STAFF GUIDE | UPDATED APRIL 2016
Artisan Made Jewelry
We're always on the search for ethical fashion brands that create beautiful collections for a cause. Each of these social enterprise jewelry collections are doing an incredible work to sustainably end cycles of poverty within some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities by empowering artisans and persevering traditional crafts.
ARTISAN MADE JEWELRY FROM TEN THOUSAND VILLAGES
This Guide is Sponsored by our Partner Ten Thousand Villages.
For 70 years, Ten Thousand Villages has been a pioneer of the Fair Trade movement laying the groundwork for sustainable change in over 30 developing countries by providing a space for people to take charge of their own lives and build something for themselves. Each piece of jewelry is created by independent small-scale artisan groups, co-ops and workshops and are crafted with love using local materials and time-honored skills.
ROSE & FITZGERALD
Husband-and-wife duo Courtney Rose and Laren Fitzgerald are living the adventure. Provoked by a desire to merge their sense of contemporary fashion with the beauty of indigenous materials and craftspeople in their adopted home of Uganda, they founded a small design studio in Kampala. Rose & Fitzgerald employs local artisans and craftsmen to create and curate unexpected, beautiful pieces. At Rose & Fizgerald they know there is a real nostalgia in returning to the time of the handmade, and there’s something truly special about knowing who made your product and also knowing that it was crafted by hand by someone paid fairly for their art.
Nisolo collaborates with local artisans in Peru and Kenya from the design to the handmade production of their jewelry line, shoes and accessories. Nisolo provides fair wages and full-time employment to their artisans and each piece of jewelry carries the heart of every person who works at Nisolo. We love their gorgeously-designed, well made jewelry and their fast, free shipping both ways.
In an attempt to answer the question, “how and by whom are the goods we consume made?” the founders of ARTICLE 22 set out to create beautiful designs and meaningful collections that tell unknown stories and give back to artisans in forgotten or off-the-beaten-track places. ARTICLE 22 works with 12 artisan families in rural Laos to create their jewelry collection. The collection comprises classic shapes cast with Peacebomb metal that tell the story of how Laos became the most heavily bombed country in history and the artisans who transform bombs and war scrap to jewelry, taking a constructive approach toward the destruction wrought by war.
Raven + Lily
In our opinion, Raven + Lily is one of the most impactful social enterprise jewelry and fashion lines employing women around the globe. They currently employ women artisans in India, Ethiopia, Kenya, Cambodia, Pakistan, Guatemala, and the USA – all at fair trade wages to give them access to a safe job, sustainable income, health care, education, and a real chance to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families. All jewelry products are made from recycled or locally sourced materials. Raven + Lily is committed to providing products that are made by hand, follow fair trade standards, and honor an eco-friendly commitment.
Purpose Jewelry is handcrafted by survivors of modern-day slavery in Mumbia, India. 100% of the proceeds from the jewelry line benefit International Sanctuary, a nonprofit that provides holistic care for women survivors of sex trafficking including education, medical and dental care, scholarships, and micro-loans. The artisans at Purpose Jewelry take pride in each beautifully crafted creation and each jewelry tag is hand-signed by the woman who created it.
Threads Worldwide creates life-changing work through the fair trade of artisan jewelry. Female artisans around the world handcraft sustainable pieces, and US-based Fair Trade Partners bring them to market and share the artisans’ stories. Join The Movement.
The Giving Keys
The Giving Keys, a Los Angeles based social enterprise, carries one of our favorite jewelry collections. The jewelry line employs those transitioning out of homelessness to make jewelry out of repurposed keys that get sold and shared around the world. Each key is unique and carries a message like HOPE, STRENGTH, DREAM or COURAGE. When the wearer of the key encounters someone else who needs the message on the key, they give it away.
Stephanie Hepburn, a human rights journalist and fashion enthusiast has joined her passion for fashion and human rights into one venture through Good Cloth. Good Cloth is championing the important message that there is a lack of understanding in the fashion marketplace about the people that make our clothing and what conditions these workers may face. Good Cloth offers customers a space where they can purchase fun jewelry, clothing and accessories that are produced in a way that is kind to workers and the planet.
Zady is one of our favorite online ethical retailers. They are a lifestyle destination for conscious consumers and carry a curated collection of clothing, accessories and home items for women and men that respect both people and planet. Their diverse collection of men's and women's jewelry are designed ethically by brands who partner with fair trade artisans all over the world from Uganda and Kenya to NYC and LA. Their modern and straightforward jewelry pairs beautifully with any style.
31 Bits works with artisans in Uganda to create fashionable, quality jewelry. We love what they're doing because not only do they employ women, but 31 Bits Jewelry cares for their beneficiaries holistically through counseling, health education, finance training, and business mentorships. And everything they do is funded through product sales. That means every time you make a 31 bits purchase, you have a direct impact on women’s lives in Uganda.
The Brave Collection
The Brave Collection is handmade by talented Cambodian artisans who come from underprivileged backgrounds or suffer from disabilities. Mostly mothers, the team of artists work in a small studio in Cambodia, or from their homes while they can care for their young children while creating beautiful and unique pieces. In addition to paying artisans above average wages, The Brave Collection is committed to providing health insurance and stipends for their artisans’ children's education. Additionally, 10% of profits are donated to fight sex trafficking in Cambodia. We love The Brave Collection’s handcarved jewelry pieces that are made with traditional Cambodia metalwork techniques using brass, silver and gold vermeil materials.
At Same Sky, they give a hand-up, not a hand out, and they are doing it globally from Rwanda to the USA. The artisan jewelry line creates jobs for women struggling to lift themselves out of extreme poverty, and they believe that real change happens with the dignity of work and the freedom of being self-sufficient. One Same Sky necklace purchased provides an artisan a year of education – we think that that’s an incredible way to make your jewelry purchases meaningful.
Akola empowers women in poverty in five rural Ugandan villages to transform their lives and the lives of their children. What we love about Akola’s approach is its holistic development model, which includes not only vocational training for women, but community infrastructure as well. Before training and employment take place within a village, Akola helps communities build the infrastructure for economic growth. This includes construction of water wells, vocational training centers and roads.
We love Trading Hope’s innovative approach to working with small businesses in developing economies by providing them access to larger markets. Trading Hope purchases jewelry collections from artisans outright so the artisan partners’ profitability is not dependent upon Trading Hope’s ability to sell. This method of buying through Direct Trade is a growing trend and is proving to be an entry point to alleviate poverty and elevate families above sustenance in developing countries.
Indego Africa partners with female artisans in 18 different artisan groups across Rwanda. The jewelry line has a huge reach - employing over 600 women that support 2,200 children and other dependents by selling their beautifully handcrafted designs worldwide through their e-commerce site. In addition, Indego Africa pools 100% of profits from sales and donations to fund job skills training for their artisan partners and classes in business management, technology, entrepreneurship, and English & Kinyarwanda literacy.
As a social enterprise, Faire Collection was founded to bring sustainable change to impoverished communities in South America. As a fashion brand, Faire Collection has changed the landscape of what to expect from fair trade products. You can find their products at Anthropologie, Nordstrom and Free People or online. We also love their Favorites under $50 in their online shop.
Olivia & Diego
The Philippine-based handmade accessory line Olivia & Diego showcases jewelry made from upcycled fabrics and school supplies. The brand encourages an environment for those of us who are seeking an alternative to mass-produced products and instead wish to promote sustainable and fair trade practices. Olivia & Diego organizes livelihood programs and trainings throughout rural communities in the Philippines for stay-home mothers and unemployed youth. Through these trainings and employment opportunities, to their families through their craftsmanship.
The Shine Project
The Shine Project is a cause driven business that works to help change the future of at-risk youth here in America. Inner-city youth who are hired by The Shine Project come from various backgrounds, but all have one thing in common, they want to break the cycle. By employing them, The Shine Project instills values of self-reliance and hard work. They are paid fair wages for the bracelets they make. Many of The Shine Projects employees are first generation college students who dream of becoming nurses, broadcasters, writers and engineers.
The Ugandan artisans employed by Musana benefit not only from the opportunity for a stable income but also from educational classes in English, business, and health. Musana's employment and education programs allow their artisans to provide for their families, pay for their childrens' schooling, and ensure themselves a brighter future. We especially love Musana’s work because they do an incredible job of telling the stories of each of the women they help empower. Check out their website to see a bio on each of their artisans, and when you look at a handmade item you will see a story behind the piece and photo of the artisan who created it.
Tuli employs a team of talented women in Kampala, Uganda to create handmade beaded jewelry using recycled paper beads. Every one of Tuli’s partners in Uganda earns a fair and sustainable income through their work. All of Tuli’s materials are recycled or purchased from small craft stores in Kampala to support small businesses in Uganda. In Uganda, "tuli" means "we are." At Tuli, they believe in unity among people and collaborative solutions. When you wear a Tuli product, you are joining this community and acting as an agent for change.
Cambodia is one of 48 least developed countries in the world, with an average per capita income of US$2 a day. The team at Saught is doing what they can to break poverty, and to ensure that their artisans lead full and happy lives. This means that they can work in a safe environment worry-free, with insurance, housing allowances, fair pay, and skill training opportunities. Saught hopes to begin supporting more budding artisans by offering scholarships to attend silversmithing school.
Having started their business with only $200, siblings Carmin and Christian Black turned a fledgling idea into a growing movement of men and women UNITING together to stop hunger in its tracks. HALF UNITED donates half of the profits from every product sold directly towards fighting the global hunger epidemic. HALF UNITED has given over 115 thousands meals to children since 2010. In addition to their efforts to stop hunger, all of HALF UNITED’s unique jewelry and accessories are handmade with materials sourced from local businesses across America.
Fearing for their lives, many families relocate to the United States with hope for a new life. Yet life in America is not without challenges. Overcoming trauma from the past, learning a new language and culture, finding a job and becoming self-sufficient is a difficult process. Ekata Designs employs refugees to create a beautiful and globally inspired jewelry line.
Noonday Collection works with over 2000 artisans in over 10 countries to provide them with dignified jobs at a living wage. They also provide artisans with no interest loans, scholarship programs and emergency assistance. In addition to Noonday’s global partnerships with fair trade artisans, Noonday also offers women in the US an opportunity to earn an income by becoming a Noonday Collection Ambassador and selling the collection through personally hosted trunk shows and personalized ecommerce websites.
The Starfish Project
The Starfish Project provides opportunities for formerly exploited women in Asia to heal and grow through counseling, vocational training, language acquisition, family education grants and health care access, as well as providing housing in through a women’s shelter. In 2007 the Project opened a jewelry business to provide an alternate source of income for the women in the shelter. These beautiful pieces are a symbol of restoration for the women who created them.
KURANDZA sells beautiful, vibrantly colored earrings and bracelets handmade by women artisans across Mozambique. KURANDZA works to empower and educate women, the majority of whom are HIV positive, through entrepreneurship and creative design. In addition to receiving fair wages for their beautiful handmade pieces, profits from sales go back to the women in the form of scholarships, trainings, facility development, and social programs.
Ten Thousand Villages is more than a store. It’s a place where you can explore and connect with a global village. Their model is built on paying a fair price to artisans, long term relationships, good working conditions, design collaboration, eco-conscious commitment, and empowering those who society often overlooks. Every purchase from Ten Thousand Villages improves the lives of makers by supporting their craft and providing a fair, stable income. We’re in this together. Let’s create a more wonderful world.