It all started with a Silver Factory
There once was a small silver factory in a city called Kathmandu, the Nepali capital. Our story begins in the year 2005. During that year the factory offered jobs to twenty outstanding silver smiths, who created the most amazing jewelry. Dambar, the owner of the factory, was looking for more customers to buy his stunning products. More customers meant more sales, which in return would let him secure employment for the men under his care. This news travelled halfway around the globe, and reached Cathelijne Lania, the founder of A Beautiful Story, in The Netherlands.
From Coffee marketer to entrepreneur
At that time, Cathelijne was working in the marketing department of coffee brand Douwe Egberts. Coincidentially, Dambar’s news found her right at the time when she was considering quitting her job, to go out in the world and help make it a better place, instead of focusing on money and profit alone. She thought to herself; ‘If I can sell coffee, I can also sell jewelry.’ And hopped on a plane…
Fair-trade Lucky Bracelets
She sat down with the silver smiths, and together they brainstormed about new products, products that would open the door to a new market. During a break they had tea in lovely old porcelain cups and a new idea bubbled up. According to a Dutch saying, shards are lucky. So why not create a lucky bracelet? The shards were set in silver and bring luck to the wearer as well as to the maker. Some time later, another collection was developed that incorporated Eastern symbols of luck, the Lucky Buddha Bracelet. It soon became the best-known piece!
Through the men working in the silver factory (silver smith is a male-dominated profession in Nepal) we met a group of women. Their business was called ‘Beads for Life’ and their goal was to achieve financial independence. A Beautiful Story also decided to sell their knitted jewelry and within a few years, the group grew to 15 fulltime workers. They make the most intriguing and awe-inspiring pieces and apply various techniques, including good old crochet, in their knitted collection!
From Tupperware lady to ‘real’ wholesale and a web shop
Returning from her visit to Nepal in 2005, Cathelijne brought back a few bracelets. But the question was; what now? Where could she sell them? The first years, she travelled throughout the country. A born storyteller, she sat down in living rooms and recounted the histories, the backgrounds, the chronicles of the people who had made the jewelry. After listening to her stories, people began to buy!
Gradually, offers from large companies came within reach. The ABN Amro Bank was one of the first to initiate a special. Their customers purchased 300 lucky bracelets in 2 days, through the bank’s customer loyalty program. Today, the bracelets are for sale at a variety of places: in stores and shops, through specials with large companies and, of course, in our own web shop!