When we first discovered 31Bits we were delighted that not only do they produce beautiful, ethically made jewellery but they are having a direct impact on the artisans that make the jewellery. This is not just another ethical jewellery company, they are truly changing lives.
Reading through the story of how 31Bits began, you’ll discover the young carefree college juniors happened across an idea after their classmate Kallie arrived home from a life-changing trip to Uganda. She told of women she had met who truly had nothing, having grown up in war conditions, were single mums with no education or job. But not letting this define them, they were strong and resourceful, making beautiful jewellery out of old posters by rolling up triangles of the paper to make beads.
The jewellery Kallie returned with sold almost instantly to friends, and they realised that they had found a chance of a lifetime opportunity to change the lives of these Ugandan women by providing a platform for them to sell their jewellery globally. But they didn’t stop there; not only did they want to sell fashionable, ethically made jewellery that people actually like and want to buy but they wanted to give the Ugandan women much more than a pay cheque. So they developed a holistic development program for their artisans in Uganda so that they were able to graduate after 5 years with their own business. They gave, and are still giving, Ugandan women a sense of pride and dignity for the work they do.
In 2016 the ladies began dreaming again, they realised that their customers have the purchasing power to provide dignified jobs to artisans all over the globe so they started travelling the world to find new artisans to work with. They eventually found themselves in Indonesia, building relationships with a number of artisans including Javanese entrepreneur Ignatius who specialises in 3D drawing and jewellery. He believes in fair, ethical business. “I believe when you are willing to pay more for products, you’ll get good quality products. You’ll be able to hire artisans who are skilled and you’ll be able to bring in people with good attitudes about their work.” Ignatius gives dignified work opportunities to Javanese artisans who would otherwise be working in poorly run sweatshops. He pays his artisans more than double what they were making at any other jewellery manufacturer.
So you see, 31Bits is much more than any other ethical jewellery business we have found. They are offering wonderful, modern, ethically made jewellery to customers that truly care about where and how their products are made. But most importantly they are also providing dignified jobs for artisans in Uganda and Indonesia, allowing them to run their own businesses, provide for their families, send their kids to school and put money into savings. 31Bits truly is a company that gives back.
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