December 2016

How Beyond Beanie is Changing Lives

Beyond Beanie is an up- and coming lifestyle and fashion company that sells ponchos, bags, beanies, and bracelets. These products are proudly made by Bolivian artisans. By helping these artisans selling their products, Beyond Beanie can create sustainable local jobs. Therefore, they no longer have to work on the streets. Ninet Meija is one of the artisans who is making fashion products for Beyond Beanie.

Melanie Hazemberg
Projects Abroad Volunteer
Hilversum – Netherlands

Photos by: Melanie Hazemberg

Life Changing Opportunity

Not only for Ninet, but for all artisans, Beyond Beanie is a life changing opportunity. At first they could only sell their products in Cochabamba, but now people wear their signed products all around the world. The artisans even receive letters of thanks from the customers for their bracelets or beanies. When I asked Ninet about this, she started to smile: "Some people send me letters. They are so grateful and they really like the bracelet I made for them." There are even people who visit the artisans to express their appreciation. This has never happened to Ninet, but according to Paty, it's always a lovely experience: "When tourists come to Bolivia to get to know the people behind Beyond Beanie, they go with us to a school, meet the children, and always have the opportunity to give the children some supplies. The artisans find it very special if someone from Europe wants to meet them. They always take pictures together so they can remember special moments like these."

'Being part of the Beyond Beanie family makes life easier'

Photos by: Melanie Hazemberg

The Process of Making Bracelets

Ninet never experienced anything like that, but really enjoys the attention. She also loves to explain how she makes her bracelets, adding explains that there are a thousand different colors which you can use. Ninet goes to the office once a week to pick up the materials for the new bracelets she needs to make. She always takes strings of one color with her home. She can make about hundred bracelets per week, but the amount she needs depends on which bracelets are in demand. Some are more difficult than others. She can make a simple bracelet in two minutes; another one takes her about fifteen minutes. Sometimes she also makes ponchos for Beyond Beanie, which takes about two days. Ninet works in her house, which is the easier for her. This way, she can take care of her children at the same time.

Photos by: Melanie Hazemberg

Future of Beyond Beanie and Their Artisans

Ninet deeply loves to make bracelets, not only because she needs a profitable income as others do. "I really love to make bracelets, and doing this as my job is amazing. I would absolutely love to continue with Beyond Beanie." Beyond Beanie would also love to continue with artisans like Ninet who are proud to be part of its family. Beyond Beanie would like to promote itself around the world and continue advancing its life changing company. It is currently busy reaching more people to make them aware of Beyond Beanie. Tito, the founder of Beyond Beanie states, "In the future we just want to innovate our products and spend more time with the artisans. When there is enough time, we would love to change the fashion of Beyond Beanie into a great lifestyle. The most important thing is to keep going with our company and to give more artisans the stage to show their art and change their lives."

Photos by: Melanie Hazemberg
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