Ensuring a Future

Shuka Duka

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Shuka Duka base in Karen, Nairobi.
Shuka Duka base in Karen, Nairobi.

Shuka Duka was started as a new business early in 2011. It stemmed from an idea that Emma Forbes had from her sister, who had organised a hamper from a local restaurant for a day out. It sparked the thought that this could be replicated, but with exclusively Kenyan products, and preferably non-perishable items that would appeal to the tourist market. The business is located in Karen, close to the centre of Nairobi.

Over the years Emma has built up a lot of contacts with local artisans who practice a wide variety of skills. Working from home, Shuka Duka utilises local skills paying each artisan a good rate per piece. The artisans make a good regular income while also being able to maximise work from other sources enabling them to carry on with other projects and orders generating money back into their community.

Levi at work on preparing Ndocu picnic blankets.
Levi at work on preparing Ndocu
picnic blankets.

All the artisans are based in Nairobi within the suburb of Karen. Emma works with a number of artisans including Willis who owns the heavy-duty sewing operation employing 4 staff who work on a variety of projects. . Christine is a seamstress and does undertakes regular sewing - gift bags etc. Emma also works with Sarah who has a team of ladies who do Maasai bead work and basket weaving as per the needs of Ndovu Designs requirements.

Levi and completed Shuka Picnic blankets.
Levi and completed Shuka Picnic blankets.

The Shukas (Swahili word for blanket) are worn by the Maasai men as their main article of clothing and are draped or tied around their body. The shuka is traditionally a red colour but are commonly sold in a variety of colours and designs. The shukas used by Ndovu Designs are spun outside Nairobi and the picnic blankets waterproof backing is also purchased in Nairobi. The leather used for the logo patches comes from Limuru and Tigoni.