#211 Taking Responsible Sourcing to the Next Level with Meri Geraldine

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I am so thrilled about this week’s guest, you guys! She’s the kind of woman who talks the talk and walks the walk.

Before getting into jewelry, Meri Geraldine worked as a sustainability consultant. But after having her daughter, she wanted to be able to work from home. That’s how her jewelry company, Gardens of the Sun, got started.

There aren’t enough conversations about building a sustainable brand in the jewelry industry. Meri is out to change that.

Part of her company vision is to know every part of the supply chain, right down to the people mining and cutting the gems.

She’s traveled all around the world to source her jewelry sustainably and has become a leader in the ethical jewelry movement.

Today, she sat down with me to talk about how the everyday designer can be more conscious and responsible about their sourcing.

Click here to download the show notes

Keep your supply chain as short as possible

Not everyone has the flexibility to fly all around the world for their metals and stones, but you don’t have to. Meri got started just by asking people in her network about sustainable sources.

Think locally. Don’t think you can’t visit the source of your materials just because you don’t live in Indonesia. There are mines in California, New York, Mexico, Scandinavia, you name it!

Find sellers who know where their materials are coming from. There are plenty of talented lapidary artists who are conscious about where they get their stones. Buying directly from stonecutters is a fantastic way to support independent artists and sourced ethically at the same time. It’s a win-win!

In the full episode, Meri lets us in on her tried-and-true process for building trust with independent sellers online.

Strive for transparency

The jewelry industry is plagued by “greenwashing.” It’s easier than you might think for brands to slap a green badge on their products that says, “conflict-free,” or “ethically sourced,” without the proof to back it up.

Meri believes if we want to actually make a change in the industry, we have to be transparent. Even if our methods aren’t perfect, which (let’s be honest) they aren’t.

The kind of work Meri does is not without ethical dilemmas. Instead of sweeping these under the rug, she’s starting a conversation.

She brings photographers and videographers with her on her trips and uses the documentation to simultaneously raise awareness for issues in the industry and build her brand’s story.

Her turnover rate is better for it. Buyers appreciate the transparency.

Be patient

We all wish we could just wave a magic wand and transform the jewelry biz to be 100% free of harmful practices.

The truth is, a transformation like that takes time. A loooong time. It’s a constant process of hard work, and it’s people like Meri who are at the forefront of the movement for change.

She says the key to creating change is to be patient with yourself. Sustainability is not always an easy choice. Work hard, but don’t expect things to happen all at once.

This blog post simply can’t do justice to Meri’s inspiring story. Listen to the full episode to hear more about her mission to improve the industry, how it’s elevated her brand to the next level, and how you can do it, too.

xo, Tracy

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Gardens of the Sun

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