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Bird & Stone Interview | Handmade Goods for the Socially Conscious Consumer

bird & stone handmade jewelry for a cause

Looking for handmade goods that are doing good? We at Bare Soaps have put together a profile of conscious companies for the socially conscious consumer who care about making a social impact across the world. Because who doesn’t want to feel like they can help make a difference by just simply changing where they purchase something? The movement of the socially conscious consumer is growing. According to a Nielsen study, two thirds (66%) of consumers around the world say they prefer to buy products and services from companies that have implemented programs to give back to society.

As a result, we've compiled "mini-interviews" from a socially conscious company to give you an idea of just how impactful your purchasing decisions as consumers can be. A socially conscious company that we had the privilege to talk to is Bird & Stone, jewelry company that sells handmade goods for the socially conscious consumer. A portion of their proceeds is invested in selected microloans to help women fight poverty.

How Bird & Stone Began

Bird & Stone was founded in 2013 by Elana Reinholtz. She started working in the financial services industry in New York and had a dream to do much more meaningful work. She wanted to use her skills for doing good in the community. Elana volunteered with a group of 70 widowed women that helped women in Kenya start businesses. To fundraise for her trip, she sold handmade beaded jewelry to her network. These handmade goods helped provide microloans and financial education for the women during her trip.

Let’s hear a little more about what they’ve done to develop perfect handmade goods for the socially conscious consumer.

Where do you draw inspiration from in your socially conscious jewelry creations?

We draw inspiration from cultures and civilizations to cities and landscapes. Anthropology is really at the heart of it. We love cultures and it's evident in our collections. We created the Cleopatra bracelet, a delicate but strong turquoise and brass bracelet inspired by the great ancient Egyptian ruler and most powerful woman of her time. We also have a winter collection called "Urban Warrior" which mixes gunmetal and crystals with chain to embody the architecture of New York City paired with the toughness of living in this powerful and high energy city. In the future, we hope to travel to places which inspire us and draw inspiration for our pieces while passing along the cultural lessons we will learn in our blogs for customers to be right there with us.

How do you find the organizations with whom you partner with?

This year, we will be working with the SiSi fund, a microfinance collaborative with 70 widowed entrepreneurs in rural Kenya. It was the organization I first volunteered with one year ago that started the impetus for a socially conscious jewelry line that benefits women starting businesses as a path out of extreme poverty. The organization that runs the fund, Common Ground for Africa, does unbelievable work in Kiminini in terms of education, financial backing, and leadership training so that the women will teach other and eventually become an example for other villages nearby.

Where do you see Bird & Stone in 10 years?

I have a vision where Bird & Stone expands our impact in an effort to equip more women that need resources and opportunities in order to advance out of extreme poverty. At the moment, with a portion of our profits, we support a handful of entrepreneurs in Kenya through microloans and financial training that is taught on-the-ground by local female Kenyans. In the future, I'd love for Bird & Stone to fund and fuel additional programs to provide a 'mini business degree' with experts from around Kenya including topics like branding, accounting, managing, operations, etc. These kinds of business skills will be helpful to any aspiring entrepreneur and will only aid in a more rapid effort to narrow the opportunity gap for women.

Founded in 2013
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Bird & Stone’s mission is to “inspire, educate, and most importantly help shape the dreams of deserving women who are aspiring to be independent, financially stable, and educated”. Elana Reinholtz and Cindy Gallin founded the company after traveling and volunteering across the world. Today, Elana continues to pursue Bird & Stone’s mission and was recently selected as a  “Top 50 under 40” by American Express, who sponsors the Social Enterprise Alliance in developing the next generation of social enterprise leaders. All of the jewelry is handmade in the United States, but a portion of the proceeds is invested in select partners, currently via microloans, through the SiSi Fund.
Photo Credit: Bird & Stone: BeGood Clothing

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