Building Fast Fashion’s Ethical Virtual Factory of the Future with Soko’s Gwendolyn Floyd

When is a jewelry business not really a jewelry business at all? Today on this episode of the Spirit of 608 podcast when we get to know a stylish startup company whose underlying technology and way of working with over 2,500 artisans in Africa is almost more eye-catching than the on-trend jewelry the site now sells online and in partnership with more than 400 retailers around the world. Almost. We dare you not to fall in love with their collections of ultra-giftable earrings, necklaces and bracelets.

Meet this week’s guest, Gwendolyn Floyd, co-founder of Soko.

What you’ll learn

Consumer tech like mobile wallets and Apple Pay still make headlines in the western world, but did you know that a mobile-first approach is arguably old news in many African nations? Gwendolyn shares how Kenya’s advanced mobile infrastructure led her and her co-founders Ella Peinovich and Catherine Mahugu to rely on mobile phones to build the “virtual factory” model underlying their business operations.

How you’ll be inspired

Soko is not only building a company that sells jewelry, it’s creating an entirely new way of working with international artisans, one that can be scaled and used by other brands who want to manufacture ethically and affordably. Listen to Gwendolyn explain how they’re building a private label manufacturing arm of their business and how it is designed to work for smaller, independent brands and big players alike.

What you’ll tell your friends

Did you know that fast fashion can be ethical? Say whaaa? While fast fashion has become a dirty word in the ethical and sustainable fashion space, Soko says otherwise. Setting out to prove, it’s possible to produce stylish, relatively affordable goods quickly, Gwendolyn talks about ethical fast fashion and how tech might just be the saving grace for consumers who want inexpensive products that follow the trends.

Resource of the week

Your mind. Okay, explain. Gwendolyn tells us how a combination of some good R&R and constant learning can keep your mind sharp. From digging into topics from history to human behavior, she finds the inspiration to solve business problems.

Connect with Gwendolyn Floyd & Soko



Twitter: @Shop_Soko

Instagram: @shopsoko


Mentioned in this episode:

Here Is The Founder Of A Massive Mobile Market For Africa’s Artisans










T-shirt motto: Just give a damn.

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