There is a fine line between cultural appropriation and awareness and appreciation. Akojo Market are amplifying the voices of African artisans and ethical brands to give them access to a lucrative Western market. With one fundamental goal, to put the brands in control. We meet co founder Natasha Buchler to find out more.
An Online Marketplace With A Difference
Natacha Buchler is the Co Founder of Akojo Market, founded in 2019 with Annie Rudnick. Akojo Market is an E-commerce platform championing independent and ethical brands across Africa and the diaspora. It acts as a tech enabler, providing direct routes to market for brands and makers, bridging the gap between designers and a possible customer base in the West. Since launching last year, they now have 40 brands on the platform ranging from fashion and jewellery to homewares and beauty. Natasha and Annie are passionate about creating a unique retail experience. They are passing the mic to incredible brands, rooted in sustainability and ethics. Brands that are merely lacking a springboard to new customers. It’s all about the stories and the makers.
Building Awareness of African Design and Craftmanship
Natasha makes it clear that this isn’t about appropriation, the brands are very much in control. Instead it’s about building an awareness and appreciation of people who live a fundamentally sustainable lifestyle. However they have been forced away from this natural path because of a Western appetite for fast fashion and disregard for waste. Akojo Market places a huge importance on financial independence too. Their innovative impact tracker shows us that it’s not just a worker who benefits from fair pay and working conditions, but their many dependents too. Colonialism and Western style capitalism took agency away from these people, Akojo Market are putting it back in their hands.
With thanks to Natasha Buchler of Akojo Market
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