Interview with Victoria Jones, founder of S A Y A Designs

Victoria approached us with her project and we immediately loved it! S A Y A Designs is the name of her start-up, a social enterprise, creating hairpins out of reclaimed roots. It’s a really interesting and environmental friendly project, you’ll love to hear about it, too!

Could you tell us a bit about you, Victoria?

I am from Oxford in the UK and I started S A Y A as a medium for exploration. My personal and professional background is all in the visual arts. I started my first business selling antiques and I fell in love with handmade things, traditional techniques and objects that had real meaning.

Through S A Y A we are creating excitement around issues we believe in by creating things people can treasure that have stories to tell. We hope to invite others to get involved directly with environmental and wildlife conservation.

What is SAYA Designs?

S A Y A Designs is a brand new start-up creating hair pins out of reclaimed roots. For each piece purchased we are planting up to10 endangered trees into micro forests around Indonesia.

How did you come with the idea to launch such an interesting project?

I was inspired to start S A Y A because I wanted to establish a way I could create a direct link between giving back to the planet I love, whilst expressing my creativity. Circular business models always made so much sense to me but I had never thought of starting one.

In short, I had worn hairsticks for many years and had made a few for myself so they happened to be at the forefront of my mind.

When researching environmental issues in Indonesia, visiting countless eco projects and meeting people in the field, I began to understand the scale and complexity of the work that needs to be done. I knew I wanted to be a part of it, but also wanted to see the direct impact myself. When I came across the group of sculptors from Java who where digging up this root wood we are sourcing, I had the idea. The pieces of waste offcuts from these roots matched as a perfect fit to something small, functional and unique. I thought about how hairpins would be something you use everyday and what a great talking point it would be! I loved the idea they would be daily reminders and symbols of our commitment to our beliefs. We have many ideas for the road ahead, what’s exciting is that this is just the beginning!

What are your products made of?

We are using salvaged root wood from old plantation sites in Indonesia. By using this waste material, left behind by loggers we are not adding to the huge logging Industry across the world and able to tell stories about issues we care about.

How can the customer help to preserve the environment by purchasing SAYA hairpins?

For each purchase, we will plant up to 10 endangered tree species back into the rainforests across protect areas in Indonesia. We have partnered with an organisation, GAIA, based in Central Java. They work on teaching local communities how to maintain their environment through support and training. They work closely together with large organisations such as FFI work with the Indonesian government to make sure forestry issues are heard. These Micro Gardens will be supplying our seeds, training farmers and communities to support their ecosystems. Endangered species are vital for the biodiversity of the ecosystem and need at least 5 years to monitor their growth before they are ready to be replanted into national protected forests.

For this project, do you count of the help of other partners?

Currently, S A Y A is just run by me, but I have had a lot of support from friends who have helped me with solving problems along the way. My boyfriend Rich also runs multiple ecommerce businesses and I wouldn’t have been able to do this without him.

I have also teamed up with artisans in Bali to make the hair pins and a NGO called Gaia to plant the trees.

You are part of the so-called ethical fashion movement, how would you describe this concept to our readers?

I think the ‘ethical fashion movement’ is an awakening of people putting their values first. People want to stand up for basic human and environmental rights. The understanding is that being environmentally friendly is fashionable in itself. The movement is now happening within the mainstream, which is what needs to happen for awareness to spread. If the demand goes, things will have to change.

Part of our mission with S A Y A is that we want to represent this change in direction. We want to be turning heads for all the right reasons.

Do you see this kind of fashion philosophy of making environmentally friendly products growing during the next years?

For sure, i think it is past being important to a small minority of people and is becoming a social norm, which is so great! I think the philosophy is something that will take time, but I think the change in mind set will be the biggest difference. We first need to start changing what we buy, understand the impact of our actions and then we can start making real changes to how we live. We really need to just do more things ourselves and stop relying on others to make a difference. I feel this wave of eco fashion is amazing in the sense that it is being used to spread huge awareness and help set better standards for larger companies.

For everyone interested in purchasing your products or contacting you, where can they find you online?

Email SAYA: hello@sayadesigns.com

Subscribe to their website: www.sayadesigns.com

Follow SAYA on Instagram: @saya__designs

Follow SAYA on Facebook: Saya Designs

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