Smartphone Sleeve by Kancha
UK & US
Felt and Leather Phone Sleeve – €29
Kancha’s luxe wool felt and leather smartphone sleeve comes with a handmade label signed by one of its craftspeople in Kyrgyzstan. Made from 100% natural materials, the Naked sleeve has what the company refers to as its ‘Kancha cut’ smart closure so you can easily slip your beloved gadget in and out to protect it against drops and water. It is made for smaller sized smartphones, generally 5-inch in screen size or smaller so it will fit a Fairphone, iPhone 5/S/c, iPhone 6, HTC One Mini 2, Sony Xperia Z3 Compact plus Samsung Galaxy S3/S4 and S4/S5 Mini. If you have a bigger phone, you can email and Kancha will show you a sleeve that fits.
Kancha was founded in Berlin in 2013 after its co-founder Tobias Gerhard discovered the 4,000 year old tradition of felting on a trip to Kyrgyzstan. Its products are made from locally sourced and natural materials by craftspeople in Bishkek though some of its leather tanning and yarn is not fully organic. Kancha says it aims to build an ‘upright’ company and has an office in Bishkek which supports local, social entrepreneurial projects. The first Kancha shop opened in Berlin this April and the company offers free worldwide ‘green’ shipping.
To make the sleeves, raw wool is washed, combed and pressed and raw leather – a waste product of animal husbandry, is cleaned, cut and tanned. Kancha reduces the use of potentially toxic materials and works to balance all of its carbon emissions. In terms of CO2 emissions, Kancha says that plane and car transport ‘ruin’ its balance but that it aims to have 0% emissions (including compensation) in 2015. Another of Kancha’s goals for 2015 is to use 100% organic materials.
Kancha focuses on three aspects in its work in the Bishkek community: improving working conditions via fair payment, flexible agreements and health support (sick leave, doctor visits and medication are covered); minimising the ecological footprint of its supply chain and sourcing and producing the products 100% locally to increase rural production and entrepreneurship. The average monthly wage in the Kyrgyzstan textile industry was around $55 in 2011 and Kancha’s minimum wage for workers is $250 per month. It also offers microcredits for craftspeople.