A few months ago we received an email from some uni students introducing us to Ruby Silver, a social enterprise using the profits to provide young girls in India much needed school supplies. What really caught our attention, aside from the good that Jess- Founder and Designer of Ruby Silver- was doing with her jewellery, was the fact that this ethical accessories business was based in Australia. We love supporting local Australian ethical fashion businesses and so partnering with Jess was a no brainer. We quickly realised this small ethical brand aligned with two of our Impact Badges: Empowering Women and Cause Supporting.
Ruby Silver use 100% of their profits to purchase educational resources such as uniforms and rugs for NGOs working to provide access to education for girls in India. They visit the NGOs who they support annually, asking them what they need before they deliver and they actively trace their impact so as to let their customers know about the positive impact they are having. Their model works because they have team members living and working in India who are able to personally deliver to NGOs and to trace the impact.
We caught up with Jess to find out more about this amazing brand.
When and why was Ruby Silver established?
Ruby Silver was established in 2015 to provide educational resources to the girls who I had been visiting each year since 2009. They were progressing in school thanks to the support of a local NGO and I wanted to be able to provide them with some of the resources they needed.
Why did you decide to start a social enterprise that stocked jewellery as opposed to other kinds of product like dresses or shoes?
I had been travelling in India regularly for a few years and every time I would return to Aus. I would receive complements on the jewellery that I had brought back. I knew from experience that the locals were specialists in their craft and was thrilled to meet some fantastic local suppliers who were happy to make my own designs. The girls in India love dressing up and looking pretty, just like girls who wear Ruby Silver jewellery in Australia or anywhere else in the world - I felt like it was a lovely way to bridge a gap between two worlds.
What keeps you motivated?
Seeing the girls grow up over the past 8 years is pretty motivating. But aside from my relationship with those who Ruby Silver supports, running a small social enterprise has taught me a huge much, I get a lot out of developing my understanding of social impact and running a business which is very rewarding.
What's been the most inspiring experience since starting Ruby?
Having a team of volunteers who each approached me to be a part of Ruby Silver, has been incredible inspiring for me. I underestimated the interest and support that Ruby would draw, and the generosity of people providing their time to support different aspects of the operations. To me thats so exciting.
If you could tell the TH customer one thing, what would it be?
The story behind Ruby Silver is basically just one 19 year old girl landing in India and being inspired. Ruby Silver works because everything we do relies on people in India. Without the adventure and the connections, it wouldn't be the same.
Finally, apart from your own, what's your favourite ethical fashion label?
I love Mokosh. It is beautiful products without any negative impact on the environment or us.