Traditional Craft Jewelry & Wildlife Conservation in Africa with Kimber Leblicq

This jewelry line is preserving the traditional craft of the Maasai people while providing a real, sustainable solution to wildlife conflict in Africa. Join me for my conversation with convener and curator, Kimber Leblicq.

Kimber joins me from Seattle, Washington to talk about kimber elements, a social enterprise focused on sculpting bonds between women and wildlife in Kenya.  Kimber’s organization creates jewelry that combines the traditional craft of the Maasai people, including intricate beadwork, with the minimalist aesthetic Kimber has refined herself, over years of being a metalsmith. Proceeds from jewelry sales support economic stability for women living in the Amboseli region, where interaction with wildlife is common, and give young girls the opportunity to study wildlife conservation.

3 Simple Ideas To Make a Difference:

1. PURCHASE PRODUCTS THAT SUPPORT COMMUNITIES LIVING NEAR WILDLIFE.  Become a part of a sustainable solution by contributing to the income of people living in areas that are likely to have wildlife conflict.  kimber elements is a perfect option for traditional craft jewelry.  Check our list of curators below for more ideas.

2. LOOK UP THE STORY.  Before purchasing anything, look up its story.  Where is it made?  How is it made?  Who made it?  Who and what benefits from its sale?  Choose items with clear, transparent stories.

3. DO WE REALLY NEED THIS?  Before purchasing anything, ask ourselves if we really need this.  What is its lifespan?  Where was it before us, how long will it be with us, and where will it go after us?

LISTEN TO THE EPISODE:

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How purchasing from kimber elements helps:

I’m not only obsessed with the aesthetic of kimber elements jewelry line, I’m also obsessed with how much good each purchase does in the world.  Buying traditional craft jewelry from kimber elements does all of these things:

  • preserves and celebrates Maasai traditional craft
  • creates a sustainable livelihood for the women who are a part of the project who re-invest their fair wages in other micro businesses
  • supports the artisan’s daughters to pursue a career in wildlife conservation
  • supports Wildlife Works eco-factory, which is located in a wildlife sanctuary in Kenya and provides sustainable packaging
This jewelry line is preserving the traditional craft of the Maasai people while providing a real, sustainable solution to wildlife conflict in Africa. Join me for my conversation with convener and curator, Kimber Leblicq.

A focus on women:

kimber elements currently employs 30 artisan women in the Tsavo / Amboseli region of Kenya, near Mt. Kilimanjaro.  The team’s mission is rooted in providing economic stability and opportunities in wildlife conservation for women.

Traditionally a patriarchal community, Maasai women often don’t have the opportunity to pursue an education.  But wildlife conservation is a very viable career for people who live in that region.  And providing opportunities for women and young girls to get into conservation is a strategy that can bring sustainable development to this part of the world.

Wildlife conflict is a deep, difficult issue to solve, and Kenya seems to be at the forefront of ideas.  kimber elements is an example of a solution that brings financial independence to a culture that could be susceptible to wildlife conflict, poaching, and other means of income that work against wildlife conservation.  With solutions like this, people and animals can benefit simultaneously.

How to find brands that make the world better:

Kimber shared that one of her favorite ways to help animals and the environment is to invest in brands that are helping people who live in close proximity to wildlife.  And by preserving the traditional craft of those people.

If we don’t have time to find these brands ourselves, we can shop through small businesses that curate ethical and sustainable brands for us.  Here are some examples:

  • The Cura Co. – a shop that curates products that bring positive change to the world
  • Sustainable Jungle – a blog with sustainable product ideas & brand lists
  • The Good Trade – a blog with ethical shopping lists
  • The Honest Consumer – a blog with a brand directory
  • Good on You – an easy to understand rating of brands
  • Fair Trade Winds – a shop that carries handmade and verified fair trade products
  • Wearwell – my favorite one-of-a-kind membership service that carries only ethical and sustainable clothing brands (affiliate link)

Podcast Transcript:

This episode was transcribed with ai technology from otter.ai.  Please excuse any typos or incorrect language.

Brandy Montague 0:00
Welcome to episode number 38 of the For Animals For Earth podcast: jewelry that protects wildlife, and traditional craft in Africa with Kimber Leblicq.

Kimber Leblicq 0:11
Wildlife conservation is a viable livelihood in Kenya. And, you know, we believe women need to be at the forefront of that industry too.

Brandy Montague 0:19
That was Kimber Leblicq. She is the convener and curator of Kimber Elements. Kimber elements is a social enterprise that’s focused on sculpting the bonds between women and wildlife in Kenya.

Brandy Montague 0:34
As we get started I would love for you to go look up their traditional craft jewelry, just so that you can have it in mind as we talk. It’s a really cool combination of beadwork that is traditional craft to the women in Kenya that work on the project, and then metal work that Kimber has studied over the years and really perfected her style too. It’s a really cool combo so go check it out. It’s at Kimberelements.com, and at Kimber Elements on Instagram. And while you’re looking, I’ll tell you the fun story about how Kimber and I met.

Brandy Montague 1:09
We really met by chance through social media and through people that we have gotten to know over the years. So if you guys remember, a year ago in episode two, Laura Choi was on and she is the president of fashion for conservation, and she was telling me that her favorite store on Earth is called The Cura Co. and it’s located in Seattle. So you know I did her show notes, moved on, and a couple of months ago I was on Pinterest, and I got randomly matched up with Cura Co. And I thought that sounds so familiar. How do I know Cura Co? And so I looked it up and sure enough, that was the store that Laura mentioned and Kimber sells jewelry at Cura Co. So after connecting with Cura Co. I then connected with Kimber. It’s just really fun how sometimes this world can feel small, and that’s kind of what excites me and keeps me going.

Brandy Montague 2:09
So, the simple idea for today’s episode is to look up the story behind products before we purchase them, and specifically if you’re passionate about helping wildlife, look for brands that support economic independence for families that are living in these rural areas where wildlife conflict is at risk. And at the end of the episode we’ll tell you about a couple of ways that you can do that. So for today’s show notes, go to ForAnimalsForEarth.com/podcast/38.

Brandy Montague 2:44
Hi there this is Brandy and you’re listening to the For Animals For Earth podcast. This is a space where we inspire each other, to take small steps every day to live a more conscious life to helping the animals in the planet, while we do it. I’m so glad that you’re here, let’s all take a deep breath, and let’s get started.

Brandy Montague 3:10
So can we start off with, can you tell us what is Kimber elements?

Kimber Leblicq 3:15
Sure. Well, first of all thank you for hosting me today so it’s a great intro and I’m really excited to have this conversation with you, and I’m glad we found each other.

Kimber Leblicq 3:26
So Kimber elements is a female forward, social enterprise. We create unique modern jewelry that celebrates traditional craft and promotes wildlife conservation. So we do that by providing economic stability by paying our artisans fair wages, so that enables them to support their families, and provide education for their children. And in addition, our artisans are learning business skills. They collectively reinvest a portion of their wages in micro businesses to produce alternate sources of income, and then a portion of our sales provide scholarships for our artisan’s daughters to study and pursue a career in wildlife conservation.

Brandy Montague 4:08
Can you talk a little bit about the micro business piece? What does that mean? They take part of their earnings and reinvest them in micro businesses, what does that mean?

Kimber Leblicq 4:17
Yeah, so not only do they make an income from their traditional craft jewelry sales (they determine the price that we pay so that’s how we define fair wages). And then, when the jewelry sells, and they get paid, they also collectively decide what to do with their revenue as a community. So they’re investing in micro businesses in order to get alternative sources of sustainable income. And what they’ve done so far is they’ve collectively invested in a beehive so they can produce honey. They’re pastoralists. I’m working with the Maasai community in Kenya, so they also buy livestock and that’s for them as their currency their savings account. And for women to have access to livestock is a big deal. It’s mostly the men who have the livestock and are the the herders. So, for women to invest in themselves and have their own savings account and their own economy is very important. And also during these times, it also helps them so they’re not relying just on traditional craft jewelry sales, so they also have other income opportunities. And having those income opportunities also helps them have a sustainable livelihood. So they’re not relying on other means of unsustainable income which is like selling charcoal, which is charcoal burning, wildlife poaching, bush meat. So, they’re investing in other reliable sources of income and that also helps them provide for their families, and also pay for their children to stay in school.

Brandy Montague 5:59
That’s really incredible that they are, I guess, number one, so community focused and coming together in, in pooling money that they make to work together to all grow, and then also just the, I guess the wherewithal or the future strategic thinking bigger thinking of being able to do that, do you is that, do you think that comes from their culture.

Kimber Leblicq 6:32
Absolutely, it’s like the collective culture. You know what I’m learning. I’m learning a lot, working with this community they’re teaching me a lot. So this is not my culture, so it’s hard for me to speak for them, but what I have been learning is that, you know, it’s not about the individual, it’s about the collective. And it’s because resources are scarce, and so as a community, you know, they share food, they share resources, they share, you know, their communal land, so it’s very much about the collective, and it’s you know because they are have limited resources, and some are experiencing poverty, so it’s very much a part of their culture.

Brandy Montague 7:15
You know it’s not that there’s a benefit to that, obviously, but you know just comparing that to the culture of a lot of us here in the United States where it feels like there’s been a disconnect from that community aspect and just the community realization of pooling things together to help everyone and help the collective and not necessarily trying to get mine and hoard mine, which, you know, I think it’s not anything that anyone consciously does, but I do feel a little bit like, that’s almost like the mentality or the philosophy that a lot of us have grown up with here in the States, maybe over the past 30 years or maybe we didn’t grow up with it, we just automatically became that way because the scarcity didn’t exist. I’m not sure. I’m not sure what it is, but it really sounds very inspiring to hear communities working together, thinking of each other, and it makes me hope that the rest of the world, even those of us in these developed countries that don’t experience the scarcity can learn from and somehow, continue to come together in that way where we’re all supporting each other and working together to grow. I think there’s a lot to be learned, like you said.

Kimber Leblicq 8:46
Yeah, agreed and I think you know, just, there’s a lot of sociological, cultural, environmental reasons for that, you know. We all experienced that in our different cultures, but I think you know during this pandemic that made us really realize the importance of community no matter where we lived, and how we were experiencing this, so.

Brandy Montague 9:05
And I do feel like we’re starting to see a movement here in the States, back to community focus. You know I don’t know if you feel like you’re seeing that as well and sometimes I wonder if it’s just, you know, living in LA. LA, just by design is a lot of kind of small towns, it’s, there’s not really a big center of the city here. Obviously there’s downtown LA but that’s not really seen as kind of like the center of the city, it’s very much kind of like small towns making up the big city. And I do see LA being a place where people kind of come together in their little communities, maybe more so than some of the other places I’ve lived. So I don’t know if it’s just kind of an evolution that we’re all getting back to community, or if it’s just that LA is kind of designed that way, but it does feel like there’s been more embracing of just farmers markets, like local parks, just things to bring people together and then obviously, to your point with COVID kind of stopped, but now we all know how much we miss it, too. Right.

Kimber Leblicq 10:15
Yeah.

Brandy Montague 10:16
So can you tell us a little bit about the culture that you work with? So you said it was the Maasai, right? Can you tell us a little bit about them? What part of the, what part of the, I mean I know they live in Kenya what part of Kenya, do they live in? And, yeah, can you just tell us a little bit about them?

Kimber Leblicq 10:37
Yeah, sure. So, I traveled to Kenya in 2019, and I visited Kenya to really understand the complexities of human wildlife conflict and to really observe how Kenya is at the forefront of implementing really interconnected solutions to this really challenging and complex situation. The most important lesson I learned is that it’s really critical for people to support conservation and for conservation to support people. So, during my travels I met an indigenous community who expressed their desire to create a market driven solution to generate social and environmental change. And they invited me to collaborate with them to create an artisan group, which is 30 Maasai women. And so I feel like I’m an honored humbled guest to be an outsider and to be involved with their community.

Kimber Leblicq 11:39
So, our partners are Isaiah and Naomi, they’re our project managers, and Isaiah is a conservation guide, and it’s in that Amboseli Tsavo ecosystem, which is a popular tourist destination. It’s in southern Kenya. And his wife’s a school teacher, and her name’s Naomi. And the two of them really wanted to build this collective and during our conversations they learned that I am a jewelry designer. And so that just kind of led to me asking questions about their traditional craft jewelry, and, you know, there was just a natural connection there.

Kimber Leblicq 12:23
So yeah our traditional craft jewelry is made by Maasai women in that area. And, you know, our joint collaboration is really celebrating and preserving their traditional craft. Well, you know, creating this beautiful jewelry, which their tradition is for beautification. And it’s worn by both men and women. And yeah, so we just kind of have this collaborative process where we co-design together, and we do it via WhatsApp with sketches and photos and chats, and we just go back and forth. So we’ve got like an iterative design process, and I still think we’re learning our design chops, you know. We’ve come a long way in a year, and you know it’s like a blending of a combination of our strengths, which I really love. So kind of my background is a metalsmith, and their traditional beadwork and their patterns I think they complement each other really nicely.

Brandy Montague 13:26
They definitely complement each other really nicely and it’s neat to see the textures come together and then knowing that there’s a story behind them is even, even stronger. How cool that you guys work on WhatsApp, I mean, you have the ability to get on video I guess and chat and send, I mean it’s fun, it shows is one of the, I guess, tactical ways that you get these things done on different sides of the world.

Kimber Leblicq 13:56
Absolutely, yeah. How Tech’s involved and how technology really is bringing us closer, you know, just on a different part of the world. Before we went on for this conversation I was like my partner’s on WhatsApp and so this is normally the time of day that we communicate, and check in with each other. And, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of barriers, which also become our opportunities right? So it’s like, you know, they have limited access to resources and, you know, for shipping, international shipping. There’s a lot of things and access to traditional craft beads and sometimes my partner doesn’t have access to internet and you know it’s just, it’s just something we have to work through.

Brandy Montague 14:37
Yeah, I think, you know, it’s interesting because I feel like, although it could be hard, it actually sounds exciting because it’s like all these challenges that you get to work through and I guess. I guess it’s exciting because you have two people on the other end who you know both have the same goals, the same dreams and hopes for what it will be. You have people to work together, and I guess I feel like I always believe that when there are people who want the same things and are working together, there’s always a solution. Like that whole idea of two brains become three right? So I would think, yeah, really exciting.

Brandy Montague 15:17
Did you say, I know you said her name is Naomi, did you say his name is Isaiah? I was trying to remember. Isaiah, okay. So the two of them, they live in this area and you said he does wildlife conservation. Can you talk a little bit about, I know you’ve described the area they live in, to me before about how it’s on the edge, I think of a conservation. Can you talk a little bit about that and then maybe a little bit about his part of what he does?

Kimber Leblicq 15:47
Sure. So he studied wildlife conservation and tourism, like a guide. So he’s a conservation guide, and he’s Maasai, and so he works at a local camp, which is around the perimeter of Amboseli National Park. So the women I’m working with are in Kimana village. And Kimana village is one of the closest villages to Amboseli. And so he works with one of the camps. He does guided walks, you know, guided tours to Amboseli, and he really talks about the local flora and fauna and the animals. He’s like, so knowledgeable, I mean I’ve just learned so much from him about his deep knowledge of the land and wildlife, and he’s deeply committed to conservation. And, you know the Maasai community also have group ranches, which is collectively how they could parse up their land. And he has, you know his acreage which his hope and dream is to eventually open and run at Wildlife Conservation school on his land, which is, which is awesome.

Kimber Leblicq 16:59
And then Naomi is a school teacher in Kimana, I think, in primary school, one of the early education tracks. Yeah, so they live in that area. And what was your second question.

Brandy Montague 17:14
You know, that’s that kind of is answering it because I was just wondering, like, about him and his connection to wildlife conservation because you had mentioned in the beginning about how you wanted to go to Kenya, because they seem to have discovered and continue to discover a lot of solutions in Kenya where you really look at why. Why poaching is happening, why, you know, hunting, maybe hunting more than needed is happening or whatever. These different things that are happening that I feel like when you are on the side of “save wildlife” and you’re not familiar with it, it’s kind of like, stop it, stop it, like, don’t kill the elephants. Why are you killing the elephant? Stop killing the elephants. But then there’s all of these like reasons behind why these things happen from conflict to poaching to whatever, and it does feel like in that part of the world, there are so many people who are really meeting that at the truth of where it is and saying, Okay, this, this is happening for reasons, how do we come up with solutions to help support people, so that it’s not naturally happening as often as it is. And slowly kind of like, phase those quote unquote bad things out by replacing them with something that can be another source of income, and another source of livelihood. And so, I, I always find that part of the world fascinating as well, because it seems like there’s really a lot of solutions there and so, yeah, that’s, that’s kind of I think where my question was. Because I think I’m just always wanting to understand more because I haven’t seen it myself, like what does it look like? What does life for them look like? You know what, yeah, what does life for them look like.

Kimber Leblicq 19:10
Yeah, and it’s, it’s complex and I am not an expert in this. I’m passionate about it and I read a lot about it and I’m learning a lot about it so it’s a really complex problem with really complex challenges and solutions. So, yeah, it’s multi layered. And, yeah, there’s many factors and many solutions, and I do feel like you know Kenya is one of the countries. And there are other countries on the African continent, you know, who are addressing this as well but I just really, you know, Kenya to me is at the forefront

Brandy Montague 19:48
It’s also, and I would assume this is because the knowledge and the philosophy kind of feeds itself as people who live there, talk to each other but it is neat, that the education slash, what’s the word I’m looking for not the education but the just the, the knowledge of there being other opportunities snowballs and kind of feeds itself within an area where people are recognizing that and then sharing it with each other because I was thinking how exciting it is that Naomi and Isaiah, came to you with this idea, knowing, either as opportunity to do something here and help the world help animals help the earth help people, all in like a good solid way right so it’s neat that those conversations are happening.

Kimber Leblicq 20:47
Yeah, I mean absolutely I mean, we believe that, you know, when, particularly women are economically empowered you know the environment is better managed human wildlife conflict is reduced. And, you know, community member livelihoods are improved, so that’s why we’re really focusing on, you know, really, amplifying the women giving them access to a global market and economy so they can invest in the resources that they need, you know, they drive those decisions, they know what they need for their family and their livelihood. And then also, you know, wildlife conservation is a viable livelihood in Kenya. And, you know, we believe women need to be at the forefront of that industry too. There are a lot of women guides and conservationists and botanist and scientists and biologists and so it’s really you know, making sure that you know girls stay in school have access to school. And, you know, get, get an education and conservation.

Brandy Montague 21:49
Has it traditionally been a culture where the women are maybe not as equally seen as men, as in, like a lot of places in the world but that’s not necessarily every place in the world so that’s my first question for you. And then about the efforts that you’re doing to help keep the, the young girls learning and in school and is wildlife conservation kind of like the big thing that everybody wants to learn right now?

Kimber Leblicq 22:17
Great questions. Okay, I’ll start with the first one so the Maasai culture is definitely a patriarchal society. And so, that first and foremost is a barrier for women. And so, and the women do everything right, I mean they have, you know they have multiple wives, lots of children, and they have to cook and clean care for their family care for their livestock, make beaded traditional craft jewelry on the side for, you know they sell to tourists for money. They are the center of the household, and they do everything. So I think the barrier for keeping girls in school is because the girls also have to help take care of the household right so they don’t fetch the water and firewood. And so the boys, already have an upper hand, and the opportunity that I think when resources are tight, and they can’t pay for school fees they keep the boys at school, and they keep the girls at home, to be the housekeepers and to, you know help maintain the household.

Kimber Leblicq 23:27
So, so there’s a lot of cultural barriers for girls and women to receive an education. I think that is really shifting and modern times, you know, I think. I think that mindset is changing. So, and I just, that’s just a cultural shift. And so then, part of our scholarship is that you know the women collectively decided that a percentage of our proceeds helps to pay for their school fees and keep their daughters in school. And, yeah, I think wildlife conservation is a viable livelihood because, tourism, and which I’m really worried about this last year with, you know that industry has just been decimated because of the pandemic. So, you know, tourism and people come to see, you know, wildlife, and it is a viable income, and hospitality as a really big industry there. So, you know, people see that not only protecting these species who they live side by side with who are on their communal lands and also in national parks. So there’s a, there’s a livelihood there, and an economy for them.

Kimber Leblicq 24:42
So, and I do think there’s you know there is really a passion to share that knowledge with you know visitors and guests. So we created a scholarship program called wildest dreams. And so 10% of our jewelry sales go towards that. And our first scholarship recipient, her name is Coquito. She is the first young woman in her village, to move, go on to receive an education and wildlife conservation and community management for Kenya Wildlife Service. So we’re really excited about that and that’s just a huge goal for us, and you know collectively it’s, you know, selling the traditional craft jewelry and then you know giving it back to the community.

Brandy Montague 25:28
That is so cool. What an incredible thing to be a part of, do they get to share a lot of their stories with the tourists that come to town? Traditionally, and or is it changing now? Do they get to share a lot of their culture and their history with people that are there?

Kimber Leblicq 25:46
I think they do. You know I learned a lot from Isaiah and Naomi, you know, they speak English as well as Swahili and Maasai. So, I have learned about a lot about that in their culture and they’re very open and they, they want you to ask questions they want you know, people to learn about them. They’re very proud, very proud people. And and community and culture. And so, yeah, I think they’re definitely willing to share, and they want people to know who they are and. And there’s also a preservation for that culture and tribe, too. You know, I just think with modern times, you know that language may disappear that culture may disappear. So I think it’s also preserving it too.

Brandy Montague 26:35
Yeah and I think there’s a lot. Gosh, there’s a lot to be said for preserving the cultures that are there and it seems like as people on earth we are growing to appreciate that again and trying to hold on to all of these different cultures that exist, whereas perhaps for the past maybe 50 years or so, there was not like a purposeful, they won’t maybe there was not a purposeful negating necessarily in the past like two generations but just an assimilating to speaking English or just trying to be part of, kind of like mercantile society that maybe has taken away from people keeping their cultures in their languages, by just in trade of learning English or, you know, focusing on those sorts of things. And I do feel like, I hope at least, at least the people I’m surrounded by, there’s this movement and this conversation to really really work hard to preserve all of this, the cultures, and the languages and the very different stories that we all have to tell around the world and preserving those and keeping those and not letting them disappear. So it makes me excited to hear that they’re getting a chance and hopefully more tourists that come are interested, like you were, in asking the questions and learning a lot more, so that it can be preserved, I guess through the storytelling that way, You know.

Kimber Leblicq 28:11
Yeah, absolutely.

Brandy Montague 28:12
So one thing that I like to ask everybody who comes on this show is can you share with us, one simple idea that you have that listeners could try that would help animals and the environment and their daily life.

Kimber Leblicq 28:28
I love this question. And I think that’s why your podcast is so good. I really truly believe that social impact and wildlife conservation are interconnected. And I think just for people to remember that and to support businesses that provide economic independence for rural women and families who live in areas with wildlife and where while by human wildlife conflict is at risk. So I think just the simple idea I have is just, you know, do your research before you buy. And just ask yourself, Do I really need this, what’s its lifespan. What’s its global impact, and who makes it. And I think it’s so easy just to do like, you know, a quick internet search or look at, ethical buying guides, and directories, and just, just know who your makers are, and where they live and reside, and what their issues are, and how you can really support communities who really rely on wildlife, and live side by side with wildlife. So, I think, as wildlife is shrinking and becoming extinct and more at risk. I think our impact as humans is becoming more and more, you know, necessary, and we need we need to really be aware of that.

Brandy Montague 29:57
Yeah, I love that idea and I, I feel like, you know, it’s, it’s obvious, I feel like when you peel back the layer, and you start looking for the story behind a product before you purchase it, it’s usually pretty obvious, whether it’s doing a lot of good in the world, or not, it basically the or not is silence and you can’t figure out where it came from or how it was made or add. Otherwise, it’s usually pretty clear on most of these brands, at least in my experience, when, when brands are doing a lot of good in the world, it’s usually pretty clear.

Kimber Leblicq 30:36
It is. I think transparency is really important. And even you know there are really good curators and stores and businesses out there who are making that easier for you. So if you don’t have time to do the research, you know, follow these blogs and follow these brands and these directories and these stores, because they’re curating it for you, and you know and they are looking at, you know the ethics of it, of their labor, sustainability, the social justice impact, you know, the human impact and the environmental impact. So there are a lot of resources that make it easy.

Brandy Montague 31:12
So, you can you think of any of your favorites off the top of your head?

Kimber Leblicq 31:16
Yeah, I mean definitely my heart is with Cura Co. I think they’re doing it really well. They’re just a local shop but also, you know, available online. I think Sustainable Jungle is another one I look at a lot, they do really well. They look at Brands, they’ve got a checklist, you know, if it meets their criteria, is it vegan, is it made sustainably, who, you know, is it made ethically. So there are a lot of like checklists that they go through and they do the research for you I really like that one. So those are the ones that I go to a lot.

Brandy Montague 31:52
Yeah, yeah, I love that and I do think there are a couple of ones that I love that I’ll share quickly too. They are fair trade winds, Fair Trade Winds is one that I really like. Wearwell, which most people know when it comes to the clothing side of it, I really like their criteria. And yeah, like you said, I think there’s just more and more popping up, and I also think, our friends can be good resources too right? If you happen to like double whammy right because when you’re talking about it with your friends, you’re all influencing each other and you’re helping each other find find good resources so yeah I love that you pointed out that piece as well, that we can go to brands aggregators that curate these pieces and do all of the hard work for us. If you’re not able to easily find pieces yourself.

Kimber Leblicq 32:46
Yeah, that’s wonderful. And then you’re supporting them, their small business so it’s definitely a trickle down effect. Yeah, I love that.

Brandy Montague 32:55
So to get a hold of you, what is the best way for someone to reach out to talk to you if they would like to?

Kimber Leblicq 33:03
Yeah so KimberElements@gmail.com is our email account. Also, you know looking online at Kimberelements.com, there’s also a form that you could fill out to contact us, And then also on Instagram at @KimberElements, so going to email or DM us at any time there too.

Brandy Montague 33:23
Okay, perfect. And then to shop. What is the best place to shop and how does it work when someone puts in an order do you already have the pieces, just tell me quickly about how the logistics of that work.

Kimber Leblicq 33:38
Production line. So this last year was our launch here so we launched, you know, during a pandemic we launched our line. In September, 2020, and that was our launch line so we’ve been doing some focus groups. It is available at Cura Co and Seattle. So, mostly doing direct to consumer. So it’s available on our website KimberElements.com, and slowly kind of easing into wholesale orders, so one of our partners who helps us distribute our scholarships is Big Life Foundation. And we did our first wholesale order with them, which was a perfect proof of concept of our partnership and our relationship. So they did a custom order of two types of earrings, and that’s a beautiful partnership because they also work very closely. They have a very big presence in that community, in the Tsavo Amboseli ecosystem. They really do employ a lot of the Maasai warriors as wildlife guardians. And Rangers. And so they’re very much invested in that community so it’s really great that the women who they know in that region, they’re also supporting them with the sale of their earrings. So that’s our first order. I am open to hearing if people would be interested in doing unique lines. So, yeah, we’re just trying to figure out what our design capacity is, and I think this next fall we’re going to do a fall in line, so we’re slowly kind of easing into a regular production. It’s all just kind of based on the volume that we can handle, and produce. Right now it’s really unique and small. And I think once we figure out our process with our systems, we’ll be able to do larger scale orders.

Brandy Montague 35:35
Let’s wrap up with quickly recapping when someone purchases a piece of jewelry from you. It helps all these different things can you recap for me where they are,

Kimber Leblicq 35:46
You got it. So it’s preserving traditional craft, and celebrating their traditional handicrafts. It’s creating a sustainable livelihood for the women that we’re working with, who also reinvest their wages into community micro businesses, and it’s also supporting our artisans daughters to pursue a career in wildlife conservation. And we also work with two other partners, so like I said Big Life Foundation is one of our partners who help distribute scholarships. And then we also work with another nonprofit in Kenya called wildlife works, who create our jewelry bags, and they’re a Fairtrade apparel factory, who also provide dignified jobs to the local community. And those bags are made out of either deadstock fabric from their clothing production line, or scraps from their production line.

Brandy Montague 36:44
And that’s all for today, thank you so much for tuning in and listening, if you enjoyed the show will you to be a favor and tell one of your friends? We’re still a new show and we’re still working hard to reach more people who are looking for ways that they can make a difference. If you personally are looking to jumpstart your arsenal of ideas for making a difference, try checking out our free five step conscious lifestyle challenge, You can find that at ForAnimalsForEarth.com/lifestylechallenge

Brandy Montague 37:14
Next week I will be back with five simple things that you can try for Earth day in one of our “it’s just me” episodes, so I will see you then. In the meantime, have a good week. Bye!

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

About Kimber:

This jewelry line is preserving the traditional craft of the Maasai people while providing a real, sustainable solution to wildlife conflict in Africa. Join me for my conversation with convener and curator, Kimber Leblicq.

Kimber is the Convener and Curator of kimber elements. As a compassionate advocate for social and environmental justice, her vision is to utilize design to mobilize people to contribute to sustainability and protect wildlife.

ABOUT KIMBER ELEMENTS:

Our mission is to amplify indigenous women to conserve and protect wildlife through sustainable business and educational opportunities. We do this by combining our love for women, design, and wildlife to create jewelry that drives meaningful change in the world.

Contact Kimber & Shop Kimber Elements:

The best way to reach Kimber is via email.

Website: KimberElements.com

Instagram: @KimberElements

Email: kimberelements@gmail.com

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This jewelry line is preserving the traditional craft of the Maasai people while providing a real, sustainable solution to wildlife conflict in Africa. Join me for my conversation with convener and curator, Kimber Leblicq.
This jewelry line is preserving the traditional craft of the Maasai people while providing a real, sustainable solution to wildlife conservation in Africa. Join me for my conversation with convener and curator, Kimber Leblicq.
This jewelry line is preserving the traditional craft of the Maasai people while providing a real, sustainable solution to save wildlife in Africa. Join me for my conversation with convener and curator, Kimber Leblicq.
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