At KANCHA, all is centered around its people: that entails YOU, our craftspeople and artists in oriental Kyrgyzstan and finally us, who are driving the project. Well, and for all of us we want the best! Thus we design innovative and functional lifestyle accessories, which make your day-in day-out a tiny bit better. In order for you to know, who exactly was responsible for your fine piece of handicraft, our handmade-label goes with the signature of the person who created it - our homepage then will show you the face behind the name. And those faces better be happy - that's why we guarantee fair wages and production requirements, a social impact fund for health expenses & microcredits, and we invest into the future of our local employees. Yep, and finally we as the project team would like to earn our living with that social business, employing further employees in Kyrgyzstan and Germany. As soon as the whole shabang generates a profit, we will donate a significant part of this to a self funded foundation through which we strive to support innovative and conscious entrepreneurs in Kyrgyzstan.
Aha - and why felt? Well because the Kyrgyz Nomads tested the material for over 1000 years and vouched for it - even the Yurt (this round tent in which Central-Asian Nomads live) is made of felt! This long lasting tradition explains why so many Kyrgyz people still process felt and why we eventually decided to use it.
With KANCHA we want to prove, that globalization can have its bright sides too - we just need to handle it right. The good old Give and Take - that's what we believe in. But since the "Outsource-Generation" was rather busy with the Taking, we now need to put a bit more focus on the Giving to keep the balance. With our Social Impact component we strive for following objectives:
a. A more secure and independent life of our craftspeople and employees in Kyrgyzstan
b. 'Opening doors' in Kyrgyzstan: for the craftspeople, the acquisition of new designs and quality standards; for the entrepreneur, a platform to foster ideas and projects; or even for the unemployed a new workplace.
And with our design process, which is bridging the gap between Berlin (Product Designer Jonas) and Bishkek (Graphic Designer Parizat) we feel confident that the urban nomads of Europe gladly "Pack their Tech" into Kyrgyz felt!
Either: you fancy the design. Thank you!
Or: you fancy us. Thank you!
Or: you fancy the idea and believe, that it is a project worthwhile supporting. But it is an adventure as well, and not as easy-peasy as we hoped. Especially for the production we need support: in order to implement our social impact goals effectively we plan to open our own workshop in rural Kyrgyzstan and employ local craftspeople directly. At the moment we cooperate with 2 small workshops in the capital Bishkek, which is fine, but not yet the optimum. Because, the more middlemen stand between us and the actual craftspeople who get the job done, the less control we have about fair wages and working conditions. This by the way is also one of the big problems that H&M & Co. are facing in Bangladesh...
With your support we set up our own workshop in Kyrgyzstan!!
The collected cash will primarily flow into 2 Things: the production of the first ~500 Sleeves and its related costs, as well as the first investment into our directly controlled workshop. And that's the way the cookie crumbles:
€15.000 Crowdfunding sum
-€3.000 Material for ~500 products
-€3.000 Handcrafting of ~500 products
-€3.000 Initial investment for own workshop
-€1.500 Social Impact fund for health expenses and microcredits in KG
-€1.500 Product Design
-€3.000 Transport and Business Development
While at this stage around 10% of the sales directly flow into our additional social impact fund, we aim to increase that number in various ways. But first we need to get the business going!
Time of delivery: We try to send the sleeves as soon as possible to you - at latest you will receive them ~5 weeks after the end of the crowdfunding campaign (October).
As it is a natural product, the leather color might differ slightly from the photos.
Tobias Gerhard first traveled to Kyrgyzstan in 2011 and is since fascinated by the traditional handcrafted art. Having worked both in the fields of media (The European) and international policy consulting (Ramboll Management Consulting, GTZ Nigeria), he developed the concept for a social business at Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance in Berlin. He currently manages the production from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Sebastian Gluschak is a true working nomad. After three years of experience as a management consultant and jet-setter with A.T. Kearney and external support of the Social Impact Lab in Berlin, he helped to kickstart the idea of KANCHA. Sebastian is responsible for marketing and sales across Germany.
Jonas Görtz, Maestro of the KANCHA Designs and inventor of our "Cut-principle", is a product designer in Berlin. He works for the reknow creative agency ‚Dan Pearlman‘, and -as a Berliner - obviously has his own project running with BOKEH backpacks. His philosophy is based on minimalism - thus KANCHA sleeves have no additional closure. His conviction of minimalism is so strong, that in his ideal world products no longer exist....
Aigul Turdumambetova knows Kyrgyzstan better than the back of her hand. After graduating in Management of Organizations from the Academy of Management in Bishkek she worked as a lecturer at her faculty. She is fluent in Russian, Kyrgyz and English and with her language skills and local expertise makes sure that things run smoothly in Kyrgyzstan.
Oskar Kim is known for solving problems before they arise. With extensive experience both in the development sector (USAid projects) and the private sector in Kyrgyzstan, he serves as legal and practical advisor for KANCHA.
And a big THANK YOU is due to the true nomad Nadine Böller and the virtuoso Eddie Faassen for filming!