Creating an iconic brand for a luxury milliner that makes heirloom-quality hats and accessories.
Two women wearing Ninakuru hats standing in front of a hillside in Southern California
This project was co-developed in partnership with brand strategist and designer Dustin Byerley in Ojai, California. Photography by Marc Alt. Video production by Jeff Uzzel.
Ninakuru is a luxury brand owned and operated by American/Ecuadorian designer Jennifer Moray, who specializes in high-end wool and Panana hats made by hand in Ecuador and finished in Ojai, California. Jennifer and her partner Ian Moray approached us to help them clarify their brand identity and communications, and to create a new visual identity that would reflect their unique positioning in the luxury accessories market.
We conducted a thorough discovery and research process, identifying challenges and opportunities that informed our brand strategy and positioning. We crafted a brand story that focused on the intersection of uncompromised quality and social purpose, which distinguished Ninakuru from competitor brands. For the visual identity, we created an elegant firefly logo inspired by the woven elements of Ninakuru's hats and accessories, and combined it with a vibrant, yet sophisticated color palette that stands out in a sea of black and white luxury brands.
Brand identity, messaging, visual identity system, video production, packaging design.

Uplifting people through quality.

Ninakuru is a luxury milliner designing hats rooted in a rich heritage and reimagined with a refined aesthetic. We make wearable works of art for those who have a romance with life. For the lovers, the creatives and all the passionate ones who choose to weave beauty and quality into everything they do.

Translated from Quechua, the language of the Incan people, Ninakuru means “firefly”, reminding us that self-worth and true beauty radiate from within, and each of us has an inner glow worthy of being noticed. As a company, we recognize that success can only be realized by valuing and nurturing the potential, creativity and talents of others. By igniting the inner light that resides within all of us, we can make something truly extraordinary.

Our accessories are the culmination of a movement to redefine quality. We take the utmost care at every step of the process to honor every person, material and design decision that contributes to the end product. Because when we respect the creative process and treat people with dignity, an unparalleled level of detail and quality is realized which is not only masterful, but meaningful as well.

You can see this holistic quality in our tighter weaves. In the flawless surfaces of our cruelty-free felts. In the perfection of our slow stitch embroidery and the exquisite detailing of our unique finishes.
We meticulously curate the finest materials from around the world and utilize only those that meet our exceptional standards of quality, craftsmanship, sustainability and ethics. Our authentic Panama hats are made from sustainably sourced toquilla straw grown on the Ecuadorian coast, and our felt hats are sourced from cruelty-free, 100% virgin, hand-sheared, Argentinian wool. Our hats are then hand-adorned in our design studio in Ojai, California with the finest vintage grosgrain ribbon, vegetable tanned leather, fine combed organic cotton, recycled silk, jute, hemp and foraged game feathers.

When you invest in a Ninakuru, you are not only investing in an heirloom-quality piece that will stand the test of time, you are investing in human goodness through a cycle of restorative relationships built on respect, dignified wages and self-worth.
At Ninakuru, we come together to share the joy of ethical luxury, to help you let your inner light shine, and to show the world what true beauty means.

About the designer

Jennifer Moray, designer and founder of Ninakuru, a luxury milliner based in Ojai, California, created her distinctive fusion of Californian chic and Andean style from her own personal American/Ecuadorian heritage.

During her 14-year post college residence in Ecuador, where she pursued her career in international trade, Jennifer was inspired by the traditional folkloric costumes of native Andean cultures, with their mastery of hand-loomed textiles, intricate beadwork, and vibrant colors. She fell in love with the art of fine hat making and the talented artisans with whom she worked, developing her own unique style which honors the Andean culture while elevating it with a Californian design aesthetic.
But perhaps the most powerful aspect of Jennifer's creations is their holistic quality. When you experience a Ninakuru, you sense that the beauty of the finished product is magnified by the integrity of the process and the loving respect held for everyone who had a hand in its making. By sourcing the highest quality sustainable materials and raising the standard of ethical practices in the fashion industry, Jennifer has built a reputation not only as a designer of fine hats and accessories, but as a true advocate dedicated to building restorative relationships.

Above all, Ninakuru is timeless. Jennifer's brilliant combination of clean, minimalistic elegance with artisanal elements such as handwoven textiles, pompoms, tassels, and a wide palette of colors, result in collections rich in quality, value, and story. Since 2014, the brand has been steadily growing from a handful of curated boutiques and catching the attention of a sophisticated and mindful clientele in the US and Europe.

Beauty radiates from within.

Ninakuru means "Firefly" in Quechua, the language of the Incan people. As a symbol, it reminds us that self-worth and true beauty radiate from within.
The firefly icon is composed of a single, unbroken line forming interwoven ovals reminiscent of wide-brimmed hats. Its organic, bespoke feel is counterbalanced by a clean, modern typeface for "Ninakuru" that anchors the brand as a luxury fashion label. Finally, a classic script for "Luxury Milliner" brings a sense of heritage and craftmanship to the overall aesthetic.
Business card design for Ninakuru.
A roll of tape featuring the Ninakuru logo pattern.

Luxury with a human touch.

In a sterile sea of black and white fashion labels, Ninakuru stands out as a luxury brand with a human touch.
PMS 162 C
RGB 246 188 162
PMS 4041 C
RGB 127 96 84
HEX #7f6054
PMS 2380 C
RGB 37 55 80
HEX #253750
PMS 663 C
RGB 242 238 237
HEX #f2eeed
RGB 255 255 255
RGB 49 38 29
HEX #31261d
Two women wearing bikinis and Panama hats in lounge chairs by a pool

Bringing it all together.

In addition to the brand story, we made a short unboxing experience video to give people a taste of Ninakuru.
"We’re grateful to have found Jeff Uzzel and his business partner Dustin Byerley who successfully elevated the imagery, marcomm and identity for our luxury accessories brand, Ninakuru.

Beginning with a comprehensive and thoughtful due diligence process, they took the time to understand our specific needs, strengths and challenges, and provided tailored deliverables and actionable solutions which greatly improved our image, presence, and positioning in the luxury accessories ecosystem.

Offering meticulous attention to the most minute of details, they were consummate professionals and very responsive and mindful throughout the entire collaborative process, which we appreciated. Highly recommend for your brand development, brand identity, content creation and design needs."
Ian Moray
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