Creating a More Sustainable Future
Yewo is a socially minded enterprise based in the village of Manchewe, a small, close-knit community in the mountains of Malawi's Northern Region. Founded by couple Maddy McAllister and Kyle Snell, the jewelry brand creates ethical employment for one of the most remote and impoverished communities in the country; providing in-house job training and reliable salaries for unemployed villagers, most of whom had never had a formal job or stable income before starting work at Yewo.
Yewo's mission is to create a better and more sustainable future by crafting objects that actively replenish the planet, uplift the producer, celebrate global connection, and inspire the responsible consumer.
"Manchewe is a very rural village. We're at least three hours away from any kind of town," McAllister explains. "We only hire local people, so it's incredibly rewarding to see how the jobs we've created have transformed the area. Grass roofs have now been upgraded to tin, and the economy has really grown," she says. They provide all staff with in-house skills training, consistent employment, and resources for personal growth. In addition, Yewo staff are provided two daily nutritious meals, health care options, 26 annual paid-days off, savings accounts, access to interest free loans, annual raises/bonuses, educational resources, and of course, staff parties.
"We want to make sure we create stable, sustainable incomes," McAllister explains, "so we pay our artisans a fixed salary each month.”
Kyle and Maddy acknowledge that everything they make has an environmental impact on the planet. Yewo is actively working towards offsetting carbon emissions within their value chain to become a low impact, carbon-neutral producer. Some examples of their efforts include:
• The entire workshop runs on renewable energy- from electric machines, tools, to a community charging station-all 100% powered by the sun!
• They use sustainable and plastic-free packaging.
• Yewo utilizes up-cycled raw materials and source locally whenever possible. They buy thick wire from a small nearby co-op who make the wire from old coins and scrap brass.
• Like many places, Malawi is facing alarming rates of deforestation.
• Yewo has planted close to 1,000 trees around their community, and hope to make this a major priority for the coming years.
Unlike most brands, Kyle and Maddy own and operate the solar-powered workshop and live part of the year on the ground in Malawi. This unique opportunity not only ensures a daily commitment to ethical employment and low impact production, but it also allows customers an honest insight of where their product originated from, who made it, and the impact they are making with their purchase.
Yewo hopes their transparency and global connection inspires you to continue supporting brands that align with your values as they work towards creating a more equitable and sustainable world. They have worked hard to create a safe, encouraging, and family-like work environment where individuals are supported and pushed towards personal growth and leadership.