Callia’s Social Mission: Sustainable Fashion Empowering African Women
Callia is an ethical jewelry brand that applies fair trade principals to empower low-income women in the Ivory Coast, West Africa. Callia Jewelry trains rural women’s associations to produce and supply organic beads. It then trains urban women artisans to design and craft these beads into high-end, handmade beaded jewelry. These women also participate in technical training on production and design, to develop their professional skills. Callia’s jewelry is empowering a new generation of African women artisans to drive social and economic change. Each piece of Callia Jewelry that you buy generates income that enables Callia’s women suppliers and artisans to support their families.
Follow us on a journey, to meet two of the women behind our brand.
Meet Nana, Papyrus Seed Supplier
Nana has lived in the village of Torgohka for her entire 42 years. With only a primary education, she supports her 5 children and 3 grandchildren by selling beads that she makes from a local seed. Once a year, she travels 10 hours by bus to Mankono, to cut “Tchetcheourai” reeds, which she will turn into beads.
To help other women, Nana started the Elidja de Torgohka Women’s Association, which has created a group business selling papyrus seed beads. Until 2016, Nana and the other women earned about $3 per week each from their beads. But in 2016, they began selling their beads to Callia for a 53% price premium. In addition to earning more for their beads, the association received Callia technical training that increased their efficiency and saved them over 1,500 manhours in the first year of partnership.
These beads travel by bus to Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s bustling commercial capital, where 60% of youth are unemployed. The beads make their way to Callia’s workshop, where Fatou is among nearly 10 full-time employee artisans who transform the seeds into Callia jewelry.
Meet Fatou, Artisan
Fatou is a single mother who cannot read or write. Before joining Callia, she relied on odd jobs to support her son, who she struggled to keep in school. Then Fatou joined Callia. She completed a one-year paid internship, where she received training on jewelry making and design, and began earning a competitive monthly wage from the jewelry she made. She became a full-time employee in October, 2015, and now enjoys the financial stability to pay her son’s school fees every term, without stress.
Fatou excelled in design, and her skills and motivation earned her a promotion from Artisan to Design Specialist. She has played a key role in creating many of Callia’s jewelry collections.