Vancouver owned Lotusland Imports, is a curated ethical jewelry and accessories collection and website. Rooted in sustainability, Loutsland Imports and showcases items produced with a conscience, acting as a vehicle for positive and environmental change, beautifully.
The idea for the project came about as a creative and collaborative, environmental solution to help stop deforestation in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, East Africa, while simultaneously addressing issues of poverty in the local Maasai tribal people. Prior to the jewelry project, the Maasai women predominately generated income by cutting down trees to make and sell charcoal.
A 2006 chance meeting in the small Kilimanjaro airport waiting room, resulted in a clever but simple idea. Discussing the deeply troubling increase in the rate of deforestation and desertification, the two women were witnessing in the area, led to discussions on the lack of effectiveness of bans, as well as the needs of the Maasai women to make money to support their families. Through the discussion, the answer became clear; by combining their strengths – the design genius from Italy and the rich beading artisanship of the Maasai, a company could be created offering an alternative work solution. The innovative business solution has resulted in a reduction in deforestation, and a rebalance of the local ecosystem, while producing hand crafted pieces of wearable art.
The hand beaded collection of jewelry is produced by the talented women artisans of the Massai, while the jewelry is designed by students at the Istituto Europea di Design in Milan, mentored by partner and Director Francesca Soldini. The development of this alternative micro enterprise allows the Maasai artisan women to work from home on their tribal lands, together with their children, protects the environment, preserves indigenous culture, and creates a stable and sustainable income source for the women. This stable source of income means they not only gain independence, but with basic needs covered, such as food, medicine and education, they are able to create better lives for themselves, their families and their community. Now that’s a beautiful thing!