I moved to Yangon with my husband in 2015. We went on a whim, looking for adventure, thinking we’d stay for a year or two. It got under our skin, and we ended up living there for seven years.

We’re now back in the UK with our growing family, but my first baby – Kalinko – takes me back to Burma, my Burmese family and the Kalinko team every few months. It’s my other home; my home from home.

The concept of home is at the heart of Kalinko: how it makes you feel, what it means to you, and the people and stories that pass through it. We make things for your home which mean something.

These things are special. They’re imperfect. They have character. They’re like exotic people from a faraway land, and at the same time, like old friends who have always been there.

Each piece is handmade. They can take days, or even weeks to finish; you can’t make long-lasting, beautiful homeware in a hurry. We use local, sustainable materials where possible, and techniques honed over generations which stand the test of time.

Our main motivation is to help the craft families we work with be best placed to prosper as the country develops. We aim to support as many communities of crafters as possible, helping them build sustainable businesses and preserving their talents for the future.

This will take time, but we aren’t in a rush. We’re in it for the long run. So are our products. They’re designed to be timeless, and to be part of your home for generations.

Read about life in Burma

"You’d think that living in Yangon would be worlds apart from London. But oddly, it isn’t so different. Monday to Friday, I get up and go to the office. On Saturdays and Sundays I don’t. I have supper with friends. Watch a bit of Netflix. Play squash. Do yoga.

But maybe after four years I've normalised things I used to find unfamiliar. 

On reflection, some things are a bit different. A lot different, actually."

Click below to read on...

London vs. Yangon

Running a small business in Burma

"It’s no secret that running a small business in Burma requires one of Theseus’ golden threads. But you can’t buy those in the market. You have to head into the daily labyrinth with bare-handed persistence."

An update from Burma

"This time last week I touched down in Yangon for the first time in just over two years. I've now spent a very happy week back in a place I've called home since 2015. Following Covid and the February 2021 military coup in Burma, I was expecting to land in a very different place to the one I left."

A few thoughts on "home"

"For any expat, the concept of home is a strange one. You arrive in a new place, somewhere so different from home, yet it becomes home. How can that be? How can you have two homes?"

Love notes to and from our Kalinko team

An introduction to our team and their pick of our products

An interview with Sophie

"I miss the light, especially between 5 and 6pm when the whole place turns golden and the shadows are warm and flit about so beautifully. I also miss the chaos; the fact that you have very little control over how your day will pan out and you have to just surrender to that - it’s weirdly comforting."

Buy once, buy well

"We moved house a few weeks ago. I threw away lots of stuff. But I kept every single Kalinko product i’ve ever had. They’ve all lasted. They all give me joy. They all transport me to Burma in my mind. They all make me think of the people who made them. I feel good about the fact that the job that item is doing isn’t being done by a factory-made equivalent."