Community > Competition
..this has been an integral mindset since the inception of Akazi. There is so much power in community and when utilized properly, monumental change for good can be seen afar, and even in our very own backyards. Here's a few ways we keep that connection alive in everything we do.
Current Collaborative Partners
We consider ourselves pretty lucky to have made some incredible collaborations with small businesses in the US + over seas. Check out which Akazi pieces are products of collaborations:
Hand-mined semi-precious gems by The Akazi Project:
The partnership that started it all. During our first visit in Malawi, we noticed gem-filled trails that filled our pathways in the northern mountainous region of the country. After a year of research and community building, we met an incredible group of 17 Malawian women who have been mining semi-precious gems for an upward of 20 years.
We were able to see the stones in abundance, however, the opportunity to turn their talent of mining into an income fell short. You see, Malawi is ranked as one of poorest countries in the world, with a GDP per capita just over $800 (for scale, neighboring South Africa is 6k while the US sits around 59k). So, these women have spent years perfecting their craft, but are presented with no market to sell in or are overshadowed by males in the same market.
Hearing this disconnect was what ignited The Akazi Project.
The partnership is simple: the women of The Akazi Project continue to do their incredible work in mining and Akazi operates a lapidary education program. Whats lapidary, you ask? The art of gem or stone shaping. So, with the help of our resident expert, the women will be taught lapidary skills in a safe work environment. After the gems are shaped, we purchase from each woman to incorporate into your jewelry that is handmade here in San Diego, CA.
Clay jewelry dishes with Ciara:
We met Ciara at one of our favorite San Diego local markers in 2018, SoNo Chili Cookoff in the San Diego neighborhood of South Park. She was a prospective customer that quickly turned friend... annnddd just so happened to be a maker herself. Our visions quickly aligned (ours in women's health, hers as a soon-to-be registered nurse) and we soon had our first collaborative partner. The clay jewelry dishes you see on our page are our second collaboration with her (but not to worry, they won't be the last!)
Handwoven + dyed textiles:
While completing her Master's thesis work in Guatemala, Akazi co-founder Megan Malone stumbled upon a stand of beautiful textiles. She quickly learned that these were handmade by a women's collective local to town. One thing led to another and soon enough we had our first partnership to launch our Akazi Home collection. Each blanket and pillowcase is handwoven + dyed by one woman and takes up to one month to make.
We're sure you've noticed the beautiful jewelry pouches included in your Akazi shipment. These pouches are designed by Akazi and handmade by the women-run sewing collective we've partnered with in Malawi, Africa. Being a company that proudly stands to reduce plastic waste, these pouches are designed with our environment in mind. Keep the pouches on your nightstand or carry with you to the gym as an easy stowaway of your Akazi jewels.