Models: Rianne, Salha, Louisa
Photography and Editing: Marion Botella
Jewelry: Beauty of Rwanda
A short interview with Salha, the founder of social enterprise Beauty of Rwanda, on why she decided to start a business to influence the lives of girls in Rwanda from her home in North East England. Check out the collaboration that TrendListr styled with their latest jewelry collection here!
Explain to us what exactly the Beauty of Rwanda does as a business and what inspired you to set it up?
Beauty of Rwanda empowers women and girls in Rwanda through purchasing of handmade products made by the mentioned group, and then selling them to an outside market. We sell these products via the online shop on the website www.beautyofrwanda.com
What do you hope to achieve with Beauty of Rwanda in the coming year?
I hope to empower, educate and develop more women and girls in Rwanda, including their families.
How did you first encounter the makers of the jewelry and homeware that Beauty of Rwanda now sells online?
I met the women who weave these baskets and all the jewellery that Beauty of Rwanda sells by accident. I didn't go out there (Rwanda) seeking women involved in craftsmanship.
The women who make all the beautiful ornaments and jewellery that you've seen, have an exceptional skill that I am proud to introduce to the world. Being a Rwandan tradition, weaving helps keep their traditions and culture alive, but most importantly it puts food on the table for all those involved. Instead of begging on the street, the women prefer to earn a livelihood in a dignified way. The crafts they make are of great beauty and unique because no one piece is the same.
How do you find it running a business from England, but working with suppliers in Africa. How do you get manage this global aspect of the business?
It's not easy. I honestly think this is the hardest part of running the organisation. It's difficult to gauge any kind of situation because the picture that is painted to you (in whatever situation) is not really what you envision.
Do you have any other ethical fashion, beauty or homeware brands that you could recommend to our readers?
No particular one comes to mind but I have come to know of a very great twitter community that tweets every Monday at 8pm GMT using the hashtag #ethicalhour. For anyone wanting to find anything ethical should definitely join this chat. There you'll find plenty of advice, information, help, support and shops of all shapes and sizes.
What is the most difficult thing about running your business?
Too much paperwork. I hate paperwork.
What inspires you?
My son. He came into my life in 2007 and as a result, changed my life forever.
Do you have a favourite jewelry piece from your collection? If so, why?
At present, it's the Tangerine jewelry set. A combination of necklace, earrings, and bangle. The colours in the material used is very bright and for some reason it makes me feel warm on the inside.
What advice do you have for any aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start up a social enterprise?
Get all your ducks in a row. On everything, preferably before you launch.