Courtesy 31 Bits
Back in 2007, Kallie Dovel, the founder of jewelry line 31 Bits, traveled as a student to northern Uganda, where she met an inspiring group of local women who were using their creative skills to make magnificent handmade beads made of nothing but 100 percent recyclable paper. Unfortunately, they lacked any sort of plan to market and sell their dynamic pieces of jewelry. So Dovel brought a box of their pieces back with her to the United States and spent the next year coming up with the concept that would become 31 Bits. Now, the artisans are empowered to rise above poverty and provide for their families, receiving invaluable financial training and health-care education. Since Dovel’s initial visit, 31 Bits has brought more than 100 Ugandan women into the fold.
The process behind making the jewelry is simple: strips of recycled paper—which comes from a variety of different sources, including old magazines and text books—are rolled into different shapes and designs and dipped into non-toxic varnish. Hollywood has taken notice (celebrities like Jessica Alba, Kathy Griffin and Giuliana Rancic are fans), and Kathy Lee Gifford has already worn her favorite designs numerous times on the Today show. Like all jewelry collections, everything is seasonal—expect to see the fall 2012 line launch in September and the newest wedding collection debut in October. 31bits.com