Enterprise is the Lifeblood of the UK

Enterprise is the Lifeblood of the UK

Life can sometimes surprise and delight us when we are least expecting it.

On a recent trip to South Devon, in the middle of lush rolling hills and high hedges, dressed in campion, primroses and daffodils, we happened upon an old agricultural barn that has been converted into a retail unit and café.

At the entrance to the property, two corten steel gates announced that this was the home of Nkuku, a lifestyle store selling a wide variety of homewares. Mirrors, lamps, rugs and furniture sit alongside beautiful leather bags and folios and so much more.

When Ali and Alex Cooke were travelling in India eleven years ago they discovered a stream of local artists and artisans creating products that the couple knew would be appreciated by folk back home.

Harlal and his fellow villagers were hand stitching beautiful leather goods in Rajastan in northwest India. Puru and his friends were creating modern and practical pottery in Tamil Nadu while Nandu designs and produces a range of fine jewellery in West Bengal.

Through their contacts across India, Ali and Alex have developed a Fairtrade supply of rustic goods that are obviously appealing to a cross section of British home makers.

From their HQ at Hartbertonford near Totnes they have expanded to a retail unit in Brighton and another near Chichester, also in Sussex. So popular are their choices of imports that John Lewis and 1,500 other retailers are all wanting to sell Nkuku goods.

What a pleasure to come across these entrepreneurs and to enjoy their enterprise and hard work. It’s people like Alex and Ali, creating, employing and expanding that make SMEs in the UK so vitally important – and they have four young children to bring up as well!!

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