Over the last two years we've been re-visioning our company. We now have a staff of seven, including three amazing jewelers now employed with us (as of 2016) for six, eight, and fourteen years. We encourage them to design their own and pay them royalties. We don't work with CADCAM or computer modeling; it takes decades of experience, skill and practice to make the type of jewelry we make. Our jewelers have over seventy years of combined experience as makers.
We are always striving to merge business practices with our strong concern for ecological and social justice. Helen serves on the executive committee of our local farmers market as the treasurer and is very active supporting our northern New Mexico agricultural community. She also sings at hospices. I've taken action against dirty gold and the blood diamond atrocities. I've been writing, speaking, campaigning and whining to anyone who will listen to me about ethical sourcing jewelry issues for years. I am on a few Santa Fe boards and initiated and co-led Santa Fe's opposition to a proposed gold mine
. I also co-founded Fair Jewelry Action
in 2009, with my friend and colleague, Greg Valerio, who was just honored by Prince Charles
for starting the Fairtrade Gold movement.
Our company began using Fairtrade gold 2011. In April 2015, after ten years of working with Greg and others we became the first licensed Fairtrade Jeweler in the USA. We continue to support Fairtrades' Gold launch in the US market as their commercial liaison, providing critical contacts that will lay the groundwork for more jewelers to enter the system.
Over the decades our understanding of what it means to be in business has evolved. We started out just trying to make enough money to survive. We created a strong company, nearly lost it and had to start over. I like to tell people I got my MBA in Haiti, because that is where I saw indescribable poverty and knew that whatever I ended up doing in my life, I had to alleviate suffering. Now, we see ourselves as a purpose driven business of makers and designers catalyzing global change. Being the only Fairtrade Gold jeweler
creates amazing possibilities.
Imagine the first fair trade coffee or chocolate company in the US thirty or forty years ago. That's us for jewelry.
When the US consumer market adopts Fairtrade gold, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of small-scale miners will find their lives improved. When this happens, we can say that one of the starting points was our small studio on Baca Street in Santa Fe, New Mexico started by a couple that were not afraid to take some risks for what they care about.
We still live in the same house with chickens, turkeys, a dog and cat who is an excellent mouse hunter. The place become a permaculture oasis in our barrio neighborhood.