Karakorum is an ethical home decor brand that focuses on creating social change one fair trade item at a time. We search the world looking for small scale artisans that create beautiful and unique handmade artisan crafts.
Based in the small town of Stroud in the Cotswolds, we strive to support traditional crafts, small businesses and fair trade practices.
We believe in the importance of ethical practices and sustainability in all phases of our business, from sourcing, to production, through to sales and packaging.
Karakorum was the capital of the Mongol Empire between 1235 and 1260 and of the Northern Yuan in the 14–15th centuries. Despite its relatively small size, Karakorum was one of the most important cities in the history of the Silk Road. – which is an ancient trade route that linked the Western world with the Middle East and Asia.
And that is how we see Karakorum today – as a route for trade around the world. Small yet important.
In 2013, my partner and I set out on bikes with the vague plan of heading East and seeing how far we got.
Almost 2 years and over 20,000 kilometres later, we returned to the UK. It was an amazing and life-changing experience. One that inspired me to want to start working with many of the fair-trade artisans I encountered on our journey.
My dream is to introduce you to the beauty of high-quality, homemade and ethical homeware. Practical, stunning and wonderfully different to what you can buy on a UK high street or in standard fairtrade shops.
Would you like to add a splash of colour to your study or living room with Karakorum’s amazing Swazi candles or cosy throws? Or beautify your kitchen with stunning but practical homeware, like our woven baskets and tableware?
You can find all of this (and much more) in my online shop.
Growing up in South Africa, I’ve always been surrounded by amazing handmade goods, from wire and beadwork to wood carving and painting. It helped that my mother was an artist too!
I started Karakorum to combine my love for beautiful crafts, arts and travel with my passion for offering affordable alternatives to throwaway products. We live in a world of fast and cheap goods, where little thought is given to how and why things are made.
I want to encourage you to buy quality goods that aren’t produced at the expense of others or of the environment.
As an ethical company… We try to ensure that the artisans who make our products get a fair wage, there is no exploitation (for instance of children), women are treated equally, and the community and those most in need of work benefit from our trade. Sustainability is also a key principle for us and our makers.