Peperuka, the brand that tells African stories

Wangari Nyanjui

Peperuka founder and designer Wangari Nyanjui (left) and a model carrying a tote bag with popular Kenyan sayings.

Photo credit: Pool

The brand tells African stories through unique products with powerful symbolic representation and language

Peperuka is a lifestyle brand that tells African stories through unique products with powerful symbolic representation and language.  The founder, Wangari Nyanjui , says she is passionate about designing for impact. For every purchase, a percentage of the proceeds goes to Peperuka Foundation, which trains and mentors young girls in the fashion industry.

Their products range from apparels, accessories, home décor and gift items that are inspired by everyday life.

What is the genesis of the brand name ‘Peperuka’ and your butterfly logo?

Peperuka in Swahili means ‘to soar’. We built our company with an aim to rise above average and fill lives with more than just beautiful things.

Are you a trained designer or creative?

I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Art Centre College of Design in Pasadena, California. I have also attended business programmes like the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women and Launch and Grow, a programme for women in business held at Babson College in Massachusetts, US.

How do you balance production between your different product lines — from fashion to lifestyle?

Some items are produced seasonally and others in limited edition or on-demand. We have t-shirts, magnets, coasters, cushions and mugs in our collection throughout the year. Some messages are classics such as ‘Me I Love Nairobi’, ‘Me I Love Kenya’ and ‘Mapema Ndio Best’ while others are specific to a moment such as ‘Wacha Tuone Vile Hizi Elections zitaenda’.

Between pop-up events and online marketing, which one has impacted your sales the most?

Pop-ups are great as we engage with our customers better and understand their needs, which in turn allows us to improve our strategy. We have launched our own event called ‘Pop N Pep’ at The Go Down Arts Centre in Kilimani —  a unique quarterly experience of shopping, music, art, food and games.  There is one taking place this month.

 As a patriotism ambassador brand, how are you promoting the Kenyan narrative of #BuyKenyaBuildKenya around the world?

We source locally and have the ‘Made in Kenya’ seal from Brand Kenya.  Our apparels have been worn by international celebrities and we also have customers from the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Germany and beyond.

Your top 2023 plans?

Currently, for every item sold in the Wangari Maathai line, we plant a tree, but we want to do much more and align more of our business processes with doing good for both people and the planet.

By Connie Aluoch Styling Management

Fashion Assistants: Sophie Kinya and Albert Kagguai

Featured Brand:

Instagram: @peperukaworld


Models: Juma Jatteh, Nelson Kidula, Serena Ngetho, Sharon Kelly, Stacey Tetu

Photography: Canelle Kuyabi