Niki Grandics was lucky enough to know that her passion was in jewelry design, as soon as she started her first design course in college. While still in college, she witnessed the factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2016. This made her realize, if she wanted to work in this field, she would have to come up with a more sustainable and ethical way to get her products made.
I was suddenly woken up to the fact that, ‘Oh my god, this is really the true cost of my clothes.’”
The Steps of Running an Ethical Jewelry Business
Step 1: Find an Ethical Mining Company
There are many ethical options for jewelers and consumers to choose from when it comes to sources of jewels, including lab-grown or factory-made jewels, which some jewelers are trying to devalue as cheap and not-unique. Just the opposite, lab-growers try to equate mined jewels all as blood diamonds, which is also false. Like most things, the truth lies in the middle of these two extreme opinions.
Step 2: Educate the Consumers
Niki has come up with some wonderful content for her website, for her business, and as a general knowledge guide, which outlines how to shop for diamonds. She wanted to make sure she came out with honest information for consumers, which would help them understand what their different options were.
Customers should know that they should ask jewelers if their products are ethically sourced. And if they are unable to answer that question, should they be able to say that their jewels are ethically sourced?
A lot of what I am seeing when I look it up is likely somebody’s marketing piece, really. […] to them a lot of it is, “Lab-grown diamonds are not okay. They’re not real. They’re not as unique. They’re not as valuable. They’re trying to devalue the opposite product, I think.”
Step 3: Trade Shows, Trunk Shows, and Online Sales
Just like a few other artisans that have been on the show (soap, food, and clothing companies, for example), Niki went to trade and trunk shows to sell her wares and get the word out about her product and about her message.
Since the pandemic, Niki has focused more on her efforts on online sales. She has been spreading the word that “love isn’t dead” and that jewelry is still an important symbol and is a cherished treasure for loved ones.
I’ve been letting people know that love isn’t cancelled and just walking them through the design process.
Step 4: Certified to be a Fairmine Licensee
As stated on the Fairmined website, “Brands who want to work with Fairmined Gold and make claims about its use must become a Fairmined Licensee.” Now that Niki has joined the ranks of a licensee, she is excited to be able to work some of this gold into her pieces.
Step 5: Launching New Pieces
“Right now I’m currently working with Gem Legacy and donating a portion of my sales to their emergency COVID-19 relief fund for miners.”