From Being One Of The Greatest Producers In Kenya To Creating A Legacy Brand; Jokajok, We Caught Up With Tedd Josiah As He Continues To Carve His Niche

The name Tedd Josiah was a household name back in the day, and to date, the music producer turned trendsetter in fashion is making a mark in the industry.

Recently we caught up with Tedd, chatting about what he’s been up to.

Who is Tedd Josiah?

I started my career back in 1989.

I started as a music producer and graphic designer, and at that time people did not know what music production was, or what it entailed, they just thought people would go into a studio, a technician would play with all these gadgets and record.

But I modeled my career from Quincy Jones who produced Michael Jackson; Thriller and a lot of other people and Baby Face who produced a lot of the top 10’s of the 90s, the 2000’s greatest; Boyz II Mean, Mariah Carey, Whitney Huston you name it.

So I used to look at them as a kid growing up, and I would be like I would wanna do what those people are doing.

I started to develop an interest in music, learning how to play keys, learn how to put music together.

Later I was lucky to produce, Kenyan boy, which is Nazizi and Wyre (Necessary Noise), and Atoti (Akina, Gidi Gidi, Maji Maji) and some of those are still playing to date and I’m so proud despite some of those songs being 24 years old.

Tedd later veered into Video and later got into a creative interest of wanting to do fashion and when his late wife; Reginah Katar passed, he took a year off in 2018, and 2019 he returned.

“In 2019, I started to say I need to create something that is in her memory, and a legacy brand for her daughter, who she left when the child was only three months old.”

How Tedd Josiah started Jokajok

I started Jokajok accidentally.

I wanted to do a travel show with a bag.

And I wanted this travel show to show the best of Kenya; the landscapes, the beauty of the continent,  what we have here, and I wanted to symbolize who we are as a people, so I wanted the bag to be made a material from Kenya.

I chose leather because it is a timeless element, and leather can stay forever if taken care of well.

I said I wanted to create bags that people will leave for the next generation and say ‘you know this bag, it took me to safari to xyz, and it brought me such good luck and I’m giving it to you now, may it bring you joy.”

So that’s how I started Jokajok.

The future of Jokajok and competing with big boys in Europe

For me Jokajok is the best Africa to the world

I’m hoping that 200 years from now, we hope we leave brands that people can say this brand was born back in the day and see how far it has gone, and this is from Africa and has taken on the big boys in Europe and competed with those big boys.

That’s tough, in that when you say Africa, the word luxury does not pop up in your head, yet Africa has Diamonds, Gold, and Leather, Coffee … you name it, everything that the west uses to make money is from Africa.

Why can’t Africans develop using their own raw material, and stop selling that raw material for peanuts, because it is not fair that we as African’s wallow in poverty, beg for money to build hospitals, schools and feed our people yet we can employ ourselves using our own raw materials, value add that raw material and create brands that can compete in the world and generate wealth for our people, not alleviate poverty.

We do not to alleviate poverty, I hate those two words, we don’t need to alleviate poverty anymore, that was in the 60’s and 70’s, our generation right now in 2024 should be all about wealth creation. Let us build so much wealth that we give it to the world.

Tedd Josiah on the two words that describe Jokajok and his brand partnerships

Two word to describe Jokajok is ‘African luxury’ said Tedd Josiah.

When I started out, I had a mood-board, Tusker malt was one of the icons that I was looking at and saying I wanna be like these guys. They started in 1902, here they are today 100 years later.

I said, I want to build a brand that symbolizes what they symbolize.

And when they approached us and said we want you to come and be part of our craft room to show what craft and excellence is about, I was like say less.

Tedd said he had been ready for the last 20 years, just waiting for Tusker Malt to give him a call.

In his closing remarks, Tedd said the Jokajok is not 100% there yet but they are on their way.  

It is the best of Africa, we know that we are not there 100% yet, but we will get there in time and that is where we are going. That is the goal, the vision and that is what we symbolize, and working with brands like Tusker Malt and doing these collaborations, what we are doing is we are showing craftsmanship of the highest caliber.