Lawyer, model, businesswoman, and philanthropist; Jennifer Ewah has it all. Her brand, Eden Diodati, which takes its name from a combination of the heavenly garden of Eden, and the Swedish Italian theologian Giovanni Diodati; combines fine jewellery with female empowerment. Not only does Eden Diodati donate 10% of dividends to Médecins sans Frontières, their business model creates sustainable livelihood for a cooperative of 5000 women artisans who have survived Rwandan genocide. Beautiful jewellery for an even more beautiful cause? Now that is Girl Boss Team Coco can get behind.
Jennifer Ewah of Eden Diodati
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background, what inspired you to start Eden Diodati?
Eden Diodati is my label of love. It was started at the convergence of two inextricably linked concepts: love and creativity. At the heart of our ethos is the desire to serve others, matched only by the desire to see inner beauty reflected through outer beauty in design. Luxury fashion is an ideal medium. It is a unique communicator of visual and social ideas as well as a conduit of individual and collective aspirations.
Eden Diodati was born out of a fascination and desire to capture the compassion, empathy, and strength that lie at the heart of the beauty of the women that I know – my mother who is a doctor, being the foremost example. The ethical aspect of the brand is not independent of the aesthetic; it informs and inspires it in the most fundamental way. The mission of our brand goes far beyond selling as many pieces as we can. As an ethically responsible business, we have a message to convey, as well as positive social benefits to be accountable for. I was dissatisfied with the status quo of ethical accessories and the perception of fair trade. So after a trip to Cairo with the World Fair Trade Organisation, Eden Diodati was born. We aim to marry elevated design with social justice.
2. Tell us a little bit about Eden Diodati, what makes this different from other jewellery brands in the market?
A piece of jewellery is not just an accessory, but also a conversation piece. Every Eden Diodati piece carries a powerful message of resilience and transformation from those whose lives have been improved through its creation. This is the essence of the future, as that same future embraces and encompasses socially ethical luxury. We are reaching a tipping point of consumer awareness and concern for people and planet; the sustainability movement is the zeitgeist of our era. It will continue to define the spirit or mood of our time in history and will increasingly become of central importance to the luxury industries.
Our pieces are hand-beaded in a social cooperative with 5,000 women artisans who survived the genocide in Rwanda. This group of women have the highest level of craftsmanship skill and creative sensibility. The Hutu and Tutsi ethnicities working side-by-side, supporting each other as artisan sisters of excellence – in a model of peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation. We have provided income to roughly 150 of the women but our goal is to scale up and support more. We also plan to move to Fairtrade precious metals in our production.
3. Talk us through your philanthropic efforts. How does Eden Diodati help marginalised women in Rwanda?
We provide the social cooperative with extremely lucrative margins per piece, buying stock upfront, but with the added intangible benefit of showcasing the craftsmanship of my partner artisans who have triumphed in the face of adversity.
Eden Diodati is a brand which aims to evoke inner beauty, by actively seeking out socially marginalised women to support, and through an ethical business approach of love and inclusiveness, that is then elevated through design. Our wearable philanthropy means that we donate 10% of dividends to Médecins sans Frontières . We recognise the need to address human fragility on a global scale whilst simultaneously uplifting those trapped in the desperate cycle of economic and social hardship, sustainable enterprise transforms lives.
4. Eden Diodati is proudly a sustainable luxury brand. How do you marry sustainability with luxury?
The roots of luxury are in slow production and artisanal craft, rather than fast and mass production.
It is Eden Diodati’s aim to challenge the paradigm by creating a luxury brand that is constantly serving those who are socially vulnerable through disability, abuse or marginalisation. Across the globe, luxury consumers are becoming less concerned about symbols and increasingly conscious about the value of a product based on its environmental and social impact.
Currently, there are a number of sustainable brands in the market, but they tend to cater for younger consumers and are focused on casual pieces.
5. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as entrepreneurs so far?
The biggest challenge that I have personally faced is running the brand whilst working full time in a senior capacity as a professional (a lawyer) but we are recruiting!
6. What advice do you have for women who would like to become a GirlBoss like yourself?
Stay true to your vision, draw internal inspiration from it, never give up, and have faith! And especially to social entrepreneurs – love never fails.