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Doing Our Part for the Planet


By Alex Boehler

Outreach Associate

Sustainability is strongly woven into the fabric of Artisans Thrive: a core value of our organization is to design fashion-forward, ethically made products.

We don’t just want to source products that are fair-trade, but we want to go a step further and partner with artisans that are using recycled, repurposed, and local materials to create their products.

We are dedicated to sustainability along the entire value chain of a product and are proud to showcase how we work with our partners to make this happen. 

Take Haiti’s Jewels, a women-majority artisan cooperative from Haiti that creates beautiful jewelry from recycled aluminum cans. The artisans create necklaces and bracelets from something that would have otherwise been thrown away: the true meaning of “trash to treasure”.

 Elina Necklace from Haiti, made with recycled aluminum

Or, Our partner Kiran, who focuses on women in the informal sector of the slums of Kolkata, creates jewelry using recycled saris specific to their region. The Veer necklace, meaning brave in Hindi, uses these saris.


 Veer Necklace from India, made with recycled saris

Or, Friendship Bridge’s Artisan Market Access Program which supports women artisans in Guatemala. The Maria Clutch is created out of re-purposed huipiles, which is a Mayan woman’s blouse and is an important part of her personal and village identity!


The Maria Clutch uses re-purposed Mayan woman's blouses.

In Uganda, our partner SOUL Foundation works with mostly widowed or single women in a village called Walekuba. Their Namukasa clutch is handmade with recycled paper, lacquer, fishing wire, thread, and katenge (local fabric).

The Namukasa clutch uses recycled paper to make beads that are tied together.

In Kenya, women part of the International Peace Initiatives Bettering Our Lives by Design program create the Jehlani earrings, meaning strong in Swahili. These earrings are created from non-harvested cow horn, which would otherwise be wasted. 

Jehlani earrings from Kenya, made with non-harvested cow horn

Finally, here in the United States we also want to be conscious of our sustainability practices. Which is why we have partnered with Eco- Enclose, a Boulder-based company that creates compostable, biodegradable, and sustainable products. So, when you visit us at an event or pop-up in the Denver area, we give you the choice of taking a bag or not. If you would like one, know that it's made from 100% recycled paper and is naturally biodegradable!

These are small things we're doing to help our planet, in addition to helping women, and we'll keep looking for more ways!

Have you seen any interesting use of materials in artisan products? If so, we'd love to hear more in the comments!


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