Lucy & Jo reveal mission to provide sustainable livelihoods

Mother-daughter duo Amy Bond and Joann Schilling created their jewelry and accessories line, Lucy & Jo, as a way to make an impact in the fair trade and ethical realm of merchandise. 

"Our sort of starting point was sustainable livelihoods. But there's a ripple effect, right? So you can't think about that and not think about the impact on the environment. For us, it's the gorillas," revealed Bond.

Bond's passion for gorillas began back in middle school. Lucy & Jo donate 5% of profits to Gorilla Doctors, an organization which works to conserve wild mountain and eastern lowland gorillas. 

"So much in fashion is not sustainable; environmentally, the way the workers are paid or treated. It's not sustainable in the long term."

Bond explained, "When you can create sustainable livelihoods for the people who live in the country where the gorillas are and they don't have to go into the forest for resources, it will indirectly release pressure on the gorillas."

Bond and Schilling collaborate with artisans in East Africa to design jewelry and home accessories. Since launching the business just a few years ago, the two have already begun to make a significant impact on communities in Kenya and Uganda.

"The majority of our artisans are women and that's important because women invest in their children's education and nutrition. And that's how you can really begin to break cycles of generational poverty," Bond said. "One of the groups that we work with in Uganda is a group of 40 women. They, on their own, since we started working with them, created a savings group for themselves. And so, for the first time they have savings and then they have to contribute to it."

Lucy & Jo have made great strides to help the people of East Africa through their accessories. Later this summer, they will be hosting a fundraiser in honor of a Ugandan non-profit that rehabilitates survivors of burn and acid violence. 

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Tatiana Toomer