Our Story

Ali and Alex met in London in 2002 and embarked on a round-the-world trip, inspired by their love for travel. Encountering artisans during their journey in places like East Africa and India, they were compelled to support traditional crafts while starting a business. Their ethical, eco-friendly values formed the basis for Nkuku, named after a Zambian village.

After sending purchases home during their year-long trip, they relocated to Devon and began selling wares at markets, using proceeds to design a collection with an Indian family business. Orders were hand-picked from a Dartmoor hayloft, with their newborn kept in a makeshift cot.

The wholesale business evolved into a retail brand, expanding collections while retaining their first journal design. It grew from the hayloft to utilizing third-party logistics, a garage, shed, and an old mill office as market stalls became a lifestyle store.

Now with four kids who test products, Ali and Alex lead a team passionate about stylish, handmade homewares, continuing their decades-long journey rooted in ethical entrepreneurship.


Our choice to work with natural, reclaimed, and recycled materials is a driving force behind the creation of our collections. We draw inspiration from the inherent texture, character, and beauty of these materials, designing pieces that allow their intrinsic qualities to take centre stage.

By repurposing waste materials from other industries, such as cotton from recycled t-shirts, recycled glass, metals, and textiles, we reduce our environmental impact while crafting stunning new products. Utilizing raw materials like jute, rattan, and wood forges a connection with the natural world – from the woven braids of golden hemp to the warm tones of sustainable mango wood, the timeless beauty and quality of these materials are evident in our pieces.



At nkuku, we collaborate with independent businesses, social projects, and cooperatives, prioritizing the cultivation of enduring relationships and working towards shared success. We believe that fair trade practices provide an opportunity to build a promising future, fostering business growth and creating sustainable employment opportunities. These founding principles remain at the core of nkuku's values today, and we take pride in being a certified B Corporation, joining a growing community of companies that are redefining business by balancing purpose and profit.


At nkuku, we take great pride in celebrating traditional craftsmanship, ensuring that time-honoured techniques are preserved and passed down to future generations. The bond between an artisan and their handcrafted creation forges a unique story and connection. Our pieces showcase the inherent texture, natural patina, and honest markings left by the maker's tools, embodying the beauty found in imperfection. We believe these distinctive characteristics imbue our products with unmatched character and set us apart.


At Nkuku, many of our collections are handmade in India. Our visits there revealed the country's beauty but also the hardships faced by some communities. The charity FRANK Water caught our attention for improving living standards in remote, underprivileged areas by establishing clean water systems.

FRANK Water focuses on improving access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene in India and Nepal, particularly for communities left behind in recent progress. Their team helps combat waterborne diseases by installing boreholes and safe drinking water, freeing up time for education and home life.

To learn more about FRANK Water's invaluable work, visit their website.

‘Til The Coast Is Clear

Our head office and store are located in the beautiful Devon region, near the stunning South Coast. We recognize how fortunate we are to reside in such a scenic part of the world, but we also feel a shared responsibility to contribute to keeping our coastlines free from plastic and waste pollution.

'Til the Cost is Clear is a Community Interest Company dedicated to making the world a better place, one piece of plastic and one happy soul at a time. They focus on regeneration efforts, working with local communities to clear shorelines of plastic pollution using specially designed recyclable boats and a fleet of kayaks made from recycled fishing nets, all crewed by volunteers from diverse backgrounds.

"Our mission is to improve the condition of our natural environment and connect people with the great outdoors for improved physical and mental health. We call it 'Active Regeneration,' and it works," says Gary Jolieffe, the Founder.

To learn more about their invaluable work, visit tillthecoastisclear.co.uk.