Our History

We began in 2006 as a small group of friends who could no longer simply walk by the women and girls we observed being exploited around our city. None of us had a business or jewelry design background. What we shared was a desire to restore hope and bring freedom. We never imaged that today our jewelry brand would be loved by women all around the world who share the same vision.

Our Founder, Jenny



2006

Young girls sitting in windows under the red lights called us to action. We began by visiting brothels and building relationships with the women and girls we met. Little by little, we’d find a commonality, like our kids or our favorite food, and a conversation would begin. Week after week, we’d return to the same places. Our awkward chats slowly turned into coffee dates, throwing birthday parties for the women and even giving English lessons. As the women began to trust us, they shared their stories. Many were tricked by people they loved and even sold into brothels.

The following year, during an Easter party we held in the red light district, five women made the incredibly brave decision to escape their lives of exploitation. Knowing that leaving the brothel was only the first step in experiencing freedom, we launched full force into starting a business that would offer employment to our new friends — some of whom had never been to school a day in their life. Inspired by our vision to celebrate the value and beauty of each woman, our jewelry company was born. We e rented a bright and cheery two-bedroom apartment with a hilarious orange sofa, and this space became our shelter and production area. The women made their first pairs of earrings around the dining room table.

By the end of our first year in business, we completed our first large wholesale order of 60,000 pairs of earrings! By June, we outgrew the orange sofa apartment and upgraded to a larger space as the women joining Starfish Project more than doubled! Equally as exciting were the birth of the first Starfish Project baby and the first Starfish Project wedding. It’s astounding how we, a group of women from vastly different backgrounds and stories, became a family.


2011

Five years later, we had established the only safe house and training facility for women escaping exploitation in our city of over 20 million. With more and more women wanting to join us, we poured ourselves into developing high quality, on-trend jewelry, ready for the international market. To employ more women and offer fair wages, we needed to sell a lot of jewelry because more sales equals more women hired. During this time, we were approached by another group of women seeking to replicate the project in a different part of Asia. We hopped on a train and met the women who shared our dream. After hearing their hearts and seeing their wonderful tenacity, we expanded Starfish Project, and the Riverside Branch was launched.

The women in our headquarters were so excited to go on their first business trip to the branch office that you’d have thought we were actually buying them a plane! It was a powerful moment seeing women that came to Starfish Project broken, with less than third grade education levels, going across the country to train up new staff at the Riverside Branch.

As we continued to grow, we saw the potential for women on our production line to develop careers in fields like photography and accounting. We had the incredible privilege to encourage and equip our friends with skills that could take them far beyond Starfish Project. The life transformations were, and still are, incredible! It’s a privilege to work alongside each woman, not only to make jewelry, but also to dream of a future for her and her family.


2020

Though we started as a small group of women hoping on behalf of others who had lost all hope, Starfish Project has grown into a highly successful jewelry brand. We are featured in household-name stores and fair-trade businesses all across America. We are proud that our jewelry business, now mostly run by women who have escaped human trafficking, is leading the way in on-trend designs and industry leading quality for ethical fashion.

Yet, there are still many women and girls in exploitation today. We desire to see each one experience freedom. With your help, we can! Your purchases are an investment into this powerful mission to see women and girls experience freedom, establish independence and develop careers that will transform lives for generations.

The Starfish Parable

One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.

Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”.

The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”

The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said,

“I made a difference to that one!”