by Carissa Tham March 03, 2016

Hello! We’re so excited to launch our new collection from 31 Bits this week! We’re really digging 31 Bits’ boho-chic vibe, and how it brings out the inner hippie in each one of us!

One of the many great things about 31 Bits’ jewelry and accessories is that they are made from 100% recycled paper but are incredibly durable. Thanks to the 100% recycled paper, 31 Bits’ accessories are incredibly light, even their chunky necklaces like the Rustic Rotunda Necklace and Twilight Necklace.

What really warms our hearts is the social cause behind 31 Bits’ brand. 31 Bits is not only a brand that sells beautiful, environmentally and vegan friendly jewelry that are handmade by women in Uganda, it also provides the artisans in Uganda with holistic health, finance, and business education so that they can run their own businesses producing jewelry.

31 Bits then connects these artisans with urban markets to help provide them with sustainable income. The recycled paper used to make the products are ethically sourced from Eastern Africa to support local markets.

All these mean that every 31 Bits product you purchase will help women in Uganda and their families rise above poverty.

The idea for 31 Bits started when the founders were still in college. One of its founders, Kallie, had gotten back from a life-changing and eye-opening trip to Uganda, where she met women who, although the same age as her, were single moms with no education or job, and had grown up in war.

Despite their tough living environment and lack of access to education, they were incredibly skillful and resourceful. They were making jewelry out of old newspapers and posters!

Kallie brought a box of the jewelry back home and sold the jewelry to friends to fell in love with the beautiful jewelry instantly. One thing led to another, and soon 31 Bits was born to help connect the skillful women in Uganda to a market that loved the jewelry they so lovingly handmade.

Over the next few years, the founders split their time between finishing college and spending time in Uganda, where they sat with the women, making beads and listening to their stories. Their time in Uganda was spent laughing, crying, connecting and learning a lot from each other.

At this early stage of their journey, although the founders of 31 Bits felt that they had no idea what they were getting themselves into and did not know a thing about business, they knew they didn’t want to be just another charity. They were focused on creating fashionable products that women would buy because they loved them. At the same time, they wanted give the artisans in Uganda more than a paycheck. They wanted to to give the artisans in Uganda access to education, health care and counseling. These women needed to be cared for holistically - physically, mentally, emotionally and financially.

The 31 Bits brand starting growing through the many events that they sold the products at, like school events, craft fairs and house parties. Although their journey was challenging, they eventually started an online store, a wholesale program, and five years later, 31 Bits jewelry is found in over 300 stores and the 31 Bits story has been shared with thousands of people.

To learn more about their fiver-year holistic program for the 31 Bits artisans in Uganda, where each woman receives education, health care, counseling, finance and business training to achieve social equity, confidence and a voice, head over to the 31 Bits site where they go in-depth about how they are giving back to the community.

 

Love,

Carissa


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Photo courtesy of 31 Bits.

 





Carissa Tham
Carissa Tham

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