Founder, CEO and designer, Kayu
Jamie Lim is the founder and designer of successful accessories label Kayu that is leading the way in sustainable fashion and beloved by celebrities
Jamie Lim is the founder and designer of Kayu, a California-based accessories label known for its use of natural and sustainable materials that are handcrafted by Southeast Asian artisans using age-old techniques. Growing up in Malaysia and having travelled extensively in Asia, Lim became aware that traditional craftsmanship was slowly disappearing, inspiring her to take action to help preserve indigenous crafts and cultures.
Driven at the same time by her strong sense of environmental and social responsibility, Lim launched Kayu in 2008, selling sunglasses handcrafted from bamboo. She chose the material for its strong sustainability and donated a portion of the proceeds to fund sight-restoring surgery in the developing world. She then launched a line of clutches fashioned from straw, wood, and bamboo. From there, Lim grew the brand’s product line to include totes, sandals, hats, and hair accessories, all made in partnership with female co-operatives in Southeast Asia, with a percentage of the sale donated towards educational or health initiatives.
Kayu is currently working towards becoming zero-waste by upcycling scraps into small accessories and using straw scraps for fertiliser.
Besides being featured in many international publications like Vogue and InStyle, Kayu was also invited to feature its designs at London Fashion Week. The brand is available at more than 200 stores worldwide including iconic New York retailers Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, and Net-A-Porter. Kayu also has a celebrity following that numbers Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, singer Solange Knowles, and model Brooklyn Decker as fans. Lim is married to Eric Tan, whom she credits for being her sounding board and rock when many around her weren’t convinced of her idea for a fashion label.
The Earth Award
Did You Know?
It took Lim one year to establish Kayu, which she did while working full-time and doing her master’s degree in fine arts.