Our mission at Kaufmann Mercantile is to share, support, and represent makers, independent designers, and brands from around the world. When we met with Treanna Peake we knew we had found a kindred spirit. Treanna, a designer and humanitarian, founded Obakki in 2005 with the focus on creating a more conscious world through the act of intentional living, something we can all get behind.
Obakki believes it is important to both understand and respect the process that goes into creating the objects that are included in one’s life. The company’s goal is to provide access to products that are driven by purpose, and also the opportunity to contribute to meaningful change.
The Obakki team travels around the world to forge meaningful connections with artisans and establish sustainable local markets before taking their products global and sharing their stories with audiences worldwide. As a result, every piece is limited in quantity and totally unique. From homewares created in partnership with like-minded co-ops to high-quality photographs sourced from global artisans who share our ethos, every Obakki product reflects our values of sustainability, traceability, and ethical production.
We are excited to introduce you to the master artisans Obakki has partnered with from around the globe as we bring their products, stories, and incredible craftsmanship to your home.
The Potters Of Akiliba
Located in the rural West Nile region of Northern Uganda is the village of Akiliba. Here, artisan potters preserve the methods of their ancient craft and put it to a higher purpose of pulling the village out of poverty and supporting their community. Naima, a village elder in Akiliba, explained their mission: “We want to get out of poverty and be able to feed ourselves and put our children through school.” The potters source their clay locally, shape it by hand, then carefully stack their pieces into a brush-covered mound for firing. The result is a selection of beautiful and totally one-of-a-kind creations. Through partnership with Obakki, these artisans have been able to take their pottery to a broad, global market and have grown a sustainable local source of income.
The Weavers of Oaxaca
Nestled in Southwestern Mexico is the city of Oaxaca, home to a small but vibrant community of weavers preserving the methods of a centuries old art form. In the 16th century, Dominican monks introduced pedal looms and their traditional methods of weaving to the city Oaxaca and to this day the artisan weavers there continue this deep tradition. Using pure hand-spun wool of local sheep and completely natural dyes, their unique rugs perfectly combine traditional practices with modern design.
The Master Wood Carver From Mali
Amadou is a master wood carver in Mali, Africa, who learned his craft from his father at the age of eight. He has made a living carving with African blackwood ever since. His medium of choice, blackwood, is a highly desirable wood type commonly used for woodwind instruments and guitars. That is until it was realized to be just as useful for plank flooring and industrial logging companies began harvesting the blackwood at an unsustainable rate and threatening the species as well as Amadou’s livelihood. Amadou can only make a living by picking up scraps of wood the logging companies leave for locals. These are the materials they consider “unsuitable” for high-end mass production furniture. Some of these branches are too small or have white markings on the black wood- a feature that makes Amadou’s pieces all the more unique and desirable. In partnership with Obakki, Amadou can continue to support his family with his craft and Obakki can expand their partnerships in the region with micro loans and distribution support for local artisans. They will also use their profits to replant and reforest areas that have been overwhelmed by international companies.
By picking up one of these pieces for your home you’ll be supporting local artists such as Amadou and the potters of Akiliba. Not only will you get an amazing and totally unique piece for your home, but you will also now have a conversation starter to further the mission of Obakki and share the stories of these global makers so that friends and family can support them as well.
Explore the full collection of Obakki Home Decor here.
Written by Connor Roe.
We donate 1% of Kaufmann Mercantile shop sales to charities or entities that promote social justice and reform or provide relief. Read the Kaufmann Mercantile Mission for our commitment to donations, diversity, equity, and anti-racism action.