Writer, artist, and a budding reporter, Ciru is one of Soko’s current fellows, specializing in content and the voice behind some of our latest artisan profiles. When she’s not delving into the stories of the people behind Soko jewelry, Ciru (who also goes by Naomi and TheLonesomeBounty), is a passionate advocate for the environment and social change.
Let’s start with the basics — why did you join Soko?
From the moment I was introduced to [Soko founder] Ella, by the founder of the Amani Institute (where I studied social entrepreneurship), a feeling of excitement overwhelmed me.
I love wearing beautiful jewelry - If my work helps the artisans whose pieces I buy live better lives and pass on their awesome skills, that gives meaning to what I do.
The team at Soko was very friendly and welcoming when I first visited. It felt just like home. Part of enjoying what we do is enjoying the company of the people we work with. I saw myself enjoying work at Soko and what better reason for doing work is there?
How did your previous experiences influence your interest in Soko?
My work has largely revolved around the arts sector, where I have done stage and screen acting, African traditional and contemporary dance, as well as performances as a singer and guitarist. Through all this, I have found myself creating content to work with in performances.
In addition, I have been running a personal blog since 2010 and doing some professional writing as a blogger and copywriter.
My other interests include using art for social change. Stories are a powerful tool for the communication of ideas. My passion lies in asking others to consider the impact of their actions on the natural environment we live in.
What you hope to gain from your fellowship?
The first thing I hope to gain is the satisfaction of telling stories that matter - those of the artisans that make our jewelry.
I am also very interested in the process of making high-quality, upcycled, jewelry. One of my goals is to raise awareness about plastic pollution by encouraging artisans to use plastic bags and bottles as a raw material. I would like to start a project where the proceeds from this jewelry is used to clean up a river in Ngong, a town near Nairobi where I once lived.
Favorite piece from the Kenya Collection?
This is a very hard question for a jewelry addict! Each and every piece on the website captivates me…I am still trying out everything and staring at a delighted self in the mirror!