai community and leading global brands, who for decades used the Maasai name for profit, without compensating the Maasai. Currently, the estimated market value of Brand Maasai stands at 10,000,000 USD per anum in annual licensing fees. It was therefore not surprising when a leading global fashion house patented Brand Maasai after a successful Spring/Summer Collection premiere. This effectively means, the Maasai lost the rights to their own name, identity and culture.

Kikoi

The beautiful 100% handmade coastal natural Kikoi fabric that is now being produced by machine globally narrowly survived being taken over and owned by a British firm, thanks to a host of local and international Non Profits that saved Kikoi in the nick of time.

Maasai Shuka

Five years ago, the fashion world was shocked to see an entire spring/summer collection by a leading international fashion house use the well known iconic Maasai Shuka as it's own creation, yet the Maasai Shuka is the traditional dress of the Maasai community from the Maasai Mara and Serengeti areas in East Africa. The fashion house went ahead to patent the of this traditional attire as it’s own creation effectively locking out the Maasai from their identify, culture and name. Incidentally, the manner in which this traditional outfit is worn is in sync with the weather and natural environment of the Maasai game reserve. There is a story behind the dress code which the international fashion house has distorted.

male models walking with a traditional Masaai scarf on

Masaai Shuka cloth showing up on the runway

Kiondo Basket

The Kiondo basket has been struggling to protect its story from being taken over by thousands of brands. The Kiondo is traditionally made by women from three tribes in Kenya; The Akamba, Kikuyu and Taita. The Akamba are historically one of the best crafting communities in Africa. They craft from any material. Traditionally, they started with wood carvings. Due to deforestation, they’re now carving the most beautiful animal carvings from waste flip flops collected off the Kenyan coast, recycled and crafted into beautiful animal sculptures… from waste flip flops.

When the Akamba Kiondo took the global market by storm in the early eighties, the fashion world was awed at the amazing beautiful “Kiondo” baskets. There was such a boom that a leading Asian country attempted to patent and own the traditional Kiondo designs after producing and selling thousands of look alike Kiondos by machine. The attempt to patent the Kiondo is still ongoing 35 years later.

What all this means is that creative Africa is effectively being locked out of benefiting from it's own intellectual property, because it does not have a platform to verify the authenticity of its crafts. Also, African artisans do not have good branding strategies and well established distribution networks. Kipepo Afrika Case Study is going to address the issue of tracing the products to their source in Africa and ensuring the supply chain is sustainable.

a variety of hand made bags

Kenyan craftsmen are also know for their leather crafted goods, such as bespoke handbags

a lady carrying a colorful straw woven bag

Kiondo bag

At a glance...

  1. About one thousand global brands are currently infringing on and profiting from "Brand Maasai"
  2. A leading global brand has already patented the Maasai name as it's own creation, effectively locking out the Maasai from their own heritage
  3. An estimated 10 million USD should be paid to the Maasai annually in licensing fees, once brands comply with copyright legislation. This amount will completely transform the lives of the Maasai and make them self reliant
  4. Maasai sandals like all the crafts in this Case Study are being machine fabricated in Asian sweat shops and sold by the kilo as Maasai products from Africa
  5. The Maasai have been reduced to abject poverty and have lost their dignity because they cannot compete with big global brands or cheap Asian sweatshops
  6. For the Maasai to regain their dignity, they need ethical buyers to buy their crafts, not handouts or charity.

The Campaign - Track and Trace to the Motherland

“Kipepeo wants to empower African brands and makers to become more sustainable…”

Kipepeo Afrika hereby launches the “Track and Trace” for buyers to buy Maasai Sandals off our sustainable supply chain. We invite early adopters to buy the first Sandals off the sustainable supply chain powered by Retraced and to trace their merchandise to the crafters.

a variety of african crafts made for kids

African crafts for kids

mini-crafts of a lion made from colorful rubber material

A lion made from the rubber soles of recycled flipflops

Activation of the Case Study; Buying of the Platform and Establishing the Supply Chain

  • Apply so as to enable us to protect your designs.
  • The product prices will depend on the design, size, length of production time and type of material used
  • The length of crafting time will be determined by the design selected and availability of material
  • Apply to team@kipepeoafrika.com to get the available products for the Case Study
  • We will send you a product catalogue and facilitate your purchase.
  • We have categories for corporate, small business and individuals
  • The benefit of being an early buyer is that you get 60% off Kipepeo Afrika Community “Yetu” membership fees. This means you can access exclusive business information and ready leads that you can’t find elsewhere. You’ll also be able to reach our verified and qualified buyers on the platform.
“Retraced and Kipepeo Afrika - Your connection to the heart of Africa, to people who make ethical products” - Raychelle Injete

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