Sunday, November 23, 2014

Interview with Elisabetta of Kurandza: Empower and Educate Women in Mozambique through Jewelry

Tortoise Computer Glasses | c/o Firmoo
Nude Boho Shawl | Urban Outfitters
Nude Ballet Flats | Shoes of Prey
Photo Credit: Pink Creative Studio

Kicking off my new blog with an interview with the amazing new brand, Kurandza. This social good, ethical (slow) fashion women's African jewelry line is GORGEOUS! They sell bracelets and earrings handmade from the traditional Capulana fabric by women in Southern Mozambique. I love this brand because it is a brand which signifies hope and beauty. Each purchase of jewelry provides HIV-positive women fair employment, and a means to stay healthy and provide for their families. These pieces are all so cute too - say hello to statement pieces that state your fashion savviness and belief in women's empowerment, education, and social change! I hope this interview inspires you as it did me.

 Without further adieu, please join me as I interview Elisabetta, the Founder of the fashion for good social enterprise, Kurandza.

What is the inspiration behind Kurandza?
While I was volunteering with the Peace Corps at a hospital in Mozambique in southeastern Africa for the past three years, I noticed that many HIV positive women in rural villages were unable to reach the nearest hospital every month to pick-up their anti-retroviral treatment because they didn’t have money to pay for transportation. My community counterpart and I had the idea to start a sewing cooperative for these HIV positive women so that they could earn an income, pay for transport to the hospital, and remain adherent and healthy! We procured funds to start the cooperative, built our small workshop out of mud, trained the first group of women in sewing, and started to produce jewelry. When I got back to the U.S., the reaction from family and friends was overwhelming and because I knew that I wanted to find a way to remain connected and continue working with these women, I was inspired to create Kurandza.

What does Kurandza mean? Is there a certain way to pronounce it?
“Kurandza” means “to love” in Changana, the local language of the women with whom we work in Southern Mozambique. Our organization is a partnership based on mutual love and understanding between people of different cultures. Phonetically it is pronounced “Koo – Rahnd – Zah”.

Your jewelry is all handmade. Tell me more about it!
Yes, all of our pieces are handmade with LOVE by our women artisans in Mozambique. Our women spend time on each piece, making sure that it is carefully handcrafted for our customers. Sometimes it takes our women a whole day to make just one set of earrings because they want to make sure that they are of the best quality!

Would you consider your brand as an ethical fashion company? Why or why not?
I would definitely consider Kurandza to be an ethical fashion company because of our social mission of empowering and educating women in Mozambique through entrepreneurship and creative design. In everything we do, we think of how we are working towards our mission and benefiting our women partners.


Where do you source your materials?
All of our products—jewelry, bags, and accessories— are made with traditional fabric called “Capulana” that we get in Mozambique. Capulana cloth is used daily by women in Mozambique either as a head-wrap, around their waist as a skirt, or as a way to carry babies on their back.

Where do you see Kurandza in 5 years? 10 years?
I hope that in the near future, Kurandza grows to be a prominent brand with great demand for our product so that we can build a larger workshop in our current village and create new partnerships in other communities, working with more artisans and making a difference in the lives of more and more women in Mozambique.

What message do you want people to take away from your line? Aside from it's beautiful jewelry.
By purchasing one of our pieces, you are not only receiving a beautiful and unique item, but most important you are helping Mozambican women to become self-sufficient, enabling them to provide for themselves and their families.

My blog's name is beYOUtiful hope. How do you define beauty? :)

I think that beauty is all about being comfortable and confident with who you are and letting your own personality and style shine through.

Follow Kurandza on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

Once Again Inspired,

P.S. Don't forget that Kurandza jewelry would make great holiday gifts! Not only are the pieces gorgeous, but through them you give the gift of hope. Also, I love their eco-friendly packaging. :D

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Newness is Here!!!

The last few months I have been thinking about what it means to be a young woman. When I write this I mean, what it means to graduate college, and not have people telling you what to do, or telling you that A or B is the best option for your future(like professors do in class). Has anyone else gone through this feeling? It is a bit frustrating.

This past year I have been watched my love for Disney Channel watching shows slowly fade, and my yearning to find my place in society, where I can earn income, contribute, and grow increase. This past year I have also been making my way into the ethical fashion world by saying adieu to fast fashion choices(no, it is not easier to do, yes it is worth it)! With all these things happening on top of living life as a daughter of God, I have decided that this little outlet of mine was due for a makeover to reflect my new life outlook. 

What better way to celebrate than with a new look and vision?

To celebrate this new mini-beginning, I have redesigned my blog, created a logo, lined up interviews and collaborations, and am going to be introducing you to inspiring every-day, sisters in Christ, so they may help inspire you on your faith journey as they have done for me! 

Stay tuned because I am going to add new sections to by blog in the next few days! I hope that this new direction on my blog will help us all rediscover fashion, rediscover what it means to be beYoutiful, and help remind us to always appreciate the God that created us.

With Love,

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook

P.S. Kurandza also launched their new website today! What a coinky-dink! They sell beautiful jewelry, made by HOV positive women in Mozambique. Every purchase of their apparel ad jewelry helps give these women a steady income and a new life. So head on over there!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

GIVEAWAY + Yellow Spaghetti Celebrating 1 More Day

Location: LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Los Angeles, California
Model: Jackie

Celebrating One More Day until Newness on Beyoutiful Hope!

One of my goals when I visited California was to do a photoshoot at LACMA. I have always felt that photos taken here were a part of the iconic Southern California fashion blogger scene, after having seen Shae Marie of Peace Love Shae do a photoshoot at LACMA a few years back. Fast forward to...well, now and I had the opportunity to live in SoCal and visit LACMA with friends. My friend who is modeling here for me is someone you have seen on my blog before. 

I want to take a moment to point out what makes her beyoutiful, because I feel like people spend too little time genuinely uplifting each other. Jackie has a joyous spirit that has a yearning to see what is best for others. She is a strong, empowered women, who is a hard worker and also likes to have fun. This gal is not hesitant to lend a helping hand and truly lives out what it means to have a sisterhood with other young women. She is growing daily in her faith journey, which is so beautiful. Oh yea, she is also so beautiful, like... I would buy my kid an American girl doll of here if there was one. :p

With Love,

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook!

P.S. Like free stuff?  CLICK HERE to enter the Snowpeak x Sseko Designs "Ultimate Fall Giveaway"! 
Learn more about Sseko Designs from my last post, here.