Being someone who is passionate about eco and ethically responsible living, and one who promotes such ideals here and on our sister site A Doggy Tale , I’m always thrilled when I’m introduced to brands which are both beautiful and ethically driven.
A few months ago when I featured this eco inspiration, then later this gorgeous shoot, which included jewelry by 31 Bits – a company helping people rise above poverty through jewelry – I couldn’t have been more ecstatic.
So today I’d like to share with you information about this amazing company and their products.
31 Bits Story
Five years ago 31 Bits’ founders, Kallie Dovel, Alli Swanson, Anna Toy, Brooke Hodges, and Jessie Simonson were carefree 21-year-olds – juniors in college – trying to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives. Then everything changed after Kallie came back from an eye opening trip to Uganda.
Kallie met women who grew up in a war and had nothing. They were single moms with no education and no jobs, yet they made up for that with skill and resourcefulness. These women were making incredible jewelry out of old posters. So Kallie brought a box of the jewelry back, and the rest of the ladies fell in love instantly. They sold the jewelry to friends, running out within weeks. That’s when it hit them. The women of Uganda had a skill, but needed a market. The five ladies had plenty of people who would love what the Ugandan women were making. Together, they could make a business. And they did!
Today the five founders have plenty to care about. Their model is to empower people through the fashion industry. They work with beneficiaries in Uganda to create fashionable, quality products. The beneficiaries earn an income enabling them to provide for their families. And 31 Bits cares for them holistically through counseling, health education, finance training, and business mentorships.
After five years their program beneficiaries are ready to graduate. A graduated beneficiary has her own business and is educated, healthy, and confident. She is empowered.
And guess what? 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.
How fantastic is that? Honestly, this makes me want to buy from 31 Bits everyday!
31 Bits beads are made from recycled paper…that’s right…PAPER! The beads are made from long strips of cut unused posters, advertisements, and text book pages. They roll the strips tightly and coat them in a water-based varnish. The varnish hardens the beads as well as provides a protective coating. The beads are then strung into a design, or sewn onto one of their embroidered pieces.
You’ll also find other materials used in their products like funky printed fabrics and beautiful shades of leather. 99% of their materials are sourced in Eastern Africa, supporting local markets.
Another great benefit of the company as well!
From necklaces to earrings, bracelets to headbands, bags and gorgeous statement pieces for your wedding, 31 Bits has something for everyone.
And with all they do for the women and their families who make these products, I can’t imagine buying like pieces from any other retailer.
What a fantastic story, amazing laides and one awesome company, don’t you think?
Thanks for stopping by!