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Name *
Name

P.O. Box 672
Zionsville, IN
United States of America

469-515-1096

We specialize in unique handmade jewelry, created entirely from fruit and seeds found in the Amazon Rainforest by a small group of Colombian women artisans.  Our goal is to create an exotic, environmentally inspired look for you, while empowering these women artisans through sustainable work opportunities and added financial support, that goes beyond fair trade.

Our Founder

The following interview took place on February 10, 2015 with Kathleen Elie from the blog "Fashion with a Conscience."  It may be viewed in its entirety at the following link.

 

Tell me a little bit about yourself?

My name is Carolina.  I was born in the middle of the mountains in Colombia, South America, in a very small town called "Fresno" (just like California).  I completed degrees in Business and English at a large national university in the city of Manizales, Colombia.  After college, I participated in a cultural exchange program here in the United States, and fell in love with the culture here.  I also fell in love with my husband during that time!  Together, we moved to Dallas, Texas and decided to start a business with a vision for social change / empowerment.  My favorite hobbies include ...  [read more]


Why did you launch Colombian Girl Jewelry and what products do you carry?

I have always had a passion for jewelry.  I actually designed and sold my own creations while in college, as a way to pay for school.  More recently, during a trip back home to Colombia, I made the decision to bring back a few of my favorite jewelry items to the United States, which were created in the hands of Colombian women artisans living in a less economically developed part of Bogota (the capital city).  I especially loved the fact that the items they produced were actually made from fruit and seeds found in the Amazon Rainforest of Colombia!  While wearing the jewelry in the United States, I noticed people were awe-struck by its organic roots, natural fragrance, and vivid colors.  Simply put, women here had never seen jewelry like this before, and they were especially drawn to the variety of items, which included everything from orange peel and cantaloupe seeds to coffee beans and acai berries. And yet, there were still other seed types they had never heard of before and that they were curious to learn more about, like tagua nuts, dalmatian beans, and bombona seeds.  With the support of my husband, I decided to start the company, focusing on the fact that it truly was "jewelry made from fruit" and highlighting the Colombian women artisans behind the scenes that actually made it all, by hand!  I showcased the jewelry at a few local trade shows and art fairs, and discovered significant interest in the items and story, with a majority of customers falling in love with it at first sight.  I worked to refine the designs, improved the quality, and focused on the artisans -- how could I organize them better and provide more consistent work opportunities, teach them new designs, and foster an environment of trust that would enable me to help them in the future ...  [read more]

 
 
But in the struggle, she has emerged beautiful, courageous, and ALIVE, and this jewelry echoes her story and inner beauty in a genuine and tangible manner.
 
 
 
 

Who is the Colombian Girl Jewelry customer?

That's one of my favorite questions by the way, thank you for asking it!  I have already mentioned who the real "Colombian Girl" is above (the female artisan that makes it all possible).  But I also see her in the faces of my customers.  She is full of life, curious, and values Mother Nature just as she values the people around her.  Willing to try new things, finding fulfillment in new cultures and landscapes, she is a "thrill seeker" in the context of social events and family gatherings.  I have experienced her in the faces of cancer survivors, and custodial workers, and similarly in those of vice presidents, and political leaders.  If you surprise her with a gift she is elated.  If you show her something in nature she's never seen before, she wants to learn more.  But at her core, I believe she is someone capable of profound caring, who has an insatiable desire for life and to reveal her true self to those around her.  And from time to time, she just needs to have the question answered, "aren't I lovely?"  And I am here to tell her through this collection of jewelry, "YES YOU ARE!"

 
Which styles are your best sellers?

My best sellers are typically the multi-color items, simply because they go with everything!  My choker design "Lluvia de Colores" multicolor was my #1 best seller last year, followed by "Collar Carolina" which combines three beige orange peel flowers with brown bombona seeds.  Rounding out the trio in third place is my necklace set created from tagua nut slices, called "Tesoro del Amazonas" also in multicolor, which means "Amazon Treasure."  All three of these designs represent a look in jewelry that most people have simply never seen before and quickly fall in love with.  Add to that the fact that each fruit/seed combination is a conversation starter, and you have an entirely new and exciting jewelry experience!

 
I especially loved the fact that the items they produced were actually made from fruit and seeds found in the Amazon Rainforest of Colombia!
 

What is the heart behind the brand?

The heart of this brand is the Colombian woman artisan (the real "Colombian Girl") behind the scenes, who makes every item, by hand!  She is the reason this jewelry exists, born out of socio-economic disadvantage as a means of survival.  But in the struggle, she has emerged beautiful, courageous, and ALIVE, and this jewelry echoes her story and inner beauty in a genuine and tangible manner.  Indeed, it is the same struggle women all over the world endure, and yet emerge victorious, realizing dreams they never thought possible.  These women artisans, just like the jewelry they create, truly are fearfully and wonderfully made.  And I endeavor to help them in their plight, to reveal the incredible jewelry they produce to the rest of the world, allowing them to reap their due reward!  The capitalist at heart would likely to try to exploit them.  I seek to do the opposite -- I desire to empower them!


Why do you produce your goods with a sense of social responsibility the way you do?

I know what it is like to have little, and I have also experienced times of abundance.  It is the people that reached out to me in the times when I had less, that I have come to respect and value most.  I desire to be one of those people, giving from the abundance that was really never my own to claim, to the women artisans that are the sole producers of this jewelry.  I suppose you could call it "social responsibility" but honestly, I just think it's the right thing to do -- I want to run my business with the same moral code I use to run my life.  And I believe most people out there with a heart and compassion, would take a similar stance!
 

 
 
And from time to time, she just needs to have the question answered, ‘aren’t I lovely?’ And I am here to tell her through this collection of jewelry, ‘YES YOU ARE!’
 
 
 
 
 

What would you say to someone who would like to follow in your footsteps?

It's worth it!  I'll never forget an interview I completed with one of the younger Colombian women artisans last year.  She was a woman with the appearance of a mother in her late 30s, but a set of grandchildren nearby suggested she might have been a little bit older.  I asked her if the work we provided had helped her over the course of the last year.  Without a second thought, she broke down crying and told me, "Yes, I really thank you, it's the only form of support I have for my family...after my husband was murdered last month."  The lump in my throat at that moment was palpable.  Today, I refer to that moment as my calling, and I intend to continue helping these artisans as much as I can, as long as I am still able to conduct this business.  I think we all receive a calling like that in our lives, and when it arrives, we must answer.  It's worth it!  


Anything else you would like to say to our (F.W.A.C.) readers?

I would just like to thank your readers for reading, and wanting to learn more about these incredible Colombian women artisans at the heart of this jewelry.  If you get a chance, tell someone you know about "jewelry made from fruit" and how it is changing lives, one cantaloupe seed at a time.

Feminine beauty?

It's our's to reveal to the rest of the world, let it shine!

Empowerment?

At its core, it occurs between one human being and another, but its effects can move mountains.

International business?

The direction our global economy is taking us, buckle up because the ride is just beginning.

Poverty?

Tangible, devastating, and wide-spread.  I try to remember to whom much is given, much is expected.

The role of women in poverty stricken countries?

We must go beyond a role as primary care-takers and sole providers, to become political and economic leaders if corruption, gender inequality, and public health are ever to be improved.

Consumerism?  (i.e. the protection or promotion of the interests of consumers)

An absolute necessity for all companies, that I fear many forfeit as way to soak up more revenue, which ends ultimately in short-sidedness and the company's eventual brutal downfall.

Sustainability?

Another absolute necessity, as our vitality as a human race utterly depends on it.

Your purpose in life?

To extend the same hope, love, and forgiveness given to me by God, to all people around me