July 4th is a special day for us. It marks the founding of ArtiKen in 2016, the day we launched an idea into the world. Our founding took us from an informal operation to bring people handmade Kenyan bracelets, to a company geared towards bringing beautiful handcrafted bracelets to the world while giving back to Kenya through clean water projects.
Things looked very different for us four years ago. Over that time, we’ve grown from a small side business launched by Founder and CEO Christopher Hough to, in our humble opinion, the best handmade jewelry company in the world. From July 4th, 2016 to now, July 4th, 2020, we’ve redefined what it means to provide quality bracelets and other accessories, all handmade in Kenya, to the world. And we’re not slowing down.
Founded shortly before the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, our first appearance on the world stage was anything but quiet. Paul Chelimo, a relative underdog going into the Olympics, tucked in behind the leaders at the start of the 5000-meter final and never let up. Paul brought home the silver medal for the United States with our original USA Flag bracelet on his wrist.
Since that incredible day in Rio, our products have evolved beyond our wildest imagination. The USA Flag bracelet looks a little different now, and we’ve expanded to hundreds of products. One year ago we redefined and elevated the company with ArtiKen branding on every product. You’ll find a trio of Earth Brown, Courage Red, and Aqua Blue beads along the edge of all of our bracelets as a tribute to our roots.
The core mission of ArtiKen has always been to give back 10 percent of our net profits to clean water initiatives in Kenya. Over the course of four years we’ve helped build clean water tanks, sanitation stations, protected springs and more in Kenya as an effort to lower the number of people who live without access to clean water. Every purchase helps us with this mission, so if you’ve ever purchased anything from us, you’ve contributed to this cause.
Since our founding we’ve also worked with organizations big and small such as the Brave Like Gabe Foundation, Black Girls Code, and African Wildlife Foundation to give back to important causes that improve people’s and animals lives. We’re proud to be able to support these causes thanks to everyone who purchases the products linked to them.
In the past four years, we’ve also been lucky to collaborate with some top-level athletes, from Jordan Hasay to Nikki Hiltz to the Bowerman Track Club and Tinman Elite. Seeing our products worn by athletes at the Olympics and World Championships all the way down to high school dual meets is a privilege that we are very grateful for.
With the new directions ArtiKen has taken, we’ve spent the past year expanding our horizons and bringing you increasingly detailed products. We launched our first Kenyan-made apparel piece this year, the Break The Cycle shirt and this is just the beginning of a new step into the apparel game with our Tie-Dye collection coming July 17th!
Four years ago, this was just a side hustle. ArtiKen was part of a niche market for handmade goods, and has since grown to be a premier supplier of Kenyan art to people and communities around the world. We have some incredible new products lined up to release, and the artisans creating them are working on new ones every day. Four years is just the beginning, and we can’t wait to see where we are in four more.
As for today, we just moved into our first office and we're still in shock!
Thank you for the continued love and support!