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Spotlight: Meet The Team Behind KusudiCo

With local Mzanzi roots that run deep, the team from KusudiCo is on a mission to create sustainability and opportunity in South Africa. We chat to founder Mike McKay about how this brand fulfils its mission and the many collaborations and inspirations that have helped to develop the company into what it is today.

Here’s what Mike had to share…

For those who don’t know your brand, what does KusudiCo mean?

Kusudi – Swahili word meaning purpose or intention. Co – is for Community, collective, collaboration, company.

The grouping of these two words is the foundation to describe how we aim to build and do business.

The first of which is our purpose-driven mission. Everything we do, we do with purpose and intention and is represented by the Swahili word “Kusudi”. “Co” defines what our “Kusudi” or purpose is. For us, it stands for Community, Collective, Collaboration, and Company.

Coming up with a name for a business or collection of products is quite a process and it can be both fun and frustrating. I eventually settled on the name and confirmed it, whilst driving somewhere between Worcester and Laingsburg on a road trip with my son. No better place and time to be brainstorming something like this.

Tell us more about your mission towards sustainability in South Africa?

I have spent the last 12 years of my working career, sourcing and developing products in other parts of the world and importing them into South Africa. I have learnt a great deal working with European, Chinese, and Indian manufacturing facilities.

I have absolute clarity and I feel with no doubt, that we collectively on a large scale need to add more value to raw material here in our country and we need to import less and export more! We can, must and should become more self-sufficient and competitive as a nation.

So, in some small way, we want to be a catalyst for job creation. To date, our little business has created 3 direct jobs and in two instances given employment to two individuals who have been without work for over a year.

We believe that we have the talent and the resources available in the furniture and décor manufacturing space to develop and supply the local market with an expertly made competitive product. We want people to be conscious of what they buy and support local not just because it’s local, but because it’s better.

We have the appetite, skill, and experience to stimulate growth and it is our longer-term intention to export the product we create.

Your products are understated with clean simple lines, using quality raw materials. Tell us more about the designers/artisans that you collaborate with?

One of the core values of our brand is deeply entrenched in its creation – “a spirit of adventure”.

The business plan has taken well over a year to develop. It included a father and son road trip across the country, which would ultimately inspire the creation of KusudiCo today. This journey led to an understanding that the talent and passion of South Africans breathe life into our nation during the most trying economic times. It was on this trip, during July and August of 2020, that Alexander and I visited countless workshops, factories, and potential suppliers. He was my photographer and responsible for much of the factory photographic content and documenting the journey.

It was about finding business partners that share the same or similar values and had a longer-term view of looking at this project. Individuals that strive for continuous improvement.

It is essential to us that each of our manufacturing partners promote good working conditions, fair wages, and have a passion for creating beautiful, high-quality products consistently. We only collaborate with manufacturing partners who understand the importance of responsible sourcing and have complete transparency on all materials throughout the creation process.

For those not confident with their DIY skills, are you able to assist them with assembly?  

All our items are supplied in a box, so this question is very important, and we have spent a great deal of time understanding how to make things easy for our customers. We currently offer a service delivery option for the Gauteng region where our team is ready to assist with assembly and installation! Our trained service handymen, Tazz & Sibu will do the work for you, to ensure that your product is properly assembled, placed where you want it and installed according to your wishes, at a time scheduled by you. Packaging will be removed for recycling.

For those who feel comfortable assembling items themselves, or if they live outside of the Gauteng region, easy-to-follow instructions are included in the box and are also available on our website.

How does your designer loyalty programme work?

 We created the designer loyalty program to thank our tribe for continuing to shop with us. The program offers more and more value with each future purchase. It is very simple to join – customers simply must open an account on the KusudiCo website and make their 1st purchase. They will then be awarded points for each purchase and as they move up a designer level, will be awarded discounts on all future purchases! Another wonderful feature of the program is that, once you have joined all economy deliveries from your 2nd purchase onwards will be free of charge.

You are proudly Mzanzi born and raised! Which South African designers are currently inspiring you?

There are many good SA Designers, but we do not really follow designers or get inspired by individuals. What inspires us are retailers, marketplace platforms or spaces that give ordinary creative people the opportunity to show off their work, creations, or ideas! It’s these channels that give people with ideas hope and the chance to grow businesses here in South Africa.

Retailers like Carina Marescia from Nap, who stocks many small local designer ranges and artisanal crafts of all kinds in her 5 shops; the Cape Design Institute (CDI) platform that through www.peek.org.za showcases great local product and they do wonderful work in developing craft traders; 100% Design and Laurence Brick & Cathy o Cleary who have worked tirelessly in promoting good product and local brands and the late Yanni Vosloo, friend and ex work colleague of mine, who led amazing initiatives to promote young designers and small talented suppliers, using MRP Home to develop their commercial viability.

Lastly, your very own SA Décor and Design platform is hugely inspirational, and it has assisted many small business ventures to get off the ground.

What do you love about living in Jozi, any best-kept secrets? 

Johannesburg is a city like no other. There is a palpable energy on the streets of Jozi – no better place to see the culmination of the rainbow nation that we pride ourselves on. Everybody is just trying to make it here, it is fast paced and energetic, driven and ambitious, but also a display of the deep economic troubles that we have faced as a country. It serves as a constant reminder for us as a business to continue to explore avenues of growth and create sustainable employment opportunities in SA. Through all the hardship, there is unbelievable talent in this city. Hopeful creatives exploring their passion and talented artisans constantly innovating. There are a few gems where this is on full display and where we find inspiration. Kramerville, Melville, Rosebank and Parkhurst, Victoria yards and Braamfontein are all musts for anyone looking for inspiration.

You can shop the latest products and also discover more of the great work being done by KusudiCo online HERE.

1 Comment

  1. Carina Marescia

    June 23, 2021

    Amazing new brand Kusudico
    Love the commitment to local. We as NAP are proud to represent some of the amazing products in our stores. Wishing you and your Team the best of the best


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