A Beautiful Story has adhered to the principles and criteria of fair trade from the onset. They believe it is paramount that every person in the chain receives an honest salary for their work or participation. They work in close collaboration with a small number of producers in developing countries striving to achieve a long-term business relationship, and providing support to their producers to help them raise their levels of professionalism. They currently work with four groups of producers in Nepal and are establishing new collaborations in Peru, Bolivia and Bangladesh.
All of A Beautiful Story's producers know that plastic is out of the question, and all materials must be either biodegradable or recycled.
Dutch founder Cathelijne Lania had the idea for A Beautiful Story back in 2006 when a silver factory in Nepal was in trouble and 12 jewellers faced an uncertain future. Cathelijne had worked in Nepal as a volunteer and knew the workers personally. Her job in marketing at Sara Lee Douwe Egberts in the Netherlands was nice but she thought she should take a completely life changing decision and return to Nepal and help.
Cathelijne drew on her experience in marketing to decide on what to make. The jewellers were sitting in a circle, brainstorming with a cup of tea and the beautiful design on the cup caught her eye. The old Dutch saying: ‘Shards bring good luck’ came to mind, and she threw the cup on the concrete floor - every shard from the broken cup became a beautiful bracelet.
Back in the Netherlands, the magazine Happinez picked up the story with a six-page spread about Nepal and the bracelets. Cathelijne started receiving tea cups from all over the Netherlands - heirlooms, sometimes complete sets - entire families wanted bracelets made from grandma’s rose tea cups! She spent the next few months and years smashing tea cups in her backyard, and sending the pieces to Nepal to come back as jewellery!
A Beautiful Story was born and fully operated fair trade principles from the start offering living wages, and not minimum wages which are set by each countries’ government. With living wages, the producers can create a life with enough resources to provide a good future for themselves and their children. For them, the products have a very direct meaning: a reasonable income, a roof over their head, food on the table and independence. 10 years on and together with their producers, A Beautiful Story became a multi million dollar company.
Today, A Beautiful Story has continuously grown, offering unique and contemporary jewellery collections which are hand made by four groups of fair trade producers in Nepal. Each range has its own special meaning, created to bring happiness - and of course fair trade standards to complete the 'Beautiful Story'!