Our founders, Uniqua and Kirsi, watched a documentary on Netflix called The True Cost. With both having backgrounds in fashion – Kirsi in design and Uniqua in marketing and journalism – learning about the industry’s reality caused us to come up with a better way. Soon we found ourselves in India, and from there, our little idea began to grow into the start of TAKARA United.
As we were educating ourselves on how to do things better, we together got a spark of an idea. Our vision was to create a brand that empowers the poor, elevates artisans, creates opportunities, and helps preserve the practice of culturally significant handicrafts.
That small spark turned into a fire as we got the opportunity to visit Freeset Bags & Apparel, a fair trade accessories company based in Kolkata, India.
Freeset brings women out of Asia’s biggest red light district, teaches them to sew, and gives their lives new worth on many levels. We got to witness first-hand how good design can be used as a force for change and social empowerment. From hearing empowering stories to watching the delicate hands of artisanal Indian women carefully calibrating cotton scarfs and fabrics on a handloom, we knew we were on the right track.
From there, the fire kept spreading. And the more people we talked to, the more we understood we aren’t the only ones who want a breath of fresh air and cleaner clothes. Uniqua took a business course and drafted a plan, while Kirsi started sewing and designing. That’s where Ida tagged along, and the rest is yet to come!
The True Cost
It kind of all started from watching the documentary The True Cost.
We wanted to create something that gathered together treasures from all over the globe, from handwoven silk shirts in India to beautifully made Moroccan rugs, in a way that had a positive impact and benefitted everyone.
Before we knew it, our curiosity and passion took us to Kolkata, India. We spent three weeks in the heart of Asia's biggest red light district learning more about how to doing fashion in a better way.
Next, we had to learn about entrepreneurship and the ins and outs of running a business. We're still educating ourselves and learning.
Good things don't come easy. We had a fall throughout our process and it seemed like everything that could go wrong, went wrong. We pushed through and soon after, our first product samples were designed and made.
Networking and building
Most recently, Ida joined us. Now we're working on networking with partners, building a community of like-minded women, and getting our core collection to production. We love every second of what we do.
What's in store
We're excited for the future to unfold. Some of our plans include getting our online shop set up, and adding on ethically made natural skincare and wellness products.