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Beaded jewellery puts wildlife at forefront

Words by Smiley Team

In 2018, Izzy Berner signed up to run the London marathon for Save the Rhino. As an avid wildlife fantatic, she was committed to the cause, but needed to find a way to fundraise enough for her spot.

So, she came up with the unique idea of making beaded necklaces and selling them on Depop – with all profits going to her marathon campaign. It was a huge success.

“To my amazement, it grew, and I started getting more followers on Depop – even within the top 50 sellers,” Izzy tells Smiley News.

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Izzy raised the money, ran the marathon, but didn't want to stop there.

At the time, she’d just left university and hadn’t yet got a job, so she decided to focus on her jewellery business. She called it Rhimani: a mixture of the word rhino and mani, the latter which is the meaning of peace in Swahili. 

It started with creating a website and before long she was trading at festivals, and opened a studio in London.

Supporting women and wildlife

What makes Izzy’s business different from the rest is her commitment to supporting women and wildlife alongside it: 10% of all profits of the organisation go to Tusk – a wildlife conservation charity. 

“This was important to me,” says Izzy. “I was in Kenya for my placement year at university and I learned so much about conservation – I fell in love with it and knew I wanted to raise money for it.”

Tusk was established in 1990 by Charlie Mayhew and Timothy Ackroyd after the poaching crisis in the 1980s when the black rhino was pushed to the brink of extinction and 100,000 elephants were slaughtered each year. Since then, the charity has grown incredibly.

“I really love Tusk, what they do is phenomenal,” says Izzy. “Every time I donate yearly profits, they’re so incredibly thankful.” Now, she has become a patron of the charity and gets updated on the work they are doing. 

Izzy also supports and empowers women in Nairobi through an earring collection: Handmade in Nairobi. During her time in Kenya, she met a supplier who had her own trade stand – she bought 30 pairs of earrings and took them home as presents.

They were so popular, that she decided to initiatite a partnership with the woman. Now, the head supplier – Anne – employs five women to handcraft Rhimani's beaded earrings. The female team work in Karen, on the outside of Nairobi, and Izzy goes to Kenya to visit the suppliers regularly. "The women make out jewellery sitting outside in the sun in an open space and the fresh air," she says. 

On top of this, Izzy subscribes to Treeapp, which means that through every £1 that you donate, they create and plant a tree. 

Inspired to act?

BUY RHIMANI: For every purchase you make with Rhimani, you're supporting the charity Tusk.

SUPPORT: Tusk's mission is to amplify the impact of progressive conservation initiatives across Africa. Find out more

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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