from the top
This company was founded on the idea that brands have the power to be vehicles for change. We started in 2013 as a jewelry company dedicated to supporting opportunity for female entrepreneurs in Kenya through microloans. Over the last five years, we’ve grown and expanded our cause areas to include a range of partners moving the needle on causes ranging from women’s health to climate change. All of our partners are working to build a more equal world.
In 2013, Elana was working in the financial services industry in New York but wanted to use her skills for more meaningful work. She found a nonprofit, Village Volunteers, that supports community development abroad through capacity building projects. Elana was matched with a program in rural Kenya with 70 widowed women rebuilding their lives through entrepreneurship.
In Elana’s words:
"I was on the ground going from village to village on foot or on a moped teaching basic accounting and business skills, sometimes in a hut, sometimes outside with the content nailed to a tree. I checked up on the microloans the women received as part of this program - seeing how the loan changed their life - increasing their income by 4x, allowing them to expand their business and afford things like fresh water and healthcare for the first time.
The trip was a huge turning point for me in fully realizing my privilege of growing up in a country with a healthy and mature economy, schools that allowed upward mobility and job prospects. What struck me the most about the women I worked with was how passionate and driven they were - but how the system failed them - and now they are single mothers with children trying to scrape together money to send their children to school for a better life.
In that moment, I realized the untapped potential of creating opportunity for women and what could happen if everyone had the ability to pursue their dream. So, when I returned from Kenya, I vowed to continue to support programs that invest in increasing opportunity and building a more equal world. I used the same model that had allowed me to fundraise for the trip - affordable jewelry - as the funding vehicle to support these organizations.
Bird + Stone ("two birds with one stone") was founded as a platform for combining our individual buying power and use a percentage of profits from each purchase to fund world-changing programs with jewelry you'd already be buying. You can't give $10,000 and I can’t give $10,000 - but together we can."
As we've grown in size and partners, our mission has remained the same: we believe in the power of community to make a difference, and are excited to create opportunities for every consumer to be a "micro-philanthropist", making meaningful change with each purchase.