Growing up in South East Asia Jamie Lim was surrounded by beautiful artisanal crafts - the batik kaftans worn by her mother, the rattan chairs in her dining room and the straw bowls that were used to store fruit. She moved to the United States as a teenager but would often go back to Asia. While she was there she would look for these crafts but noticed that they were slowly but surely disappearing and being replaced by mass-produced synthetic alternatives.
Jamie created Kayu as a way to connect to her childhood memories, as well as preserve indigeneous craft and provide artisans with a living wage. Over the past ten years Kayu has grown but its values and mission has remained the same; to create timeless personal and home accessories using the highest quality natural materials while leading the industry in sustainable and ethical production practices.
We source and upcycle the finest quality natural, organic materials that take into account environmentally friendly, sustainable initiatives. We look for new, pioneering sustainable materials whenever possible.
Our bags and hats are made from natural straw that has been harvested, stripped and dyed by hand. We mainly work with seagrass, a fast growing grass traditionally known as a weed. The majority of 'straw' on the market is made of plastic which stays in our eco system forever. Our straw fades with time giving it a unique patina. Eventually it will biodegrade and return to the earth.
Vegetable Tanned Leather
Our sandals are made from vegetable tanned leather. Vegetable tanned leather is made using only natural and organic tannis and contains no chemicals.
We are working towards zero waste by upcycling our factory scraps into small accessories and donating our straw scraps for use as fertilizer.
Every step of our supply chain is considered to minimize environmental impact. We look for ways to support both environment and worker by reducing waste and energy, by ensuring fair trade practices, and by cultivating long term relationships with artisans and crafts people. Many of the workshops we work with have been family owned for generations where our products are hand crafted using time-honored techniques.
We work with women cooperatives in the Philippines who weave and embroider our bags by hand. Most of these weavers are mothers and making our bags allows them to look after their families while earning a living.
Our sandals are made by a third generation sandal maker in Athens. Each pair is meticulously crafted by hand using premium vegetable tanned leather.
Our hats are carefully crafted by artisans in Ecuador out of traditional toquilla straw. Each hat is made using indigenous techniques that have been passed down through the generations preserving and promoting the artisans unique cultural heritage.
Our monograms are hand embroidered by women in San Francisco. The women we work with are new immigrants who speak limited English and as a result have difficulty finding jobs. Unfortunately this means they are often underpaid and abused. Our intiative provides these women with practical training and an alternative source of income.
15 N. Ellsworth Avenue, Suite 203
San Mateo, CA 94402
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