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More consumers than ever are buying with the intent to support companies whose products and practices support both our planet and human beings. As result, greenwashing—the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company's products are more environmentally sound—in the jewelry industry has become commonplace.
Here’s some important information about our collaboration with Karen Hill Tribe silversmiths that explains why fair trade practices and cross cultural partnerships are crucial in the landscape of making the jewelry industry more sustainable and ethical overall.
Houser was founded on the core principles of honoring the earth, empowering communities and giving back. From the beginning, we have been committed to ethical designs and fair trade practices.
In 2017 we began collaborating directly with villages in Thailand who specialize in creating Hill Tribe Silver—a special kind of silver with an even higher silver content than Sterling with strong artisan cultural roots in mountainous regions of northern Thailand, close to Chiang Mai.
We’ve made multiple trips to Thailand and have open lines of communication with the silversmiths we work with. Over the years our relationship has evolved and become a true collaboration. We cut out the middle man in order to ensure that the Karen people keep as much of the profits from their silver as possible.
This cross cultural partnership fosters empowerment, dialogue and awareness.
We learn from each other, combine our design aesthetic with the Karen silversmiths unique and skilled artisanship, and ensure that the silversmiths are paid fair wages for their work. This fosters awareness in the United States, creates beautiful jewelry, and allows folks living in Thai villages to make a fair living practicing their indigenous craft.
Many jewelry companies either source materials without any sort of relationship with the creators, steal designs and artisan practices from indigenous populations without any credit or reimbursement, or pays workers unfair wages.
It’s also incredibly difficult to find transparent information from companies on the ethicality of their design and production practices.
In order to resist greenwashing, and because we know how difficult it is to ensure a 100% sustainable product, we are prioritizing the empowerment and awareness that comes from a fair trade partnership.