Fun Homes: Authentic brand inspired by Africa, made in Kenya
By Tony Karanja
A decade from now, FunKidz hopes to be a 100%sustainable business, moving the needle from their current use of 50% upcycled material for their nifty multi-use products for both the mother brand and the offshoot, FunHomez, which is just three months old.
Founded by Wanjiru Waweru Waithaka 11 years ago FunKidz has been innovating, designing and manufacturing children’s furniture using upcycled material. We sat down with Ciiru - as she is popularly known- to talk about FunHomez, a business that she started as a result of the COVID 19glolabal pandemic.
Would you say the segue from FunKidz to FunHomez is by design?
Far from it. FunHomez isn’t coincidental, but at the same time it was not in our horizon at the beginning of this year (2020). When the pandemic hit and the country went into a lockdown, we saw an opportunity to start doing home interior furniture since people were spending more time at home. We started with tea trays then evolved from there. So far we have come up with some really cool products.
Please tell us a little bit about the material you are using?
At the moment, 50% of our material is upcycled. We are hoping to move the needle to be a 100% sustainable business by 2030, using recycled material for all our products. Currently, we are using timber waste and bamboo. For some of our products like our little jiko, which can also be used as a centre piece, we repurpose some accessories and upcycle others using the circular economy model.
How would you say the market response has been?
We’ve only done this for three months and so it may be a bit too early to tell. However, we have received good feedback from our clients who find our homegrown brand authentic, innovative and unique. Our products are versatile and multifunctional. For example, we have lots of home décor and accessories like the water jugs that double as flower vases too. We also have the standing bicycle desk that can be used both for work and entertainment. These multi-use products allow our customers to bring the outdoors indoors.
We had the ice bucket at a picnic last week and it served as a stool and at some point, lid top became a tray for our snacks. Quite nifty! Which one is your favourite product?
All of them. Each of our products is designed, made and sourced with heart and as a result we find each product unique hence all are my favourite.
You mentioned that you had to close the workshop for 3 months due to the lockdown. How did you navigate this?
Fortunately, we did not have to lay off any anyone although we have now permanently closed our showroom. After 3 months of being on hold, we powered up our machines and did what we do best, create. This has ensured that people come to work every day and they are able to put food on their table.
What’s in the pipeline for FunHomez?
We are always innovating and creating and we are working on some really exciting products that we will be bringing to the market soon. At the moment, the holiday season is here and people are already looking for gift hampers. We are already putting some together.