Yes, you are reading it correctly! This artisan brand is called "Umiwi Not A Fairy Tale", and this is for a reason: It's not a fairy tale anymore, because Dorothea actually realized her dream of supporting people to become financially independent! Through this interview with Dorothea you'll find out more about Umiwi and their living fairy tale.
Can you tell us about yourself?
My name is Dorothea (Doro) and I'm a 31-year-old from Berlin. I'm the lucky owner of Umiwi Not A Fairy Tale. We create handmade jewelry that represents timeless elegance. The jewelry pieces are made from natural materials, by beloved aritsans who are passionate about their handicrafts. Our artisans are indigenous women, hill tribe people and artisans from Thailand and Mexico who work in charity projects.
Could you describe Umiwi in one line?
Umiwi sells handmade jewelry items that are crafted from natural materials from Thailand and Mexico.
What is the story behind Umiwi?
The main idea is that we'd like to work with people who don't have the change to chance their lives and to earn sustainable income. So far, the projects we did have been kept alive through external donations. Our goal is that we want to become financially independent.
Tell us more about the Umiwi Team!
Kathrin and I founded Umiwi in June 2011. We work together in a small team with Julia, Julian and Florian. Julia is the communication and PR manager, Julian is the creative brand director and Florian is responsible for the new project in India.
We are currently working with an aid project in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and Karen, a small hill tribe from Northern Thailand. We also work with a project in Mexico. We make sure that the artisans receive a fair salary for the products we sell on Discovered and in Germany.
In Chiang Mai, we have a skills center that is founded by Lukas. Pah Lek and Phi Seng are two of the artisans that work there and Ning is the expert and designer in this center. Win is our contact person who communicates with Karen, the small hill tribe organization. For our new cooperation in Thailand, Mareike is our contact person.
In Mexico, Gerardo is our contact person. Antona, Agustina and Lucia are the wool and fabric experts. Marie Sol, Mandy and Remy are the experts in crocheting the wool (the wool techniques they use here). Cynthia is the designer of the wool and silver handmade jewelry.
What kind of goods do you make?
All the artisans of Umiwi make beautiful handmade jewelry. The artisans in Mexico create Bomélos, which are pendants and earrings that are crafted from wool and recycled silver. In Thailand, the Chiang Mai artisans produce mango wood bracelets and their latest products, small wooden beaded studs. The artisans in our cooperation Karen create filigree silver necklaces.
We heard that you have done a crowdfunding campaign!
Yes, we did a crowdfunding campaign to launch two new product lines in cooperation with two new aid projects. Umiwi had already established good contact with an aid project in New Delhi, India as well as with another project in Chiang Mai, Urban Light. Now we need the money to be on site. But we needed to know what can be produced, what kind of materials they offer, who the artisans are and what the final product should look like. And most important: is the whole production process sustainable and is everything made from natural materials?
To ensure the high quality of our products, it takes time to find the proper approach and to build the connection with the people we want to work with. That is why we needed 7,500 euro per project. And we reached our goal!