KOCO means Knit One garment Change One life. We are handknitting experts and handknit for global fashion brands.
Our company is B Corp Certified, which recognises our commitment to the highest social and environmental standards.
There are 17 United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Nine of them fit particularly with our business:
1. No poverty (UN Goal #1)
2. Zero hunger (UN Goal #2)
3. Good health and wellbeing (UN Goal #3)
4. Quality education (UN Goal #4)
5. Gender equality (UN Goal #5)
6. Clean water and sanitation (UN Goal #6)
7. Decent work and economic growth (UN Goal #8)
8. Reduced inequalities (UN Goal #10), and
9. Responsible consumption and production (UN Goal #12)Learn more about the goals here
KOCO was established in Australia in partnership with women who live in rural villages of Tamil Nadu southern India. What began as a solution to producing handknitted garments offshore is now a sisterhood of artisans and a business with the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development entwined in our DNA.
We began with ten women, sitting on the floor of a home in a rural village. I didn’t speak Tamil, and the ladies didn’t speak English, but we were determined to make the business work.
KOCO is more than a manufacturing hub. We employ a lady, train her in the art and science of handknitting as well as reading English and mathematics.
The education and employment at KOCO are breaking the economic cycles in every village we set up our handknitting hubs.
Ladies, many of whom have never been to school, are gaining full-time employment and financial independence for themselves and their families. The flow-on benefits to the community are limitless.
Every day I hear stories of what the work means to our artisans. I see them blossoming into confident, strong women.
Bringing these ladies together has created a wonderful sisterhood. This connection is an integral part of the KOCO story which is touching the hearts of brands and consumers around the world. We are building a strong business run by women and a business of strong women which is handknitting the world together.
We have scaled the art of handknitting to a science able to produce commercial quantities of garments, all entirely handknitted. There is no machine intervention in our handknitting process, no waste and no carbon footprint.
I fell in love with the art of handknitting as a 10-year-old. My great-aunt Pearl taught me the craft during a day off school, and it was love at first stitch.
After a career as a teacher and earning a PhD in musicology, I turned to my love of knitting and fashion to open a retail knitting store in Brisbane called Threads & More. I engaged people with a passion for handknitting, worked on the pattern and garment design, then launched my self-named label in 2009.
In 2012 industrial legislation changes made producing our garments in Australia untenable. I sought an off-shore location to set up manufacturing hubs. A colleague introduced me to a contact in India. I travelled there in 2012 with a suitcase full of knitting needles and yarn.
The first knitting hub began with a group of ten women, sitting on the floor of a home in a rural village. I didn’t speak Tamil, and the ladies didn’t speak English, but we were determined to communicate with each other to make the business work.
At first, our artisans were handknitting for my label. As we perfected the training program and saw how stable work and income was impacting the lives of our ladies and their families, I reached out to other brands to manufacture garments for their labels.
The business is now called KOCO – Knit One (garment) Change One (life).
Our goal is to employ more women and reawaken the fashion industry to the human and commercial potential of how handknitting can change the world.
You can find out more about the KOCO journey, the incredible growing sisterhood amongst the artisans, and how KOCO is becoming a transformative force in the fashion world in my newly published book, KOCO - How handknitting is changing lives and the fashion industry.
LET’S WORK TOGETHER
Our mission is to employ 40,000 women in rural southern India. To achieve this, we need to knit one million garments each year.
We work with brands who value handknitted products and socially-responsible solutions to manufacturing.
Connecting with us shows your customers you’re genuine about making a difference in the lives of the people who make your products.
Connecting with us means your brand stands with like-minded leaders who are bringing a new definition to the term ‘value for money’ by recognising the customer and the maker as equals in the fashion industry.