This year, to celebrate Mother’s Day, we asked mothers that pioneered impactful enterprises and are part of our Ethical Lifestyle Hub Directory, what is driving them to lead a business with purpose. Those we highlight are mothers of strength, compassion, and resilience - working toward betting the world around them as well as being a mother. This blog highlights Diana Akkerman of Koguis
Koguis are the last descendants of the Tayrona civilisation from Northern Colombia and the carers of the world. We are committed to support the indigenous communities and artisans from Colombia since 2010. Our goal is to help to preserving the endangered traditional techniques passed on by generations and the cultural inheritance of the artisans through ethical trade. Our unique pieces are made of natural fibres and pieces like the Tagua nut jewellery. Our range extends to Foot wear, handbags, Homewares, cook ware, Eco-jewellery, Knitted accessories, Hand woven Panama hats, Woollen felt hats and more. Koguis is the Australian and NZ Business partner of the Fair trade Global Mamas brand from Ghana. Their stunning organic cotton hand printed batiks range.
Tell us about you and why you started your organisation
I migrated to Australia in July 2004, I met my husband to be, Justin (who is Australian), back in Colombia in 2002.
After arriving and feeling quite lonely and far away from my family and friends in Colombia, and missing my professional life (fashion design), I also realised the little good things were known about Colombia (starting with the name so often misspelled as Columbia).
At that point, I realised I had to give it a go-to to do better for my people and who I did proudly represent.
Did motherhood encourage you to set up an impactful business? Why? OR Did motherhood encourage you to change your business?
Thinking of a better future for my daughter and a fairer world for all our younger generations is always inspiring me to be bold and brave to stand for ethical practices and support Fairtrade business models.
What impact do you hope to achieve through your business (or are achieving already)?
We have achieved lots so far, since our humble beginnings back in 2010 when my daughter was only 2 years old, just the fact we could support many indigenous communities and artisans was overwhelmingly positive.
Since then it is the invisible engine that doesn't stop, every thanks and good message from all our artisans so grateful for their support and their families is certainly a key to ensure we keep standing today and every day,
We see the benefits of kids being sent to schools to be educated, to invest in the community funds to alleviate hunger, to keep indigenous communities attached to their cultural inheritance and traditions by telling them how important is to be an indigenous person, not to mention to be the role model for their kids, widen the horizons of the Colombian culture and Fairtrade practices much more to reach now not only South America but African artisans too through our Business partnership with international Fair-trade certified organic cotton fashion brand Global Mamas from Ghana.
What legacy do you want to leave behind as a mother to your children?
As mentioned above, a better understanding that business could be a platform to lift others along your way of life. It is not a personal journey but the journey that you believe in a better world, that you are and keep standing to shape it better and see the results of it.
Our products are all made from natural fibres, plants, wool, organic cotton, wood, etc and only support toys and pieces that are sustainable
Not only this but we do partner with 15 Trees local Australian company to plant yearly trees to help the process of offsetting any carbon emissions we run into running our business, (that we do recycle every single box/packaging we do receive to send it in another order, use only paper bags from a local company, etc etc
Koguis is a beautiful business that has received the support of people and organisations since 2010, more than a decade now, we have also received the Fair Traders of Australia Endorsement in 2020 plus have been a Member of the Fair Trade Association of Australia and NZ since before Koguis creation. We became involved with Moral Fairground and Susanna back in 2012 and supported many Fair@Square until time and energy was allowed but also we deeply support she's another admirable mother running her social enterprise along motherhood, a beautiful initiative indeed. The Endorsement was given for our work with the Colombian and Ghanaian artisans, and we look forward to growing on our support indeed.
Our customers love our products and give us such positive feedback, we are humbled to have survived through pandemics times and the many challenges small businesses experience and we sincerely thank every one of them for their support.