Jewellery – Much More Than an Accessory
Jewellery is truly a beautiful accessory. Earrings, rings, necklaces and bracelets manage to enhance a person’s best physical features and personality. Yet, the uniqueness that jewellery should bring to an individual is lost through mass-produced accessories.
How someone dresses define who they are and what they represent. However, compulsive fast shopping has led to general, similar, low-quality jewellery that rusts, breaks and defies the whole purpose of these ornaments.
Thankfully, some handmade accessories are unique, including jewellery- reaching peoples’ hearts as small businesses focus on quality, design and ethical production.
The beautiful thing about local, handmade jewellery is that no two pieces are the same. The originality of these products will make a person stand out from the crowd and accentuate their character. Also, as jewellery is produced by hand, there’s an incredible amount of love and time spent on each piece, making it of the highest quality.
In addition, personal attention and energy are put in the fabrication of these designs which becomes more than just a material good, it’s a piece of unique beauty that can be cherished for years to come.
Investing in handmade jewellery is beneficial not only to the consumer, who can show-off their original style, but also to local entrepreneurs. Investing in small businesses creates more job opportunities, enhancement of human creativity and the encouragement of environmentally friendly production.
Always Ethical and Sustainable
Small businesses do not have machines that can produce hundreds of pieces per hour, only their hands, tools and mind. Thus, it takes a significant amount of time and detail to produce one piece of jewellery. With this in mind, handmade accessories are both ethical and sustainable.
Ethical in the sense that artisans, compared to fast fashion workers, are treated fairly, have a good income, work in safe environments and the production process can be tracked within every stage.
These small businesses are also more sustainable than fast fashion retailers as they produce a lower carbon footprint and usually recycle, upcycle or use natural materials for their jewellery.
There are thousands of local jewellery entrepreneurs who are waiting to be discovered by you. We’ve had the pleasure of interviewing three of these women owned small businesses who create beautiful pieces of jewellery. They are Slices of Citrus, One Man’s Trash and Ocean Bohème.
Slices Of Citrus
Leah, from Slices Of Citrus, has always been mesmerized by the resources mother nature provides us with. The intricate pattern within oranges and other fruit inspired her to produce earrings to showcase her love for nature: “People would stop me in grocery stores and at concerts to ask me where they could get some orange earrings, so that birthed the idea for me to begin Slices Of Citrus”. Today, she and her partner create a variety of different jewellery with the different produce that they find.
Slices Of Citrus’ ethos focuses on veganism and sustainable fashion. Their materials are handpicked in the local farmer’s market to make sure it’s 100% organic; the same markets where they sell their jewellery. Also, for the creation of the pieces, they use tree resin instead of a toxic epoxy to hand paint the products with. It’s amazing how mother nature supplies us with everything we need.
Their gorgeous, original and unique creations catch the eye of new and existing customers. “Our favourite reactions are the genuine smiles and happiness that our jewellery brings our customers when they first try them on. They are so stylish and add so much colour to any outfit; it is so fun to see people get as excited as we do to wear fruits & veggies!” They are truly beautiful pieces of work but remember, even if they’re organic they are not edible so don’t try tasting them!
Not only is Slices Of Citrus a vegan brand but also a social and environmental enterprise who gives part of their profits to organizations so to help preserve the environment, animals and people. “Currently, with everything going on with the Black Lives Matter movement, we are donating 10% of all our profits to NAACP and we will continue to give back to different organizations that resonate with our brand. We hope to be able to make a difference in this world one slice at a time!”
Finally, their dream with Slices Of Citrus is to build a sustainable fruit and vegetable farm where they can produce jewellery and at the same time keep protecting the home we live in. It sounds truly heart warming, fingers crossed!
Instagram: @slicesofcitrus – https://www.instagram.com/slicesofcitrus/
One Man’s Trash
Big statement earrings are beautiful; they enhance one’s face and contribute to portray one’s unique style. Yet, these earrings are weighty and uncomfortable, a problem that a lot of us encounter. That’s why Anna, having the same problem, decided to establish One Man’s Trash.
One Man’s Trash sells statement earrings made from scrap leather that is otherwise destined to the bin.
It all started six years ago when Anna was sent down to a leather house in East London Whitechapel to collect some material for London Fashion Week. While waiting for the materials to be delivered, she noticed a large pile of beautiful leather offcuts; it turned out it was the waste bin. And right there, looking at the stack of unused material, she had the idea; why not use scrap leather to create earring, a passion of hers? A win-win situation; contribute to solving the leather waste problem while solving the weighty statement earrings issue!
Anna explains that animal skin grows irregularly, which means natural leather does not come in perfect geometric shapes. That is why leather cutting waste is such a huge problem; big businesses use a very small portion of the leather which in turn creates more demand. Therefore, instead of letting these companies throw perfectly decent leather away, Anna goes to leather houses and salvages these materials.
Due to the pandemic, Anna’s work at the events industry has been postponed, giving her more time to solely focus on her favourite hobby, creating funky, lightweight statement earrings at her kitchen table. Indeed, her Instagram page has attracted many curious customers who resonate with Anna’s sustainability project. They love the unique style and the fact that the earrings have had one if not many previous lives. Some followers have also contributed to One Man’s Trash by sending leather bags or other products that are not good enough for charity shops but don’t want to throw away.
She explains that it’s also a chance for customers to do something to help out the planet. “Everyone has a friend who is especially passionate about the sustainability of our planet and these earrings seem to be getting snapped up like birthday presents and the like, instead of people buying more generic gifts from big businesses.”
Anna’s goal is to make more merchants aware of her business so that they can send their leather cut waste to One Man’s Trash. However, right now, she’s helping the NHS with the pandemic by sending 100% of the profits to its charities; what a wonderful way to give back to the incredible work the NHS has done for each and every one of us. This is amazing Anna!
Instagram: @onemanstrashuk – https://www.instagram.com/onemanstrashuk/
Ocean Bohème, based in Brighton, combines the resources of the earth and the ocean to produce absolutely gorgeous pieces of jewellery.
Sara, the founder, started making jewellery at a young age. As a small girl, she would love to visit the local bead shop every Saturday and then design creations all afternoon. At university, she produced a batch of wooden beaded necklaces with cowrie shells and then, travelling from Biarritz to San Sébastien with a friend, would sell them at the beach.
Sara’s love of nature and passion for craftsmanship has led her to create necklaces, rings and earrings that reflect the beauty of the sea with its turquoise colours and simple but elegant designs.
Ocean Bohème’s ethos revolves around sustainability by producing jewellery with materials found within nature; “The materials I use are really important to me. The silver is recycled, gemstones are carefully handpicked and the shells are mainly upcycled, getting a second use. The packaging is also 100% plastic-free and I’m trying to work with suppliers to follow suit”.
Sustainability is not only seen within the production of the products but also throughout the entire business. Sara gives part of her profits to organizations that help conserve the ocean and fight plastic pollution in the seas. Currently, she’s donating a share of the profits to Surfers Against Sewage, Coral Regeneration Programmes and projects to curb shark finning.
All these qualities have led Ocean Bohème to be loved by all their customers. When asked what’s the most striking comment you get from shoppers, Sara said “Oh that’s tricky! A lot of people love how unique it is and my favourite is when someone walks into my gazebo at a market and declares they want to buy everything before properly looking!”.
The future of Ocean Bohème is very exciting. The jewellery business has been Sara’s second job for years, working on it whenever she had some free time outside her travel industry main job. But now she’s taking a massive step to peruse her passion for craftsmanship; “I’ve literally just handed in my notice and will besoin going solo with Océan Bohème which is very exciting and a little bit scary. Look out for new designs, men’s wooden ring range, more environmental causes being supported and more festivals!”
We definitely will; can’t wait to see what the future holds for Ocean Bohème!
Instagram: @ocean.boheme – https://www.instagram.com/ocean.boheme/
A Gift for You, a Gift for The Planet
Next time you want to treat yourself or buy a gift for a loved one, be sure to check out these, or other beautiful small women-led jewellery businesses.
Yes, it is a genuinely unique product that you can cherish for years to come, but it’s much more than that. You’ll be helping local women entrepreneurs grow their businesses, protecting the planet from waste and resource depletion and voting for more sustainable and ethical production.
How cool is that? You’ll stand out from the crowd with original statement jewellery and, at the same time, help the world be a better place!
Thank you for helping us make a difference.