Aayenda – Afghanistan’s First Jewelry Brand and Co-Operative
Aayenda Jewelry is Afghanistan’s first jewelry brand. Award-winning international designers mentor Future Brilliance’s student artisans to produce market-led collections that appeal to international customers. A project of Future Brilliance, it is a ground-breaking social enterprise, building access to markets for Afghan designers and artisans, whilst generating royalties through sales of the jewelry that further benefit artisans through the ongoing provision of support and training.
Aayenda’s goal is to generate sustainable work for thousands of artisans, especially women, whilst improving design, quality, and jewelry business skills. The jewelry is made in Afghanistan by members of the Aayenda Jewelry Co-Operative, whose founders are inspiring Afghan women social entrepreneurs.
To date, Aayenda Jewelry has sold successfully at over 40 leading fashion boutiques, such as Nina@FredSegal and Michael Stars in Los Angeles, Donna Karan’s Urban Zen in New York; Smithsonian Museum store in Washington DC, and at retail outlets in Canada, Mexico, UK, EU, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and India – and Azerbaijan. The brand is also sold online through fair-trade websites such as Global Goods Partners, Far & Wide Collective, Jewel and Lotus – and at www.aayendajewelry.com.
Aayenda Jewelry orders have provided work for 1200 artisans, including 300 war widows, who hand carve fine lapis and turquoise beads.
Future Brilliance Graduates
Khala Zada, a graduate of the Future Brilliance jewelry design and trainer of trainers (TOT) courses delivered in Jaipur in 2013, was awarded a grant to complete the construction of a bead-making training workshop in her remote village in Balkh Province. She then used the teacher training skills she acquired from Future Brilliance to train a further 60 local women in bead making.
Khala then shop-fit a retail outlet in Mazar-e-Sharif using royalty funds generated by sales of Aayenda. She now markets her own and her students’ very beautiful, beaded jewelry to local customers at her own boutique.
Other beneficiaries of Aayenda Jewelry sales’ royalties include Jawed Noori of Noor Jewellery in Kabul and Sayed Ayub Sadat of Afghan Zamarud. The artisans, both members of the Aayenda Jewelry Co-operative, received hands-on quality control and marketing training in Delhi and Jaipur in 2016.
Syed Ayub said that he learned so much from this training, that he opened his own workshop in Kabul, up his return, employing 7 people. His business immediately established a reputation for good quality and excellent service, and he has attracted commissions from jewellery brands in Germany, the UK, and the USA, as well as Aayenda. Having personally benefitted from international market exposure and on-the-job training in India, Sayed Ayub has now asked Future Brilliance to find workshop placements in Jaipur for his most talented employees.
Future Brilliance is breaking new ground with Aayenda. The innovative social enterprise is building sustainable international market linkages for members of the Aayenda Jewelry Co-operative, whilst funding additional benefit through the provision of grants, training, and equipment through sales royalties of the jewelry.