Jokiboki sells customised, handmade products online

Jokiboki is a new online store in Malmo, Sweden that sells customised handmade leather and canvas products sourced from Africa. Established by Kenyan Njahira Gathara, the store markets uniquely, handcrafted spacious, durable leather bags and other accesories for everyday needs. It also engages in corporate branding to help express a business’ unique identity through customised corporate gifts, restaurant and office accesories, leather folders, briefcases, etc.

Jokiboki, in its first year of business having set up shop about five months ago, hopes to showcase that Africa is not only a consumer of ends goods but can be an exporter of such goods, as opposed to only exporting raw materials. It hopes to actualize its vision of becoming a hub of exotic and high quality accesories in Scandaniavia and the whole of Europe.

Gathara recently responded to some questions from Nordic Africa News (NAN):

NAN: Who are your costumers in Sweden?

Njahira Gathara: We are a web based company, my market is not limited to Sweden, it is the market of first contact but I consider my market to be Scandinavia and Europe in general.
I am targeting upward mobile, middle to higher income consumers with an appreciation of the unique both men and women. My target market is looking for something other than what is mass produced, quality that lasts and travel or have an interest in travelling.

Njahira Gathara

Do you worry about the price of the bags?

Buyers have and always will be concerned about the price of a product. However, pricing is not the only determinant in the purchase decision, the relationship between price and quality is equally important. For what we are offering, our prices are fair. All our bags, purses, wallets, and corperate items are handmade, the leather is of high quality and are made to last. The same cannot be said for mass produced items that last only a season.

Many African shops are selling bags in Sweden, what is so special about your leather bags?

I do not categorise my shop as an African shop – Rather as a shop selling exotically acquired, quality, handmade items. These items are branded which means we can trace their origin not only to country but to material source. Therein lies the first difference. Materials are sourced and processed to European standards, producers follow a code of ethics both in production and treatment of employees. Design is contemporary. While our accessories are in use, nothing distinctly identifies their source, rather, the feel of the product and the look of superior quality is the distinguishing factor.

Are you making some profits after one year?

We have been in operation for about five months now. Our goal is to be profitable of course. The reception of our products has been good, we are making sales, our main objective in our first year is to learn, and to get ourselves out there. Our narrative is one of turning what are usually markets that export raw materials cheap and import expensive finished goods – to finding, marketing and selling exports of high quality from the same markets. It is not only a profit issue but one of empowerment.

Charles Massaquoi

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