One of my long time favorite companies is 31Bits, founded right here in Orange County by a few young women who were just college students at the time (see co-founder, Alli, in the group photo!). They were deeply impacted by a trip to Uganda where they met women who had grown up in a war zone, yet were still using the resources they had to survive. For them, this meant making jewelry out of old posters, and the girls were fascinated by it. The 31Bits founders brought these pieces back to sell to friends, family, college classmates…whoever would listen to their story, and they quickly realized there was a market for ethical fashion, as well as an opportunity to give their new Ugandan friends a successful business.
They’ve evolved and added to their collection over the years, from the first jewelry made out of paper beads, to pieces created by popular guest designers, and now featuring bags and home goods as well. But one thing hasn’t changed - their mission to educate, train, employ and house groups of women in Uganda and Bali to support them in a sustainable future. When buying a 31Bits piece, you know you’re supporting a company with ethical sourcing, production and employment practices, and that every purchase impacts a woman’s life.
While 31Bits offers everything from large statement pieces to delicate charms, I’m a minimalist jewelry lover, so I kept it simple for our casual duffy boat ride with a gold plated Y-chain necklace, handmade in Bali and still very affordable. Their woven bags are another favorite summertime staple of mine, with several different shapes and handle styles so there’s something for everyone. Alli is wearing another one of my favorites, a beautiful statement piece called the Silk Frame Ring in gold.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the season, with vacations, more crowds everywhere you go and checking off those summer to-do lists. But planning an outdoor activity that’s out of your ordinary evening routine is the perfect way to slow down and enjoy these longer days while you still can!