Imagine if … handknitting was the new language of global connection.
It would weave and connect brands, consumers and artisans together in a manner that people never imagined. Conversations of caring and interest would take place.
KOCO means Knit One garment Change One life. We are handknitting experts and handknit for global fashion brands.
KOCO is more than a manufacturing hub. We are handknitting life-changing fashion. We employ a lady, train her in the art and science of handknitting as well as reading English and mathematics. At the end of her apprenticeship, she can handknit one garment perfectly and we have transformed her life.
KOCO is a company established in Australia in partnership with women who live in rural southern India. What began as a solution to producing handknitted garments off shore for my label is now a sisterhood of artisans and a business with the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development entwined in our DNA. We are delivering on the UN’s Goals of Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Reduce Inequalities, and Responsible Consumption and Production.
KOCO began with ten women, sitting on the floor of a home in a rural village. I didn’t speak Tamil, and the ladies didn’t speak English, but we were determined to make the business work.
We established a paid apprenticeship and afterwards quality control measures to ensure every garment was made to exacting specifications without machine intervention – no waste, no carbon footprint.
We have scaled the art of handknitting to a science able to produce commercial quantities of garments, all 100% handknitted. I employed more ladies. We now employ 100 women in India. Each of our artisans supports a family of six or seven people, so KOCO is changing the lives of more than 600 people right now.
Every day I hear stories of what the work means to our artisans. I see them blossoming into confident, strong women. Most of our artisans had never been to school. For many, working at KOCO is the first time they feel their own value and their self-esteem is growing.
Bringing these ladies together, away from their domestic life has created a wonderful sisterhood. This connection is an integral part of the KOCO story which is touching the hearts of brands and consumers around the world. We are building a very large women’s only business which is handknitting the world together.