How Aklill Is Unleashing the Potential of Ethiopian Bamboo

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The International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) has reported that Ethiopia has two-thirds of all bamboo found in Africa. But income and livelihoods generated from bamboo does not reflect this fact.

Aklill is an Ethiopian lifestyle brand that uses bamboo as its fundamental raw material. It creates handcrafted lifestyle items and accessories that are inspired by Ethiopian culture and heritage. It aims to promote sustainable living by creating everyday essentials from sustainable sources.

Aklill was founded by Yididiya Damtew, a young woman passionate about creating crafts from sustainable materials. Aklill’s journey began in 2018 with its first product Sheba Socks. Sheba Socks is an eco-friendly sock brand that is made from bamboo and initially inspired by the Queen of Sheba Patterns. As the brand grew its designs also grew to incorporate more symbolic Ethiopian patterns.

Aklill’s product line has grown since then to include rugs and cushions made from bamboo fiber. Aklill’s founder Yididiya mentioned Ethiopia’s bamboo is underutilized, burnt, or exported for a low price when it can be used to create products and generate revenue.

Aklill focuses on creating its products from bamboo because of its decomposable and eco-friendly nature. Through utilizing bamboo as its primary raw material for fiber, Aklill aims to unleash the market potential of Ethiopia’s bamboo and build a bamboo fiber industry.

To build Ethiopia’s bamboo fiber industry, Aklill is currently focusing on product development and creating customer bamboo product awareness.

Aklill launched its first retail shop in April 2021 with a rug exhibition. Since its launch, It has generated 25,000$ from sales and was able to build a strong customer base. According to Yididiya Aklill expects a 70% growth in revenue in the coming years.

The brand is now working to increase its production capacity to meet demand and maximize revenue. It is looking for investment and strategic partnerships to achieve these milestones.

Aklill aims to create a sustainable local value chain sourcing bamboo locally, supporting local artisans for product designs then reinvesting revenue earned into the establishment of the bamboo-fiber industry.

Aklill was part of The Good Business accelerator program that graduated 10 startups in June 2021, after a 10-week long entrepreneurship development training.

Aklill’s ‘Adey Abeba’ runway was recently used in place of the traditional red carpet in an inauguration ceremony of a national mega project in Ethiopia.

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