Ali and Alex met in London. Ali was working in corporate finance and Alex, after a brief stint in interiors, had just completed some voluntary work in Kenya. The pair decided to head off on a round-the-world trip in 2002. First stop, east Africa.
From the outset they were inspired and humbled by the artisans they met and felt there was something they could do to work and support the artisans, as well as providing a business opportunity for themselves. Their passion for the environment and fair-trade practices, as well as an interest in traditional crafts and interiors, formed the basis for Nkuku.
The original business plan was jotted down on the back of a paperback on a beach, and the name Nkuku was borrowed from a village they passed through in Zambia. The plan focused on the same core values that are maintained to this day: Ethical, Eco-Friendly and Handmade.