Makha Uyutky grew up the the small town of Kochkor, located in northern Kyrgyzstan’s Naryn region. Known for its expansive jailoo (summer grazing pastures) and turquoise-blue rivers, traditional rug-making and felt work are an important part of local culture.
In 2000, Makha’s mother and her friends established their own women’s felt art cooperative in Kochkor, and were supported by a small donor fund. Over a decade later, the women have successfully developed their small, but creative and collaborative business. With help from her family and from a social venture startup incubator fund provided by Germany’s GIZ development organization, Makha set up and opened her small design and production studio in a subsidized loft space in Kyrgyzstan’s capital city of Bishkek. Today, her fully independent entrepreneurial endeavor employs four local women and produces functional textiles that connect traditional patterns with compelling design.