ArtiKen's Story

While the company is a little more than two years old, the building blocks started when Founder, Chris Hough, was running track for the University of West Florida in 2008. His coach brought on a new teammate from Kenya, Titus Cheruiyot, who arrived wearing a beaded bracelet customized with the Kenyan flag design. Chris had inquired about the accessory and asked Titus to bring him one the next time he returned to Kenya, but his teammate never made it back to visit his home country.

Years later while working for Nike, Chris was running along a trail near the company’s Beaverton, Oregon, headquarters when he crossed paths with Paul Chelimo and Shadrack Kipchirchir. Hough recognized them right away and noticed that both athletes were wearing the same beaded bracelets that he coveted several years earlier.

Paul Chelimo and Shadrack Kipchirchir (2018 USA 5K Championships)

Instead of continuing on in the opposite direction, Chris decided to turn around and ask about their accessories.

That initial run sparked a lasting friendship between the three, and in the winter of 2015, Chris finally received his bracelet when Paul Chelimo returned from a visit to Iten. Soon after, Chris began receiving compliments and multiple requests from friends who also wanted a bracelet. The demand, as well as the inspiration from his Kenyan friends, eventually inspired Chris to start the company. 


With the lack of clean water available to so many, Chris, after discussion with Paul and Shadrack, made the decision to give 10% of proceeds to clean water initiatives throughout the country.