LONDON — When Hanneli Rupert set up Okapi over 10 years ago, she was looking to leverage South Africa’s resources and create a world-class luxury product that was entirely coming out of her native country.
The result is a brand that has full traceability and works with local ostrich farmers in the town of Oudtshoorm, to produce luxury leather bags and accessories using skins which are a byproduct of the food industry.
These were not elements of the business Rupert was as vocal about during Okapi’s earlier years, but as the sustainability conversation heats up and consumers are demanding to know more about a product’s provenance, she is now ready to reap the benefits of having set up a fully transparent manufacturing chain: Okapi is growing its presence in London with a series of consumer-facing events; made its debut on Net-a-porter and Rupert is now also plotting new category launches, starting with fine jewelry this summer.
“I started by setting myself a very hard task to really do everything, from beginning to end in South Africa, even the hardware is done locally. Setting up the infrastructure for that and training the people took a lot of time and investment,” said Rupert in an
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