Izzy Berner, founder of Rhimani Jewellery, talks Wild Magazine through the production of her colourful ethical jewellery and how a jewellery brand can be sustainable.
Firstly, could you describe your business to us briefly?
Rhimani sells a variety of African Accessories that are either delicately handmade in Nairobi by our lovely Kenyan suppliers, or right here in the UK by our Brit teams. We truly believe in sustainability! Each month we donate 10% of our makings towards a different African conservation charity.
What is Rhimani’s mission?
To create a brand that supports and spreads awareness for African Conservation!
What inspired you to create Rhimani?
On my placement year at university, I spent 4 months in Kenya. It was there that I went on my first ever safari in the Mara. The safari was only small, but I learnt so much about African conservation. It made me realise just how endangered many African species are. From then on, I knew I wanted to get involved and spread awareness!
What are your plans going into the future, will we be seeing any new exciting products?
Of course! We aim to always increase our product range. Right now, we’ve just introduced ‘Story Time’ on Instagram. Every Sunday we sell items using Rhimani’s Instagram story. They are all unique items that do not reach the website. It’s an amazing way to get your hands on a totally individual item.
How do you ensure your brand is sustainable?
Every month we support an African Conservation charity. Rhimani wouldn’t be alive if we didn’t do that. Alongside this our products and packaging are all designed/sourced materials that are eco-friendly.
Take us through the process of production- how do you ensure that your production process is sustainable/ethical?
So, we use Glass Seed Beads in all our products! These beads are all made from glass and then covered in a metallic outer layer. Some people are genuinely surprised to know they are not plastic. This was important for us. Alongside this, many of our products are sourced in the UK. We are extremely proud to have collections made right here in our own country.
How do you consider the environmental impact of your brand/production process?
I see the environmental impact of Rhimani as very minimal. Alongside the fact that our products are environmentally friendly, our packaging is 100% biodegradable. Another aspect incredibly important to us.
What has been the biggest challenge in developing Rhimani as a brand?
Accounting! I still don’t really know what I’m doing.
Anything else you’d like us to know about you or your company?
It started from the London Marathon 2018! When I came back from Kenya, I wanted to run the marathon for ‘Save The Rhino’. To raise money for the race, I sold products with 100% going towards my fundraising.
What has been your brand’s biggest achievement to date?
We are trading at four major festivals this summer: Gottwood, Isle of Wight, Latitude and Boardmasters – SEE YOU THERE.
Other than your own, which sustainable brands do you love right now?
Why is sustainability important to you?
The idea that we, humans, are killing African animals to the verge of extinction, makes my truly believe in sustainability. Being sustainable is critical to support African Conservation.
Who do you imagine your customer base to be?
GALS. Maybe teenagers to late twenties! Although a big focus this year is to add more male items.
Any tips for people trying to live a more environmentally or ethically conscious life?
A little bit of thought, a big difference.
Do you think eco-friendly brands are set to become the norm?
I really hope so!
Have you felt more interest in your brand/products as the sustainability movement has grown?
Of course, it’s so topical, how great! For Rhimani of course, but also for everyone! With more attention and continued media, we can truly learn about it now.
Do you think there will be an environmental revolution within the jewellery industry?
Yes, and I started it! …… I can dream.
You can find Rhimani here: https://rhimani.co.uk/