One day, more than 16 years ago, three friends embarked on a great adventure over land and sea, to the farthest corners of the earth, in search of treasure. They scoured markets and factories from India to China, hunting high and low. What did they find?
Among dusty stalls and sandy streets strewn with tuk tuks and humming with people, Annabel, Sue and Lucinda dug out tantalising marvels veiled in history. How mesmerising to think how many and whose hands these treasures passed through, where they were once displayed, how they were once used. To this day these three friends continue treasure hunting across the globe to root-out one-of-a-kind artefacts that tell a story. This is how OKA was born.
The trio’s expeditions have uncovered the masters behind these artefacts and led to partnerships that see these artisans crafting exceptional furniture and homeware items for OKA. The block-printed fabric used on their cushions has been made in India using hand-carved wooden blocks and organic vegetable dyes. They’re dried in the sun, so production can only happen during the dry season! In China, after months of searching high and low, the trio paired-up with a family business run by a mother and her two sons to make exquisite Chinoiserie* furniture and accessories.
Pack Some Spicy Punch
In Annabel, Sue and Charlotte, OKA has extensive expertise spanning jewellery design, horticulture and retail. Merge these together and you get a homeware site buzzing with uniquely crafted furniture and accessories from oriental-style velvety cushions to beautiful artificial flower arrangements, classic and contemporary sofas and armchairs, striking wooden dining tables and arty metallic coffee tables. No two pieces are the same. Instead they all have the quirks of a hand-crafted item.
As we’re hurtling into the season of giving, I’m going to focus on OKA products that I think make gorgeous gifts. I absolutely adore their cushions, throws and bed linen. Oka’s cushions include bold ethnic prints, intricate Paisley and colourful geometric designs. Its throws range from Scottish tartans to delectably silky soft, faux-fur and oriental infused intricate designs and bed linen sticks to crisp, clean whites polished off with delicate trims.
For more “nik-nak” style gifts there’s luxurious leather jewellery boxes and desk accessories, shagreen photo frames, eye-catching ornaments, fancy ice buckets, hurricane lamps and decorative trinket bowls. I’ve always been a big believer that our homes should tell stories, so why not print a memorable photo and frame it, or buy your loved one a candle in their favourite scent to give with a hurricane. How about an ice bucket with their favourite tipple tucked inside? Think about the personal touch you can give with your gifts.
To help you get started, I’ve pulled out some of my favourite gifts for him and her:
Gifts for Him
Gifts for Her
*Chinoiserie is derived from the French word for Chinese, ‘Chinois’ and it’s a style inspired by art and design from China, Japan and other Asian countries. It was very popular and fashionable in the 18th century where you’d find it adorning porcelain, silk and laquerware.