Chic, life-lasting and exquisite handmade premium leather is the very heart of Lulea. Lulea by Chesneau is an internationally acclaimed premium leather manufacturer that focuses on bag and accessory production like no other. Lulea is not just a brand but an identity that binds the international world to the traditional craftsmanship and artistry of East Africa.
“Carry a bit of Africa with you wherever you go”
Lulea which stands for Luxury Leather Africa produces a range of leather goods; classic backpacks, the creative Parachute bag, chic handbags and trustworthy wallets.
Training the next generation of artisans
Not only is this a business providing jobs to local people in Thika, Kenya but it provides training on techniques and transferable skills in the arts of premium leather. In an increasingly globalised and mechanised world, Lulea aims to preserve the art and culture of leather goods. Traditional craftsmanship alongside a ‘timeless equestrian aesthetic appeal’ can be traced in all the goods.
Who is Chesneau?
Edmond Chesneau, a Frenchman with 40 years of expertise draws refined inspiration from his homeland and Hermes, hardworking ethics from Ireland where he first established his atelier in 1977 and innovation and creativity from his current base in Thika, Kenya. Chesneau moved his business from Dublin to Kenya in 2011 as a consequence of the European economic crash and founded Lulea.
To say Lulea is internationally acclaimed is no lie, with awards such as the Ethical Fashion award at the House of Lords in London in 2013 and Kenyan Ministry of Industrialization in 2014, Lulea breaks international boundaries.
“DO WELL, DO GOOD, FEEL GOOD”
Chesneau ensures that every aspect of Lulea from the source of leather to the curation of designs and the employees’ environments aligns with government guidelines.
No children are employed nor is there any sign of forced labour and the organisation abides by strict health and safety measures that create a sanitary and thriving environment for all staff. Due to international demand, Lulea is sure to consider how their company’s values must wholly present an ethical and responsible reality and reputation.
A business built on trust
Chesneau an outsider in Kenya has had to learn the ropes of entering a foreign market and understanding how to connect the local markets to its international potential. Over the course of his move from Ireland to Kenya, he developed a network of trust and respect in Kenya to ensure the mutual success of the business and the Kenyan individuals he partners with.
Whilst Lulea partners with Carrefours internationally and buyers invest in this lifetime leather from across the world, Chesneau calls for people to not assume that Kenyans do not appreciate this luxury brand. He speaks of the growing internal Kenyan audience who buy his brand and invest in luxury products. In an interview with How we made it in Africa, he also calls for not applying a Eurocentric model or perspective in the African market – “There needs to be compromise between what you bring and the local way of doing things.”