„Soko was born out of a love of design, a combination of global perspectives, the desire to connect and empower entrepreneurs via the use of the technology around us, and a belief that women can change the world.“
- Gwendolyn Floyd, Catherine Mahugu, and Ella Peinovich
- 75 full-time employees & 2300 artisans
- Nairobi, Kenya
- Recycled brass jewelry
Soko was founded by three strong women: Gwendolyn Floyd, Catherine Mahugu, and Ella Peinovich in 2012.
Soko is a jewellery brand and manufacturing platform providing global market access to more than 2300 artisans in 282 workshops across Kenya. Soko uses technology to empower artisans via a mobile app based virtual factory through which artisans directly receive orders and payments. Many jewelers earn up to four times what they would normally earn, thanks to selling through Soko.
Soko is a certified B-Corporation that balances purpose and profit. B-Corps are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.
Each of the three founders has an exciting background in promoting local development and designing technology-based solutions. The three women met when they all lived and worked in Nairobi, Kenya.
Catherine Mahugu has been involved in various information and communications technology for development projects focused on building mobile applications targeting informal communities. She has been recognized globally, including Forbes 30 Under 30, Forbes Africa’s Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs and the BBC 100 Women.
Gwendolyn Floyd is an internationally recognized expert in mobile technology for development and a venture-backed serial social entrepreneur. Gwen’s work in human-centered design has been awarded internationally and she has been honored as an emerging global leader. Gwen states: “Soko is all about the empowered woman at work, from the artisans that create Soko jewellery to the incredible women that purchase and wear the pieces. This sentiment has influenced everything in our business from the innovative artisan impact to the jewellery design!“
After graduating from MIT, Ella Peinovich relocated to Nairobi to run innovation and operations at Soko. She has worked within social enterprises in informal economies for the past five years. For instance, Ella worked as an architectural designer for Sanergy’s pre-cast, serviceable toilet design, which provides a solution for low-cost toilet infrastructure in Kenya’s slums.
Soko jewellery pieces are all feature recycled brass, which is either 24k gold or chrome plated as well as ethically-sourced and upcycled horn and bone, Soko’s designs are inspired by the cultural and creative contexts our artisans are coming from and popular international trends.
Soko connects more than 2300 artisans in 282 workshops across Kenya to the international market.
With every purchase of Soko jewelry you not only support the growth of the brand but WLP also directly contributes its profits to projects supporting the artisans and their communities behind each product.
Read more about White Label Project’s commitment to support brands and their communities by sharing its profits.