Jewellery That’s Making a Difference

Jewellery That’s Making a Difference

When Myint Aung launched jewellery business Reca, her aim was to do more than create beautiful, handcrafted products. Building an ethical, sustainable brand that also supports women from developing countries has always been at the heart of everything she does. Two years on, this sustainable jewellery brand continues to pair its values with a dedication to minimalist style. 

Aung’s commitment to helping others started young. Growing up in Myanmar, from a young age she understood women faced gender inequality. However, Aung was surrounded by strong women in her family who taught her to stand up for what she believed in. “Thats something I feel strongly about. If something is not right I do speak up,” she says.

In 2000 Aung came to New Zealand with her parents and siblings as a refugee and was inspired to see the opportunities available for women. “The first thing I saw when I came here was Helen Clark was the Prime Minister – it was pretty amazing.”

It was from this passion for seeing women succeed, combined with a love of creativity that Reca was born. The brand specialises in beautiful, minimalist, jewellery including, rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets, as well as bags. Customised jewellery is also available. Currently, Aung’s favourite piece is a delicate sapphire necklace, but “my mood changes all the time”, she admits.

The name Reca, which comes from the word ‘care’, embodies what this small business is about. Every aspect of the operation has been carefully thought-out to support other women in need and protect the planet.

The company takes pride in sourcing materials from ethical businesses they know, and choosing environmentally friendly, recyclable packaging for all of its products. Jewellery is carefully wrapped in reusable cardboard, to reduce the impact on the environment. They also aim to eliminate as much soft plastic as possible from their supply chain, and when this isn’t possible, they recycle as much as they can.

Aung employs other refugee women in New Zealand to craft her products. A self-taught jeweller, Aung creates all of the designs for her products and teaches her employees how to make them. She also buys jewellery from organisations in developing countries that pay fair wages to their female workers. Helping others who are vulnerable remains a core focus for Aung. “Seeing women succeed still inspires me to this day and I want other women to feel as empowered as I have.”

Something as small as selling a pair of earrings can mean financial independence for the women they buy from, she says. In some instances, Aung’s support has helped generations of women in the same family, into safe houses and on their way to financial independence. “That’s something I am very passionate about – breaking that cycle of being in a violent or bad environment.”

Reca’s products are available in selected stores in Auckland and Hamilton and on the website, www.reca.co.nz.

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