Changing lives, one stitch at a time
Tracey Chiappini-Young and Karen Jansen met while studying at the London School of Economics (LSE). Idealists, both shared a passion to help alleviate poverty and empower women from developing countries. Intense late-night discussions culminated in a decision to build a company which enables women to use traditional hand-skills to earn a living, while revitalising age-old artistries. With over 30 years combined experience in international business, Tracey and Karen established Taunina in 2011. Today it is a celebrated global luxury brand, which is improving lives of women from disadvantaged communities. Taunina serves as a platform for those who need it the most, elevating their creative work, and providing them with access to markets they could never reach before.
A new generation
We were disenchanted with a marketplace flush with sterile, mass-produced, low-quality goods. We were also dismayed by the seemingly limited appreciation of unique artistry in many emerging markets,” says Tracey, a South African. “We could not understand why these art forms were being relegated to compete with low-cost items from China.”
“We studied many artisan-aid initiatives and found that they improved lives, but often failed to make a meaningful and enduring impact,” Karen, a Brazilian-American, adds. “Why? Because they were pricing ‘art’ to compete with mass-produced goods; because they were trying to scale production of something that was not scale-able; because they were trying to sell ‘craft’ rather than art and design; because they weren’t reaching the right markets; because they were devaluing their products as pity-purchases, as charity.”
A gift with soul
Extensive market research highlighted that a new consumer was emerging: a socially conscious shopper, looking to use her purchasing power to make a difference. High-income earners in developed markets are yearning for gifts with more meaning, soul, and the ability to change the world.
And so Taunina was born. A global social enterprise that represents the intersection of art, commerce, and social consciousness, Taunina is set apart by its founders’ resolute determination to make a difference in the world. Taunina combines an appreciation for luxury, the universal love for handmade objects of beauty, and the desire to achieve measurable social impact. Taunina is opening the world’s eyes and hearts to the inimitable value of its one-of-a-kind handmade works of art and soul.
Five values underpin Taunina: artistry, heritage, beauty, rarity, and soul. Each piece is a one-of-a-kind artistic masterpiece that is intended to inspire for generations. Taunina is based in Cape Town, South Africa, with plans to expand its family of artists to Brazil and India.