For a while, I’ve been talking about starting a yoga inspired jewelry company called Simply Om. I’ve had the idea for a long time – I kept thinking it was interesting how many people did yoga and didn’t know what the word “Namaste” meant.
I’ve written this before, so bear with me if you’ve seen it already.
Namaste, loosely translated, means the divine in me sees and honors the divine in you.
I sat on the idea for a while. Wouldn’t it be great to bring this concept, the idea behind namaste, to people in some way? Maybe, through fashion? Not just that, but in a way that was empowering, that was authentic, that gave back to those in need in some way.
As you can tell, I had pretty lofty dreams.
But then, it got even more complicated.
As I started figuring out how I was going to source this journey, I began to realize that it wasn’t just about selling something with a message. It was about ensuring the creation of what I was selling had a message too. I realized that the manufacturing of jewelry often has a not so beautiful side of it, to put it mildly. A side where child labor, unfair wages and unsafe working conditions can be really prevalent.
“Well, that sucks,” I thought. I was starting to realize there was nothing “simple” about creating Simply Om at all. The word “Om” in Sanskrit is associated to consciousness. Where was the consciousness in potentially knowing this jewelry was from a sweatshop somewhere in Bangladesh or Thailand?
And so I started doing research and just a whole lot of digging around fair trade into the early hours of the morning. And what I discovered is that there are amazing brands that are emerging in this world that are trying to help people in hugely oppressed situations, both economically and sometimes, socially.
Often, these two things go hand in hand.
Most of these brands are working directly with women to empower them. While they all have different missions – at the heart of it is the belief that if you empower a woman and give her a future, by training her and giving her an opportunity to sustain herself in an otherwise bleak situation, she will not have to beg. She will not have to turn to prostitution to feed her children. She can take care of herself with the right healthcare access and give her children the opportunity to thrive.
When I ask you to check Simply Om out and spread the word, it is not about pity for these people. It is because I love what they have created, with all of my heart. And I will do what I can to help spread the word, because I do believe that there are ways we can shop NOW that can pave the way for enormous social change.
People say you can’t change the world.
I disagree. Simply Om is a product of the collective belief that we CAN.
The jewelry is a link to these women and their lives. The pieces made in Ethiopia out of recycled gun casings by HIV positive women whose only option might be to beg. These pieces are beyond words when you see them and wear them. They are stunning. But I think what’s more stunning is knowing what they mean. The many colorful, bright and bold pieces we carry made by women in Uganda out of 100% recycled paper. They signify the importance of sustainability – not just for our planet, but our fellow humans who are full of talent and hope, but often without opportunity.
This is just the beginning. I have a lot more site to build, a lot more awareness I’d like to create and a lot more jewelry design teams & brands I’d like to partner with.
In the meantime, thank you helping me get here. If you could help spread this message and hit share, I would be so grateful.
P.S. Here are some pictures which can all be found on the site. But just in case you miss them…
The bracelet and necklace above are a combination of silver and gold beads made out of recycled gun casings. They are so intricately made and are fabulous.
This beautiful necklace and bracelet wrap comes in lots of bright colors for the summer. They are made in Ecuador with Acai berries from the rainforest, and gold beads.
Acai Berries and Pambil Seeds – all from the Rainforest. Because of the high demand of these beads and seeds, they are actually creating a greater effort to preserve the rainforest.
This bib necklace is made out of Tagua Seeds from the rainforest and have been dyed to make amazing statement pieces in all sorts of colors.
P.P.S. Some of you have asked who these gorgeous women are – the first is Hedieh – she is my incredibly talented hairstylist. She is in pictures 1 & 3. In picture 4 is Heather, our Au Pair from Wales. You might know her as the girl who talks to dead people. And the lovely redhead is Rowena, Heather’s friend who was visiting from Wales.
So, yes. All the models on the site are friends. Yes. I have good looking friends. Not intentionally in an Abercrombie kind of way, but I am fortunate they, along with their nice cheekbones, have supported me!