NOMINEES

Shokay
Community category

About

A lifestyle brand using yak fibers to provide warmth, comfort, and style.

Detailed Description:
Shokay yak down derives its origins from the mountainous Himalayan regions of Western China. Our fibers are hand-combed from the yaks that dwell there, whose ancient existences continue to serve as a life source for the Tibetan herders.

Known drawbacks of design:
-

Website:
http://www.shokay.com/

Designed in:
2006

Status of realization:
In production

Challenge(s):
environment, fair-trade, lifestyle, technology

Form/Impact/Context

Form
Shokay is a social enterprise started with one cause; "to identify the right opportunities that could impact impoverished regions in China…" The opportunity presented itself in Tibetan Yak, which is a resource for fabrics and yarn that equals the quality of cashmere and mohair. Shokay, the Tibetan word for Yak, sells luxury fibre collected in the inlands by local nomadic herders and processed by a number of hand knitters near Shanghai. The fibers are hand-combed from the yaks that dwell there, which is an ancient existences.

Impact
They aim to impact the lives of marginalized communties oppressed by poverty. By introducing luxury yak down to the global market, they hope to create a market for yak fiber, thus increasing the value of the raw fiber to provide herders with long-term employment and a greater sustainable income. Shokay’s development impact is four-fold: Direct income generation; Preserve local culture; Promote sustainable usage of the environment; and Community development work.

Context
Shokay currently works with 2600 people from the Hei Ma He Village of Qinghai Province in Western China, providing a sustainable source of employment and income to these herders. By setting up fiber cooperatives in each sub-village, it is their goal to help grow each eco-system to provide a safe and transparent vehicle for addressing local development. Yak owners in Western China generally earn less than $400 per year. These Tibetan herders live in remote and isolated areas with minimal infrastructure and lack access to market opportunities. By purchasing Shokay products, one are supporting sustainable economic development in Western China.

Business

Proven and/or potential effects:
Shokay can now be found around the world in over 100 stores in 10 countries.

Is the design protected by patent or ip registration?
Patent

How has the development of the design been financed hereunto?
External investments

Is there a plan for future investments?
Yes

Is there in-house competencies to secure market roll out of the design, with regards to investment, distribution, sales, etc.?
Yes

Credits

Designed by:
Carol Chyau

Title/Role:
Co-founder

Professional status of designer:
International Development student

Nationality:
China

City/Country of residence:
Shanghai, China

Name of company:
Shokay

Designed by:
Marie So

Title/Role:
Co-founder

Professional status of designer:
International Development student

Nationality:
Hong Kong SAR

City/Country of residence:
Shanghai, China

Name of company:
Shokay


Manufactured/Produced/Commisioned by:
China Exploration and Research Society
http://www.cers.org.hk/