Jewels for a cause...
It really is the most wonderful time of year....and with Christmas being just around the corner I wanted to throw it back to this time last year when I had the pleasure of meeting and collaborating with the very beautiful Jen Bedrossian, founder & designer of UNCVRD Jewelry.
What sets UNCVRD apart is their vision & mission to bring hope, freedom and restoration to woman and girls living in slavery . 40% of all proceeds go towards the fight against human trafficking. Beautiful pieces & a powerful cause attached. We love that! We also love that UNCVRD has a special deal for every reader. To get 20% off your order just use code LUC20 and be sure to place your order by December 18th to ensure delivery by christmas! Code will be valid until 12/31/16. so make sure you check out UNCVRD to pick your favorites.
I have always been a huge believer in partnering your passion with your purpose and Jen is doing just that! Took some time to ask her how it all began...
Jen Bedrossian, Founder & Designer UNCVRD Jewelry.
What was the inspiration behind starting UNCVRD Jewelry?
I had recently learned about the issue of human trafficking, and at the same time, I knew that I wanted to do something creative. It was like the two things came together at just the right time. I read Undaunted by Christine Caine, and her stories about the survivors that she’s worked with at A21 just totally rocked my world. I started to research and talk to a friend of mine who ran an anti-trafficking organization where I lived in Long Beach, CA, and the more I learned about what was going on in my own city, the more compelled I felt to take some kind of action. I go to bed every night knowing that within a 5-10 mile radius, there are women and girls who are forced to service men and bring back anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars a night to their pimps. That’s the reality for almost anywhere in the United States – no matter where you live, you can almost guarantee that there is this kind of oppression happening around you. It can be so overwhelming to try and think of ways to take action that will make a difference in the fight against trafficking. I want to provide a way for women to make a difference and UNCVRD jewelry has been a great way for people to take that step and start somewhere. I am so encouraged by our customer stories...how these women wear their jewelry, are able to spread awareness, and at the same time, are fighting modern day slavery with their dollar.
What would you say is the vision or mandate behind the business?
The vision of UNCVRD jewelry is simple: to bring hope, freedom, and restoration to women and girls living in slavery. Our goal is to work alongside our fellow freedom fighters to see labor and human sex trafficking abolished in our lifetime. Our jewelry not only financially supports the fight against trafficking by donating 40% of the proceeds from each sale to our partner non-profit organization; it is also a beautiful conversation starter to help spread awareness. We believe that hope and freedom are not luxuries; they are intrinsic rights to which every human is entitled. We believe that it’s up to each one of us to stand up for those who are vulnerable and voiceless, and to use our creative gifts to spark change in the world.
What is the best thing about owning your own company?
I absolutely love the creative side of things. Dreaming up designs, and then playing with my materials until the pieces are perfect. Seeing my ideas on paper come to life. I also love everything about our photo shoots - the concept, styling, the day of excitement...it's so much fun for me. I'm a people person by nature and I really enjoy collaborating with other creative ladies, so that has been a really fun thing to explore. I love meeting new friends and then seeing how we can help each other reach new goals and further our missions.
What is the hardest part of running a business whilst raising a young family?
Oh man. If I’m being honest, I feel like a total failure 99% of the time. If one week I feel like I’m totally crushing it with UNCVRD, then I feel guilty that I haven’t been doing as much with my boys as I should have. On the other hand, if I have had a great week with my boys and my house is clean and the laundry is done and there are no dirty dishes in the sink and there’s a Pinterest-worthy meal on the table, then I feel like UNCVRD isn’t growing and thriving. What I’m learning (very slowly, but I’ll take what I can.haha) is that balance is a magical unicorn that doesn’t exist. I personally don’t believe in “having it all”. Something’s got to give. And that’s okay. Some days I have more work than others, and my toddler watches a little more TV than I would like, and that’s okay. Other days, it’s play dates and playing in the backyard and making cookies, and an order gets shipped one day later than I would like, and that’s okay. I involve my boys in as much as I possibly can where my work is concerned. I know that they can’t understand a lot of what I do, but my 3 year old knows that “mommy makes jewelry that helps people.” I take them with me to the Gems Uncovered Drop-In Center almost every time I go. They’ve been with me when I’ve done jewelry making workshops with survivors, spoke at graduation ceremonies of girls who have completed their court ordered diversion program, and they know the Gems staff. I’m still learning everyday, and I try to be gracious with myself. It’s definitely not easy!
What advice would you give to anyone out there who has a dream in their heart to one day have their own business with a cause?
I would say, GO FOR IT. Like, take that first step. Don’t overthink it. My mantra when I started UNCVRD was literally – ‘Baby steps. Do what you can, with what you have.’ Trust your gut, and don’t listen to naysayers. Tell a trusted friend your dream - make it real. Someone who will encourage you and keep you accountable. And be flexible with yourself! A lot of things that I’ve planned for UNCVRD have taken a different shape as things have gone along, and that’s okay! A lot of times, when I AM flexible, things turn out better than I had planned in the first place. At the end of the day, there is SO much that can be done in our world to make it better. We all have been given unique talents, ideas and perspectives. If you see a need and a way to creatively meet it, the world needs you to make it happen!