Meet The Arc Light Team
As a small business that is owned and run by Kenyans, we have witnessed and continue to see the individual creativity and the defiant collective resourcefulness of the craft industry. These shared experiences have blessed us and put us on the same path with gifted and awesome artisans, weavers, designers, jewelers, carvers, textile artists, tailors, metalsmiths, woodworkers and others. Without their input, experience, skill and teaching, our little shop would grind to an embarrassing halt. So allow us to share with you the stories of the people, the culture, the craftsmanship and the heritage behind our products.
At The Arc Light, we operate an in-house studio in Kenya and also partner with local artisans to create beautiful products that are crafted by hand. The very act of creating art can serve as an outlet for the stress, anxiety, and dissatisfaction people experience in their daily lives. As makers, artisans and creators, we have found that we can express ourselves through art in ways that simply aren’t possible using any other method. In the design and production of our eco-friendly products, we pride ourselves in being big supporters of fair-trade and the empowerment of women.
We connect cultures using vibrant, local and sustainable art, fashion and lifestyle products that are inspired, fashioned, carved and crafted around themes that interweave African stories, elements and Heritage.
We use sustainably and ethically sourced material including African Wild Olive, Acacia and Palm tree, sourced from plantations or approved areas in South-Eastern Kenya. We also use family-grown organic cotton, eucalyptus fiber, discarded coconut shells from the Kenyan coast, soapstone from Western Kenya, sisal from Eastern Kenya, and recycled Brass and Copper sourced from landfills in Nairobi. And we are constantly exploring new materials and different forms of expression.
A lot of brands especially those dealing with community and artisan groups, do not offer information of the Co-ops or artisans that they partner with. It’s not that these brands are concealing unethical practices or such. This is done mainly to keep a supplier exclusive to a brand because some of these brands invest a ton of resources in the form of training, the development of facilities and in building relationships that go beyond conventional supplier-buyer formal relationships.
However, we don’t agree with this practice because for a brand to truly empower the communities, cooperatives and artisans that it works with, the brand should not hesitate to direct awareness and opportunities towards its suppliers.
Greater transparency is only the first step towards making change in the lifestyle and fashion industry. This should go beyond the smiling photo of an artisan holding a sign that says ‘I MADE YOUR PRODUCT’ to giving proper recognition to the creator of an item, including, if applicable, the location that the artisan operates in. This reinforces brand transparency and credibility and allows individuals, brands or anyone interested, to seek out these artisans and ultimately, to provide economic and growth opportunities to them.
At The Arc Light, we view our local artisan suppliers as valuable partners. We therefore require any brand, making a connection through us, to treat our suppliers with respect, to be fair and to engage with them as equal partners. In order to be transparent, we must also be accountable and responsible. It would be quite unfortunate for us to have facilitated an exploitative or an unfair partnership. If you are a curious cat, an academic or part of a brand that would like to sustainably and ethically source any of the above material, feel free to contact us (shine a light) for our vetted supplier list. We do not charge or make money for this information.
We also offer consultation services for individuals, brands, researchers or those wanting more detailed info or anyone interested in knowing more or seeking to benefit from our extensive R&D in design, material, craftsmanship, and compliance in regards to Kenya-made heritage and artisan craft. Feel free to reach out (enlighten) for more information.
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