Finders & Makers: About the Makers
Location: India, Nepal and Cambodia
Materials: Brass, iron, silver, gold, upcycled cotton
Values: Fair Trade, empowering women, sustainable materials, education
Upcycle Collection - India
One of the Fair Trade businesses that Finders & Makers partners with is a group of women artisans in Ghitorni, Delhi, India who create jewellery out of upcycled fabric. Established 10 years ago, this business is run by a local woman called Shaina who is a passionate advocate for women’s financial independence and education.
Shaina - Manager
The women artisans receive skills training in jewellery making so they can begin to earn their own income that is separate from their husbands or male family members. By earning additional funds themselves, the women feel empowered to have a say about what the household's income should be spent on. This enables them to pay for important things like their children's education expenses and clothing, as well as things for themselves like a new sari or kitchen appliance.
The Upcycle maker group has a strong focus on children's education. The women artisans who join the organisation need to demonstrate that their children are going to school. Shaina checks the children's attendance on a regular basis to ensure they are attending classes.
Shaina also understands the importance of flexible work arrangements for the women. The artisans have the option to work from home or to come into the workshop. The space is brightly lit and has areas for young kids to nap and play if the women need to bring their children to work with them.
Spirited Collection - India
The Spirited Collection is made by a group of artisans in Jaipur, India who are led by local designer and maker, Vivek. With a background in business and a passion for creating, Vivek decided to begin the jewellery business and now works with a skilled team of makers. The majority of the workers are men, however there are some women on the team.
The artisans hand-craft beautiful, minimalist earrings and necklaces out of silver and gold-plated brass. Even the delicate chains on the necklaces are made by hand. Vivek is the creative behind the jewellery designs. Due to his disability he has limited access to the workshop, however he remains engaged with what the team are doing and trusts them to bring his designs to life.
Newfound Collection - India
The makers of the Newfound Collection are based in Delhi, India. This collection features delicate gold and silver-plated brass jewellery in timeless, minimalist designs. Dainty chains, tiny beads, classic hoops and stunning teardrops are hallmarks of this range.
MyPower Collection - Cambodia
The silver smith artisans that make Finders & Makers' MyPower collection are part of an NGO based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The organisation offers two training programs, a 2-year silver smithing course and a shorter course that runs for about 8 months that teaches traditional women's skills such as sewing, needlework and embroidery. The silver smithing course is government recognised so students graduate with a formal education. A number of students have graduated from the program, many of whom have now become teachers at the school. This is fantastic because it means that there are locals among the teaching staff who run lessons in their own language, rather than the teachers solely being foreigners.
For women in Cambodia, education is not deemed important, therefore it has proved to be a challenge trying to recruit women to the silver smith course. The shorter course was created with women in mind, in an attempt to encourage them to take up training. Many women in Cambodia follow a traditional path that sees them staying home to look after the house and family, and confined to low-income jobs. The NGO's goal is to better engage women so they can learn the skills required to improve their livelihoods. At the time of writing, the school was looking forward to their first batch of students graduating the shorter course.