SAN ANTONIO (January 11, 2018) – With the emergence of social entrepreneurs in today’s marketplace, a married couple has pierced the home décor and gift industry with a pair of African Ankole cow horns. Recognizing that African stockyards discarded Ankole horns, Bobby Mickler and his wife, Downie, owners of Ankole, developed a unique and elegant way to repurpose Ankole horns, and established a collaborative procurement process to benefit small businesses in several countries on the African continent. With its headquarters in San Antonio, Ankole is the only lifestyle brand that is the preeminent source of authentic Ankole furnishings, home décor and gifts.
The Micklers founded the business after serving as missionaries in developing countries for more than a decade. At the time of their mission work, unemployment was an issue overseas, so they were focused on job creation for the people of African nations. When they saw an opportunity to transform trashed horns into a commodity for the community, they founded Ankole Designs, the original company name, to advance that initiative by leaps and bounds. “Businesses in Uganda produce the vast majority of our product line, such as homeware and accents,” Downie Mickler said. “The products are handmade and worth a great deal.” Mickler explains every pair of horns has its own unique color and shape, and every person who crafts it into a product has his/her personal story about the artistic care and concern for the item they’ve created.
The company has grown aggressively since its founding in 2014, and the Micklers’ reached a milestone when Neiman Marcus added several Ankole products to its .com store in 2017. Acknowledging that their small business that began with a single product has evolved into a lifestyle brand offering nearly 50 items, the Micklers have rebranded Ankole Designs as Ankole to accurately reflect the company as a luxury lifestyle brand. The new brand and logo were developed by SIP CREATIVES, an innovative digital marketing and advertising agency known for creating collateral for Expedia, Toyota, Whole Foods, Direct TV, Twitch, Nike and Dos Equis. “Our job was to take the brand beyond the product line,” Travis McGehee, SIP CREATIVES creative director said. “This is a luxury brand with a purpose, and the new name, brand and logo with their strong colors and distinct style promote a feeling of exclusivity.” SIP CREATIVES is also developing Ankole’s new website (ankoleliving.com), with integrated features for wholesale buyers, launching later this season.
Founded in 2014, in San Antonio, Ankole™ is a luxury lifestyle brand that provides ethically sourced furnishings, home décor, and jewelry made from Ankole cow horns. Founded by social entrepreneurs and former missionaries, Bobby Mickler and his wife, Downie, the company is the only lifestyle brand that is the preeminent source of products made from Ankole cow horns from the African continent. The product line consists of decorative bowls ($100+), artistic horns ($2,500+), utensils, jewelry, lighting fixtures and dining tables. The company employs three staff members in the U.S. and contracts labor to several vendors in numerous African countries. The Micklers are professional interior designers and previously founded three other businesses to benefit people living in impoverished nations. @AnkoleLiving