When we walk into one of our favorite stores (for me, the Apple store) and look at a shiny new product, we miss one of the most fundamental aspects of what that product is. We might think about what it does, how it will make our lives easier or more fun, how we will feel cooler once we own it. We refer in our minds to the advertisements or the pop culture references or to what our friends have said about the product. But we forget where it comes from. In fact, we forget that it comes from anywhere at all.
It seems unnecessary to say ‘things come from somewhere,’ but I think that we as a society are quickly forgetting this. We fail to realize when standing before our next purchase that it was made somewhere, by a person, or even many people, and that often it was shipped thousands of miles to be there in front of us.
Products have a history. And I believe that this history is more important than what the TV ads say about a product. Shouldn’t we be more connected to the real person whose hands assembled the product in our hands than to a character on a screen who is paid to sell it to us? Aren’t our lives directly connected to theirs through these products?
Acholi Beads is completely transparent about the history of our products. Our jewelry is made by 16 women from the Acholi tribe who live in a slum near their country’s capital. They work from their homes, rolling strips of recycled paper into beautiful beaded necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
I hope that your understanding of this history enhances your appreciation for Acholi Beads. Know that each piece began its life on another continent, in the hands of a woman whose life is better because you now own her creation.
Next time you go out shopping, think about the history of the products that you see. And think about how much the world would change if we all cared about these little histories.