Years back, the late Dr. Maxwell Kinyanjui was instrumental in the development and distribution of the revolutionary Kenyan Ceramic Jiko; traditional metal stoves-jikos that are mated to a ceramic liner. More efficient than traditional metal stoves, they come with a distinctive shape having the top and bottom with the same diameter, tapering at about 30 degrees to a waist.
The Edge recently met Teddy Kinyanjui, son of the deceased Dr. Max’s for a talk about the company he runs –Cookswell Jikos-inspired by his father’s designs and ambition and its significance in energy conservation.
Cookswell Jikos that manufacture and sells ceramic jikos, energy efficient charcoal oven, innovative designer barbecues and space heaters has established a brand that is reputable from the commonly made products in the informal sector.
Teddy says that energy efficient jikos is something that his father designed. The design has been widely copied and replicated by the informal sector in Kenya. Teddy says that he does not have to worry about the inspired barbecues and oven designs being copied. “It is a given fact in the market. I am more concerned if an innovation has not been copied within a year-a clear signal that there is no demand for the product in the market. A revolutionary product will definitely be counterfeited.”
“Our quality, durability and performance of our branded products speak for itself. And those who have to procure from us know that our customer service is exceptional. In case of any defect, we service and repair from the spot. That’s an assurance. The last thing you should worry about is high energy costs. Our jikos are energy efficient,” explains Teddy.
In his firm, all the products by Cookswell are designed and handcrafted by local Kenyan artisans personally trained by his late father.
“We do not employ artisans. We let them work as independent entrepreneurs who work on their premises and provide them with the tools and materials necessary after which we pay them upon delivery on an agreed piece of work,” observes the entrepreneur.
Customers can order stove or oven and have it delivered to where they are and they will get their order on time. The firm has a network of local transport providers who deliver across major towns in Kenya and beyond. Just recently, Cookswell entered into a partnership with an international distributor based in The Hague, Netherlands and online at www.cookswell.eu which provides low cost international shipping to any corner of the world!
He goes adds, “We advocate for the sustainable reproduction, management and utilization of wood fuels as one of the many renewable energy resources for East Africa’s cooking needs. Along with every product purchased, the firm includes a free packet of KEFRI certified acacia tree seeds to further help people make charcoal a sustainable energy source.”
CooksWell has further partnered with Tamarind Kenya Group to establish The Woodlands 200 Trust which aims to promote dry land tree growing around Kenya and East Africa for greater wood fuel security.
“We also make innovative and simple to use portable, mobile kilns to make your own free charcoal at home from tree branches and twigs or maize cobs, coconut husks and other woody biomass to reduce the demand on traditional charcoal sources.”