She has a background in textile design, but doesn’t actually create any of the designs of the beautiful bags. She only adds embellishments such as tassels and pom poms. Instead, it’s all up to the women who are weaving them from their homes in Papua New Guinea.
Read her interview with Mamamia below…
What is Among Equals?
Among Equals is a social enterprise that I launched in early 2015 in order to positively impact the lives of women and children in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, as well as to help bring their incredible bags to a contemporary global market. The women weave beautiful bags, and every one that I sell helps to improve their circumstances.
Among Equals is a social enterprise aimed at empowering bilum makers from three different communities in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. The bilum, almost exclusively made by women, is a beautiful and unique traditional hand-woven bag. Each multi-purpose bilum has both cultural significance and serves functional needs for the women of Papua New Guinea. Via ongoing relationships, Among Equals assists these artisans to achieve sustainable incomes through the sale of these bags – ensuring that bilum remains a viable creative practice for future generations. #ethicalfashion #fashion #guiltfree #summer #beachbag #pompom #womenofpng #papuanewguinea #png #bilumbags #bilums
What were you doing before you went into business for yourself?
I studied textile and fashion design at university in the United Kingdom and I’ve always been passionate about art and design. Working in the fashion industry for most of my career, I’ve lived all over the place. Since the birth of my first child almost 11 years ago I have maintained creative outlets though working as an art teacher in a mental health organisation and developing a small line of children’s wear.
What made you want to start your own business?
I saw an opportunity to help and to leverage my experience with an incredible product and cultural story of the bilum bags. Among Equals began a few years ago when all of my children had started school. I though this would be a perfect fit with the craziness of a young family and a lot of travelling with my husbands work. The best part of running your own business is that you can work to your own schedule.