Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Knots & Stones Wants You to Feel Good About Looking Good

For Andrea Rodriguez-​Tarazi, Founder of Knots & Stones, jewellery is about both style and substance. I'm privileged to have had the opportunity to chat with Andrea about her eco-friendly accessories and the positive difference their creation makes to many lives.

Q. What inspired you to create an online ethical jewellery boutique?

I had been designing jewelry for several years as a hobby and about three years ago my husband suggested taking my love and enjoyment of this craft to a different level.  As I started to conceptualize the business I realized that it could incorporate my dream of bringing much needed opportunities to many skilled and hard-working people in my native home, Colombia
Andrea Rodriguez-​Tarazi, Founder of Knots & Stones

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about the benefits of seed jewellery? 

Some of the benefits of opting for handmade, seed jewelry are:
  • It is a way of saying “NO” to sweatshop jewelry and to the plastics industry; 
  • It supports and promotes the use of renewable materials; 
  • Using tagua provides an ethical and sustainable alternative to ivory obtained from elephants, whales, walrus, and other species; 
  • It provides an economic alternative for rainforest conservation; 
  • It provides a source of income for many families in developing countries, in our case in South America; 
  • It supports and encourages traditional handicrafts; and 
  • No two seeds are alike, and as such, every piece is unique!
Tagua Nut - pronounced "tah-gwa"

Q. How does Knots & Stones influence the lives of artisans in South America?

We work with two workshops in Colombia. These workshops are owned and managed by the artisans themselves; consequently, they control and set their wages, work hours, and work arrangements (they both have artisans that work from home, some part-time, some full-time). Both shops are registered with the government and follow local wage and hours requirements. 

This work is the primary source (and only source for some of the artisans) of income for all those employed by the workshops.  I hope to continue and grow our relationship with our friends in Colombia because I believe that by supporting micro-enterprises we are providing the artisans with a more certain path out of poverty.

Q. Which ethical designers are inspiring you right now?

I live in NYC so there is plenty of local talent to admire.  When we started we were a regular at a local flea market in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and every weekend I would discover a new ethical designer and/or artist at the market.  No internationally known names but impressive and inspiring just the same.   

Personally I find Livia Firth’s work as an ethical fashion promoter very exciting.  I love the fact that with her Green Carpet Challenge she is bringing attention to ethical fashion by recruiting high-profile celebrities to wear eco-conscious pieces at prominent events.  Also, she recently launched her own eco-friendly/eco-conscious collection and although it’s small, it proves ethical fashion can be classy and stylish. 

Q. How would you describe Knots & Stones’ design aesthetic in 10 words or less?

Simple and easy yet classic and chic.

Q. Do you feel that ethical jewellery is becoming more mainstream?

Totally, and it’s wonderful!  Now that well-known/high-end designers have come out with eco-conscious lines/collections, people are starting to notice that ethical fashion/jewelry can also be beautiful and stylish.

Q. What is one of the most personally rewarding pieces you've ever produced?

I couldn’t pick one.  I would say every piece has a special meaning to me.

Q. What does the future hold for Knots & Stones?

We would like to expand into other accessories like belts, men’s accessories and maybe  some home accents . . . find other ways to bring a little bit of nature to our NYC home.  

You can see more Knots & Stones on Facebook and Twitter!

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