The brand that knows who she is: Yala Jewellery

The brand that knows who she is: Yala Jewellery

By Hannah Parsons

The brand that knows who she is: Yala Jewellery

Yala Jewellery is built around a fairly simple aim. Founder Audrey Migot-Adholla: “To me, the main purpose of this business is to provide financial opportunities to the artisans I’m working with back home.”

But to leave it there would be to undersell her vision.

We’ve all seen that friend who is just themselves. Whether in slacks or black tie, they know who they are. They are comfortable in their own skin, and they stand tall wearing it. Yala Jewellery is that friend.

The UK’s first b-corp jewellery business is a community built around family and heritage, fiercely proud of where it comes from, and naturally protective of the people who contribute to its success. Yala is cherishing its Kenyan heritage, designing enduring pieces that challenge misconceptions of the continent that inspired and made them.

Yala Jewellery is a story of strong women. It was Audrey’s grandmother who first taught her the traditional techniques of beading and weaving that she applied to creating jewellery. When overwhelmed by the response she got, it was her mother’s idea to use local artisans to manufacture her pieces. Drawing on the Maasai tribe’s rich heritage of accessorising, the work employs techniques passed down from generation to generation of women.

Yala partners with two Kenyan workshops, with Audrey visiting regularly to build strong relationships and maintain transparency. Its bead and leatherwork workshop employs nearly 160 women, positively impacting over 300 local households, and pays wages that are three times what the average Kenyan worker receives.

Materials are sourced directly and locally, with a focus on recycled where possible. Brass – long used in African jewellery and art – forms a key component of much of the collections. Reclaiming fibres from food sacks, using dead-stock leather, and salvaging horn from local farms, weaves into the jewellery an inextricable connection to where it was made.

Yala Jewellery draws on a centuries-old history to create statement pieces for the modern woman. It is proud of where it came from, championing Kenyan artisans and challenging misconceptions. She knows who she is, a transparent, fair, ethical business, designing jewellery that will last you decades.

That’s a brand I’d want to be friends with.

See the collection here.

Photo credit: Yala Jewellery