Who Makes My Jewelry?
I sat down with Jenny, the Founder and chief designer here at Starfish Project, over a warm cup of Chai to discuss all things jewelry creation and our new collection!
From experience I can tell you, Jenny returns from sourcing trips full of inspiration. For weeks after you can find her sneaking away between meetings to the design table where she works with Hong Fay to create samples.
Jenny shared that the women of Starfish Project are involved in each step of creating a new collection. It all begins with a trip down south, to another city, where Jenny and Cici source raw materials to create with. Jenny met Cici years ago in a brothel and offered her a way out through dignified work at Starfish Project. Cici quickly moved up into a leadership role and is now the expert on all things gold plating and sourcing! Cici says, "It always made me so happy when the materials we ordered come in with no quality problems!” Jenny loves to see Cici in her element, building relationships with each vendor and not settling for less than the best in quality.
As all the bits and pieces arrive Bee and Ping lay-out the new claps, color samples, stones and earring hooks in the design area. From experience I can tell you Jenny returns from their sourcing trips full of inspiration. For weeks after you can find her sneaking away between meetings to the design table where she works with Hong Fay to create samples.
After each sample gets passed around the production workshop and tried on by a few of us in the office it’s given to June or Mae Lee who take sample photos of the piece. The photos help Jenny and the team decide on color variations and design edits. Hong Fay then creates the final sample and trains the women on our production line to create the piece. A sample of each new piece is then given to our Marketing Team who name the pieces and work with Jenny on a collection theme. Deciding on a theme for each new collection is always fun in our bi-lingual working environment! Somethings just don’t translate well and the team often looks like they are playing a hilarious game of charades. When naming a new collection the Marketing Team along with Jenny consider both the materials used and experiences in the lives of the women Starfish Project.
In the midst of trauma triggers and uncertainty the women of Starfish Project have not only survived, they have thrived!
Jenny shared that our new Fall for Iridescence Collection was named for the beautiful iridescent opal and natural stones it was created with. Yet it also speaks of the brilliance of the women of Starfish Project. Each one has continued to shine during this difficult season. Some have become the sole providers for their families due to COVID-19 cutbacks. Others have taken this opportunity to dive into their studies so that they can help their children with schooling. In the midst of trauma triggers and uncertainty the women of Starfish Project have not only survived, they have thrived! Our hope is that each new collection would be a celebration of the women in our program as well as the beautiful jewelry they create!
Jenny beamed as she said, “It’s so exciting to see women learn new skills and move into leadership positions at Starfish Project!”
Once a collection name is chosen, and much chocolate is eaten, June and Mae Lee go to work photographing each and every piece. At the same time, Fan works on export documents while the women in production package the beautiful pieces for shipping. Jenny shared that our new website, that was launched in May 2020, has given even more training opportunities. Our western staff are currently training Ping and Tao on the backend of our website to upload the product images and descriptions. By the end of the year we hope they will be fully equipped and confident with the computer skills to run the backend of the website for each new launch. Jenny beamed as she said, “It’s so exciting to see women learn new skills and move into leadership positions at Starfish Project!”
You play a huge part in helping us provide dignified work for women escaping human trafficking and exploitation.
Finally, the new collection is released to you! You play a huge part in helping us provide dignified work for women escaping human trafficking and exploitation. By purchasing Starfish Project jewelry, you allow us to reach out to more women still in the brothels weekly and help us to provide training for the women in our program. Your reviews and photos on instagram and Facebook are an incredible encouragement to our team with each new collection. Thank you for being a part of the Starfish Project community!