Africa-inspired jewelry brand Yala has been making waves with its exclusive use of reclaimed or recycled crafting materials. The company also employs 150 craftspeople from Kenya. “I wanted to keep the knowledge of traditional crafts that I had learned as a child,” says 36-year-old founder Audrey Migot-Adholla to Forbes. “Over my time my hobby grew to the point that I couldn’t keep up with my customers’ demand anymore.”
Migot-Adholla's network in Kenya would provide her with the artisans she could work with on a personal basis. “Despite the saturated industry I was entering, I could see a niche for sustainably made pieces from a brand with total transparency. So I set up the business with that mindset,” she said.
Yala has only been in business for a year, and founder Migot-Adholla kept a close eye on other brands that put ethical production first, then following suit as a result. “Terms such as ‘Fairmined’ and ‘Eco-gold’ are popping up more and more often in website content and marketing material.”
However, breaching the competitive world of U.K. jewelry with a market worth of £3.3 billion has been an initial hurdle that Yala is working hard to overcome. “The jewelry and accessories industry is an incredibly saturated market, with clear price segments. The most obvious difference is our B-Corp status. Following a months-long validation period, once I received confirmation that Yala had been certified I was also informed that we were the first jewelry company in the U.K. to do so.”
“We showcase the names, faces and stories of all those involved in making our jewelry, and that’s unusual," said Migot-Adholla concerning the company's unique inserts that come with each piece sold. "We want our customers to understand that every product is made by hand and offer them a connection to the people behind the products, as well as the impact that their purchase will have on the lives of the artisans.”
Even though Yala has only been in operation since November 2018, the company won “Jewelry Brand of the Year” at the 2019 Sustainable Jewellery Awards.
Information originally sourced from Forbes.