Whenever there is a talk about recycling, I get excited, but when I read about all the other benefits I just had to write about it! 31 bits is a company that sells gorgeous colourful beaded jewellery made by Ugandan women. Their story is truly inspirational from volunteering in Uganda, to finding amazing products, making a business out of it with the Ugandan women and turning the profits into making a great life for the women. And that was the very shortened version. I recommend reading their full story on their ‘Our story‘ page.
So what makes this company so amazing? Their mission! “Using fashion and design to empower people to rise above poverty”. To me, fashion is an art form and self-expression. However, when these can be combined with such an empowered message it goes on another level. The beads, that are used in the jewellery, are recycled paper that is coated to get that hard shell. All their other ingredients used in the jewellery are sourced locally in Uganda, providing economy for their society, and everything is lovingly handmade. When this is combined with the fashionable styles, beautiful and appealing imagery, you really have a brand to admire!
The prices are not too bad, for handmade items, either ranging from $40-80. Although, the prices are in dollars, they do ship worldwide and have an amazing sale section. And with the price comes so much more. On their website, they explain how they offer Ugandan women education, provide counselling, teach life skills and offer health services, to name a few. And this all is offered from the profits that come from selling the jewellery.
So buy buying their jewellery, you do not only get a fashionable item that you can cherish because of the story behind it, but you also offer so much to these women in Uganda who make them. I find this truly inspirational and empowering, even for the buyer!
The only thing I was confused about, and this is from a sustainable point of view, is where are all the other items sourced from. Although they explain how it is sourced locally, they did not provide any further details on the matter. It is a minor detail though, as being handmade and the majority of the items are already recycled, I do consider them quite sustainable. In addition, I find them very transparent. They tell the stories of their artisans on their website and they have a strong social media presence, as well as a Youtube channel, which is worth a look!
Have you heard about the 31bits? Would you buy their jewellery?
All pics are from their website, go have a look for more!