Our Story This story starts with a gold stick shift Volks Wagon Jetta station wagon that was on its last legs. In 2014, founders Case Bakker and Jessie Lyon met and began selling Ecuadorian alpaca blankets out of the back of Case's car. At the time they didn't realize that they were laying down buiding blocks that would later become a full time job for both them and six others, but as time passed, they were increasingly inspired by the organization being created from their efforts, and the potential impact it could have for communities locally and globally. With the help of a notable collection of loyal and hardworking friends and family, Case and Jessie remain partners with big dreams surrounded by a team they couldn't do it without. Our Name Pokoloko comes from the Spanish phrase "poco loco" meaning "a little bit crazy." This is what our Ecuadorian artisan partners used to call Case at the very beginning of their relationship, and when Pokoloko was just Case and Jessie working out of the back of Case's car, indeed it did sometimes seem a little bit of a crazy thing to do. As our organization evolved, the central meaning of this phrase has stuck with us and reminds us every day to think outside the box, trust your gut, do what you love, and never stop adventuring.
Our Core Values Direct Every Step We Take Craftsmanship Pokoloko works directly with over 100 independent artisan partners in 6 countries on 4 continents. Our unique relationships are real, our artisans are our friends and partners, we care about their economic and social stability, and as we grow, they do too. Our collaboration with these master artisans serves to empower their culture, preserve their heritage, contribute to their local community's development and traditional knowledge, and share their work with a global audience. Entrepreneurship We believe in, and are a direct result of, the empowering potential of small business. We provide long-term, respectful, and consistent employment to artisans who do not live with the advantages of infrastructure and opportunities. We facilitate global networks for artisans without access to organized selling platforms. We micro-finance the purchasing of tools and equipment to support our supplier partners in growing their own businesses. Through our commitment to self-determined fair wages, business education, safe and healthy working environments, and micro-financing, our artisan partners are able to increase their capacity to build, and they're able to take their own businesses to new places. Community Community empowerment is a major focus for us, we are always asking the question: "How can we serve our community at home and abroad?" Our supply chains honor the fair trade principles of no child labor, no forced labor, and no discrimination. We stand for fair payment for goods and services, freedom of association, gender equity, and healthy working conditions. Several of our partner artisan groups are female-led, often in cooperatives, which affords them self-determining governance and more control over their own lives and careers. In Peru, we work with a group of female sewers and embroiderers who have been victims of domestics and sexual violence. Our work with them supports their ability to create a higher quality of life so they can self-sufficiently protect themselves from exposure to dangerous environments. Many of our artisan partners are small-scale, family-based operations with only a few refurbished machines in their backyard workshops, and our work with them has allowed them to expand their tools, and technical and creative abilities. Sustainability We use sustainable, upcycled, and natural materials throughout our collections with a focus on regional materials sourced from the artisan's own home landscapes. We commit and contribute to the idea of conscious consumerism in which goods are purchased selectively, and are expected to last. We are in the process of eliminating single-use plastics from our packaging which includes eliminating packaging entirely where possible. Our goal is to have all packaging be made from 100% recycled or compostable material, and we are nearly there.