Spirit of Island is a sustainable online jeweler whose jewelry is produced in an environmentally friendly way and traded fairly.
But who is behind Spirit of Island and how did the idea of founding a sustainable online jeweler come about?
To find out, let's look back a few years to 2015. Simon, one of the two founders of Spirit of Island, was 27 years old at the time and working as a project manager at an event agency in Düsseldorf. Many years before, he had already worked as a tour guide and discovered his interest in foreign countries and other cultures. However, even then he suffered from the side effect of wanderlust.
The journey begins
In 2015, Simon decides to give in to the constant wanderlust and quits his job at the time as well as his apartment to go traveling with his brother and another friend.
How long the trip should go, is not planned, but the direction already outlined. First a few months in Asia, then Work & Travel in New Zealand and then we'll see.
The last stopover before New Zealand is called Bali. Here, after many weeks of backpacking, the guys want to really switch off again, surf a few waves and let their souls dangle before a new chapter of the journey begins.
The first meeting
Arriving on Bali, Simon gets to know the Indonesian Ina early on. She is 30 years young and actually comes from Jakarta. However, she has been living on the island of Bali for over 10 years and works there as a wedding planner in a five-star hotel resort.
The two hit it off right away, so they have their first date the very next day. From then on they meet regularly.
But when they leave for New Zealand after 6 weeks, it is very hard for them to say goodbye.
After almost a month on the North Island of New Zealand, the three boys reach Wellington. From there they want to cross the next day with their car to the South Island. The tickets are already booked.
Simon, who has continued to write with Ina over the last few weeks, decides on the day before the crossing to cancel the planned route with the boys in order to fly back to Bali that same evening.
Back to Bali
The joy of the reunion is great for both. Simon moves directly to Ina in Jimbaran and explores the island from there. Meanwhile, he learns a lot about the local culture in which he quickly finds his way.
There is only one thing he can't get used to - the amount of plastic floating on the streets, in rivers, on the beach and in the sea. Neither the locals nor the tourists seem to really care.
Ina and Simon often talk about this problem and the bitter phenomenon that the beauty of the island leads to its destruction because so many tourists come to the island. Also that environmental protection and sustainability is a luxury, which the fewest can neither afford, nor want, is noticeable again and again.
In 2016, Ina and Simon then decide that they want to get married. The somewhat surprised families and friends are quickly enthusiastic and even come partly from Germany to celebrate together the dream wedding in Uluwatu, before it then also goes to Germany for the newlyweds.
The actual idea to start a sustainable jeweler comes only in 2018 during their belated honeymoon in Bali. More precisely, on a trip to Ubud, in the interior of the island, where the craftsmanship of many small manufactories can be marveled at. Especially teak is processed here into beautiful furniture.
Ina and Simon are particularly interested in the handmade silver and gold jewelry there, which is still handmade by small traditional manufactories - but mostly without gemstones, which astonishes Ina.
She sets to work while still on her honeymoon and sketches the first designs of filigree gemstone rings.
Together with Simon, she then searches for the best silversmith in Bali - which is the first really big challenge. But through good contacts on the island, they are then still found.
At the same time, Ina contacts her relatives from Borneo and Jakarta, who are immediately enthusiastic about the idea. Ina's cousin Sarah provides active support and establishes initial contacts with suppliers.
Ina and Simon immediately agree that the production must not harm the environment, nor exploit the locals.
The goal should be that the jewelry stands as an ambassador for conservation and sustainability!
The sustainable jewelry should prove that something as beautiful as a gemstone ring, can be produced sustainably, traded fairly and packaged plastic-free.
It is meant to be an innocent product, created with love for nature, to delight the owner and remind her of what nature gives us humans and why it is worth protecting it by acting responsibly and sustainably.
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