Nkuku - Bridges Fund Management

    

    






























 






    
	            
			    
    



		
		    

    
    
    





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Nkuku

Ethical homeware brand supporting independent enterprises and traditional artisans around the globe

Investment Strategy

Growth Business

Theme

Stronger Communities

Date of initial investment

March 2021

Bridges Executives

Emma Thorne
Laura Noorani

Thesis

Today’s conscious consumers are increasingly looking to buy from from brands that share their values. So businesses that are thoughtful about impact across their entire model – from using sustainable materials and processes, to proper treatment of staff, to trading fairly with suppliers – can often find themselves at a competitive advantage. In parallel, as consumers spend more time at home in the post-Covid world – and do more and more of their shopping online – we saw an opportunity to invest in online homeware retail, a market that is already worth £2bn and is expected to grow at c.8% p/a in the coming years.

Investment

Founded in 2002, Nkuku is a retailer selling handmade and ethical homeware and lifestyle products. The Bridges team identified Nkuku as an authentic, purpose-led brand well-positioned to develop into an ESG leader within its category, given the strength of its mission to support and work with independent businesses, fair trade enterprises, social projects and co-operatives around the globe. The business values transparency with its suppliers and supports economic empowerment through ethical trade, while also striving to minimise its impact on the environment. For example, it uses sustainable and natural materials, focuses on traditional methods of production and curates collections that last beyond seasonal trends. Products are available primarily via Nkuku’s e-commerce site, and its existing B2B channel continues to grow.

Outcomes

Nkuku is well-placed to spearhead and champion the role of ‘ethical consumerism’ in the premium homeware market. It works with around 4,300 employees in the supply chain, across 45 Tier 1 suppliers who hold an external supply chain certification such as WFTO, SEDEX or BCI. 100% of suppliers either have this Tier 1 certification or have signed Nkuku’s supplier manual. Post Bridges’ investment, the business is committed to refining and optimising its approach to impact measurement and management.