Expanding Kaiko's production to developing countries has been a long-term dream, which has finally come true in 2020 when Kaiko merged with Store of Hope. Kaiko's first products made in Nepal, jewelry and cashmere knits, were produced with Store of Hope's partners, with whom the cooperation has naturally continued after the merger.

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Why Nepal?

In Nepal, the work we enable has a huge impact. Nepal is a fragile society where unemployment is a big risk for an individual and the effects of corona have further complicated the situation. We know that with fair and stable jobs, we can influence the lives of the people we employ at the grassroots level and create new opportunities that would otherwise not exist in a society like Nepal.

One big topic of discussion is living wages when talking about a developing country where legislation does not guarantee this. We have tried our best to ensure that the people who make our products receive a fair wage for their work. As a reference, we use the salary model of Purnaa, our manufacturer operating in Kathmandu, which calculates a salary sufficient to live in Kathmandu. Purnaa has a WFTO certificate and the factory has also been audited on behalf of the organization. Purnaa also involves employees in decision-making and based on a decision made together with the management and employees, the company decided to pay its employees 17.45% higher wages than WFTO recommended. You can read more about Purnaa's salary model in Purnaa's 2020 responsibility report .

Kaiko Clothing Purnaa

We have used Purnaa's salary model as a basis when we have discussed the salaries of our other partners' employees as well. The company that manufactures all our jewelry has two entrepreneurs, one of whom, Anjila Shrestra Kunwar Rana, also works as a coordinator and cultural consultant for Kaikon's work in Nepal. Kaiko pays Anjila's monthly salary directly, regardless of whether jewelry was being worked on or not. We have decided to do this so that Anjila and her mother's company can focus on training more women to become jewelry makers. During the spring of 2021, they have trained five women who have received part-time work in jewelry.

Making jewelry during the pandemic has been particularly significant for the women who make it, because jewelry can be made from home. There have been long corona lockdowns in Kathmandu from time to time, and no other jobs have been available because the workplaces have been closed. Some of the women are also housewives, for whom working at home is the only option to earn their own money, which also gives the woman decision-making power in family matters.

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Together with Saroj and Arundharti Shah, the owners of our Kashmir producer Posh Pashmina, we have also used the WFTO calculation as a basis. The workers in the Kashmiri factories are skilled craftsmen and their wages are significantly higher at Posh Pashmina than the living wage calculated by the WFTO. The factories have had long layoffs this year due to the corona lockdowns, so the earnings of many employees have fallen on an annual basis. However, Kaiko has been one of the few customers who have committed to ordering products. We have also started discussions with Posh Pashmina about obtaining our own WFTO certificate, and the work will continue this year.

Kaiko Clothing