A local jewelry brand is creating opportunities for the people of Haiti
By selling jewelry made by people in Haiti, Abby Clevenger has turned Beljoy into more than a local brand.
“I think the most rewarding part is just getting to be apart of peoples lives in Haiti and being able to provide jobs that I know are actually changing lives.”
Abby Clevenger is the owner of Beljoy, a Joplin jewlery company that’s sparkling across the globe. While jewelry may be her specialty, it’s her *cause* that warrants celebration.
“Beljoy is all about creating jobs and opportunity for work in Haiti,” said Clevenger. “We have a fashion for jewelry line that we design here in the states. We then ship down product to Haiti for artisans to make.”
Despite a few false starts, it was clear Abby’s plan had potential — a diamond in the rough.
“We started out actually wanting to design handbags and have handbags produced. There’s a leather tannery in Haiti, and we also did some little children’s dolls. After working with people and different programs, it was really clear we should stick with jewelry.”
Starting as a small, short term operation, the Beljoy message soon turned heads.
“I called a couple friends who owned boutiques and they came over to my house and looked at the jewelry collection and bought it, so that kind of was my first…wow, maybe we do have a good jewelry line.”
A jewelry line with only one direction to go — up.
“We took it to the Dallas market and it was picked up by 75 stores. That’s when we thought maybe we should keep going with this, and we took it to the Las Vegas market, which is the largest fashion market in the United States, and we were successful at picking up another 150 stores.”
But selling jewelry is just one link in the chain — Abby says the gem of Beljoy is knowing her team is helping the people of Haiti during a time of need.
“The people have been fighting for their rights and it’s adding a lot of turmoil and tension within the country. So now more than ever, jobs are crucial. Each one of our employees supports three to five other families. All of our employees and artisans have remained taken care of and even if they haven’t been able to work, Beljoy is in a position where we have been able to support them.”
In addition to the 40 artisan jobs in Haiti. Beljoy has built homes, offered medical help and sent children to school.
“But I think people like to know where their money is going. So it’s kind of like the cherry on top. People get a quality piece of jewelry at a great price, but it’s also going back to help people.”