I’ve always had a passion for creating unique pieces of jewelry that incorporate handmade beads and other components, so when I stumbled upon Kazuri beads, I was excited to start designing jewelry with them. Their beauty and the impact they have on the incredible women who create them drew me to become a Kazuri bead dealer. I travel the US as a vendor in bead and jewelry events and love sharing their story!!! My customers love buying and wearing these pieces and feel happy that they can positively impact the artists daily life. I’m currently the US Distributor for Kazuri and Samunnat.
At Harper Grace Design, we have been making jewelry for 20 years. Our team strives to use fair trade and ethically-sourced materials in as many of our products as possible. We feel very strongly about continuing that tradition of supporting women in the workshop who provide us with our materials. All our products are expertly crafted from high-quality metals, which are free from lead and nickel.
In 1975, Lady Susan Wood set up a fledgling business making beads in a small shed in her back garden. She started by hiring two disadvantaged women, and quickly realized there were many more women who were in need of jobs and so Kazuri Beads (Swahili for small and beautiful) was created outside Nairobi, Kenya on the former coffee plantation of Karen Blixen (of Out of Africa fame). In 1988, Kazuri became a workshop and expanded to over 120 women and men. Today, it continues its long and successful journey as a help center for over 300 needy women, especially single mothers who have no other source of income.
Here women are trained and apply their skills to produce these unique and beautiful beads and jewelry. The beads are made from the clay from the Mt. Kenya area thus giving them authenticity to their craft. The workshop acts as a social gathering place with the hum of voices continuing throughout the day. With unemployment so high, one jobholder often provides for an "extended family" of 20 or more. Kazuri is a member of the Fair Trade Act. Kazuri's beautifully finished beads and jewelry are made to an international standard and are sold worldwide. These standards are maintained through high training standards and a highly motivated management team.
We are excited to announce a new exclusive partnership with "Samunnat", a truly wonderful and gifted group of women in Nepal. Sumunnat, a non-profit organization, was formed as a much needed resource to assist the many Nepalese women who are the victims of domestic violence. These women produce some of the most beautifully detailed hand crafted polymer beads we've ever seen. We immediately knew we had to do our part to help usher these beads into the world in a larger way.
Located east of Kathmandu, Samunnat women earn fair wages that allow many of them to leave their vulnerable, often violent situations. They've formed their own microfinance co-op with other women in the community, allowing them to manage operations themselves, and are also working toward the artists independently managing their own business. From victims of domestic abuse to fully empowered business owners, your purchase of Samunnat polymer clay beads is helping provide the women of Samunnat with the necessary resources to improve their lives and the lives of their families and communities.
A purchase from Harper Grace Design helps to support other small businesses and two Fair Trade organizations that helps the women and their families who create these beautiful beads and pendants. Our sincerest gratitude to all of you.