Now that you know the short version of the creation and development of CreatsUniques, you may be wondering what I look for in jewelry making and what I put special emphasis on?
For this I have to go into a little more detail.
Where I shop
In my previous post I already mentioned the Kazuri Factory in Nairobi, which was the first fair trade company founded in Africa in 1975. The handmade ceramic beads that are produced there, exclusively by single mothers, are accordingly expensive, but because these women are given the opportunity to support their families with their work, it is worth every penny to me.
The store, which belongs to the Factory, is a land of milk and honey for designers like me and it is wonderful that once in a while I am able to shop there locally. Every time I have to stop myself from flying home with two suitcases full of beads, because they are so beautiful.
In the picture you can see me in the bead buying frenzy.
This also applies to the family businesses in Ghana, where the glass beads are made by hand from recycled glass. That this work is not to be compared with cheap goods from the Far East should be clear to everybody, which unfortunately nowadays, it is not.
The Paper Collections
For the production of the Paper Art collections, I take only recycled paper and I dye it with environmentally friendly colors.
Very special is the Japanese Collection, because the paper I use for it are actually pages from an old book, made of original rice paper and handwritten calligraphy, which I found in a village close to the Japanese city of Nagoya.
Packing and Shipping
Another aspect, very important for me, is the packaging of the jewelry both for shipping and direct sales.
I do not use disposable plastic packaging, ever!
The boxes for the individual jewelry pieces are made from recycled paper and for the inside, to protect the larger neckpieces or arm ornaments, I either sew the „pillows“ myself from fabric scraps or I use paper scraps from recycled paper. These are available, nicely matching my label colors, of course also in black or dark gray.
For earrings, I also sometimes use black paper bags that were originally intended for packing loose tea, because for larger shipments going overseas, it’s best to minimize the weight and size of the packages… you have to be creative sometimes.
In the picture you can see my best helper. Mr. Lehmann always actively assists in packing the jewelry. However, he is rather fond of testing the large boxes.
For shipping, I collect boxes in different sizes in advance to have them ready for shipping any orders on short notice.
So each shipping box is used at least twice and I hope the recipients do the same.
Unfortunately, nowadays only few materials can be purchased locally and so I am forced to order some online. Still, I always know who I’m ordering from. If I can avoid it, I bypass the big shipping platforms, you know the ones I am talking about…and rather order from the manufacturers themselves. Of course, I like it best when I can buy locally from the factories, like I do in Africa.
I am fortunate that I am able to combine my passion for making jewelry with my love for Africa and other exotic places of the world by traveling as often as possible.