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Tell us about where it all began and what inspired you to start At The Heart Of It

I’ve worked and volunteered in international charity work for the last 10 years. Through this work I have visited a lot of communities across East, Southern & West Africa and met lots of women who have small businesses making jewellery and other handicrafts. What I found though is that many of these women would struggle to sell their handmade pieces because they weren’t able to access the market – they live in rural communities without a lot of passing trade and no tourists or they can’t afford to sell at markets in the big cities. 

That’s where the idea for ATHOI came from, in order to provide a route to the market for artisan groups from developing countries to sell their wares so they can receive a fair wage and supportive working conditions in return. We believe every individual deserves the opportunity to be invested in, enabling them to turn their own life around!

What makes your brand unique?

All of the products that we sell are ethically sourced and handmade by artisans in South America, Africa and Asia, under fair trade conditions.

Because of this, when you purchase from us, not only are you choosing quality craftsmanship and unique design, you are also choosing to help people in developing countries to earn a steady income and pursue their dreams!

Where do you see your brand in the next few years? Any specific goals or aspirations?

I am really passionate about helping others to realise and release their full potential. It’s why I love my day job in charity work and it’s also what fuels my determination to make ATHOI a success. My dream is to see our little business grow and grow so we’re able to work with more artisan groups across the world and empower them to release their talent into the world! 

I also want to change mindsets and misconceptions around ethical and fair trade jewellery, making it the easily accessible first choice for the everyday consumer instead of fast fashion and mass produced items which harm the producers.

As you know Popup United is all about supporting small businesses… So as a small business what advice would you give to other small business owners who are just starting out?

Keep going when you think you are getting nowhere or the hard work isn’t paying off and remind yourself of why you started. I think every small business owner goes through the feeling of wondering what the point is but so many times in life (not just in business!) it has been at the point when I’m just about to give up that a breakthrough happens! 

Also, try to surround yourself with positive and supportive people who will cheerlead you when things get tough. I have a lovely group of fellow ethical small business owner Insta friends and they have really boosted my confidence and kept me going when I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere!

What is your favourite item from your business and why?

A very tough question as I handpick and adore every item we sell! However, I think it has to be the Bluebell Studs. I love the combination of delicate sterling silver circles, teamed with the paper beads which have been created using the traditional African jewellery making technique of paper bead rolling. I think the earrings represent a beautiful coming together of cultures! 

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What can we look forward to seeing? Do you have any new collaborations or new projects coming up?

We are only 1 year old so we have so much up our sleeve as we continue to grow! Follow us on social media to keep up to date with all our exciting future developments! 

Instagram.com/attheheartofit.uk

Facebook.com/attheheartofit.uk

What is one thing you really want the reader to know about At The Heart Of It

We are just a small husband and wife team, full of passion for people and the planet. We’re on a mission to promote mindful purchasing and slow fashion, whilst supporting makers around the world to release their creativity into the world and live a fulfilled life!