WWAKE is a connection to a world beyond your own. We strive to build the inherent value of our materials beyond their historic lore and beyond jewelry. Driven by our designer’s itinerant childhood and the friendships that she built around the world, we work to build an intimate connection to the people behind our materials. Our precious stones and metals are ethically sourced from Malawi, Colombia, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, China, Colombia, Peru, and our home here in North America. As such, our jewelry is the connection between you, the earth, and every hand in between, and rethinks traditional structures on every level of the business.
OUR PROCESS: SOCIALLY & ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS
Locally made, highest quality — our jewelry is transparently handcrafted in New York. We actively oversee how our jewelry is made, ensuring high quality, low-impact studio methods. Through the growth of long-term relationships, we give back to our local economy.
Low-impact practices — as a base practice, we design around low-impact materials as much as we possibly can. This means recycled diamonds and recycled gold, certified by SCS standards which ensure our supply chains meet international labor standards, and don’t include destructive environmental practices. We also source heritage gemstone rough (mined 17+ years ago), as well as antique diamonds, all of which minimize reliance on new mining. Where there are gaps in these options, we choose partners who have the best possible practices within the parameters of the jewelry industry. These include fair labor and pricing standards, as well as well-researched, transparent communication practices.
Origin matters, positive impact — When sourcing new material, we’re most passionate about transparency around working conditions at the source, because this allows us to actively rethink age-old colonial systems that left the people at the source of materials most vulnerable. We buy from the few pioneers of fairtrade gemstones in the industry, and work directly with the miners to preserve the provenance of our jewelry and prioritize social development with the communities at the source. As such, we design collections around fairtrade, positive impact sources that help communities break out of poverty and flourish over time.
REDEFINING THE INDUSTRY: OUR COMPANY STRUCTURE
Who we are — WWAKE is proudly Asian woman-owned and run by a 92% women-identified team. Our in-house studio staffs 100% women-identified bench jewelers, bringing our unique perspective to every step of the process —how it’s made, designed, and then shared.
Diversity & equal opportunity — WWAKE is a business owned and led by a woman who identifies as an immigrant of color. We believe in building a diverse and inclusive workplace. We’re committed to maintaining a minimum of 50% of our roles for Black, NBPOC, and immigrants. Starting in summer 2020, a primary focus of growth will be in roles for people of color who specifically identify as Black, NBPOC, and/or part of the LGBTQI+communities.
WWAKE is always evolving to be a more inclusive space for all racial and gender identities. Internally, the WWAKE team is dedicated to long-term anti-racist education, complemented by paid community service hours we require each employee to complete.
Professional development — We acknowledge that there is a deep systemic issue of racism and prejudice in the fashion and jewelry industries, leading to gaps in knowledge and experience that prevent Black, Brown, and LBGTQI+ communities from advancement. In 2020, we're collaborating with Slow Factory to establish a professional development track program in collaboration with Slow Factory, to train Black and/or LGBTQ+ people who are in the early stages of their careers to enter & succeed in the fashion and fine jewelry industries.
Paying it forward — Every year since our inception, WWAKE has made annual investments into organizations that protect and uplift marginalized individuals in our local community. Our philosophy is that if we make a little, we should give a little too. As an example: 5-10% of our annual holiday sale revenue goes toward WIN NYC, a nonprofit that focuses on breaking the cycle of New York homelessness by uplifting women and their children). Starting in 2020, we’re committing to investing a minimum of one percent of all annual sales to community organizations, modeled after 1% For The Planet.
Education & Community Service – We’re committed to educating ourselves both internally and externally on transparent and ethical sourcing. We aim to empower our staff and customers alike with knowledge about how the industry works, and how we can collectively dismantle exploitative practices.At WWAKE, equity is a core guiding principle. We're committed to recognizing and uplifting the lives of everyone our brand touches through our sourcing, design and business practices. Our aim is to ensure that our internal practices mirror our brand ethos in supporting long-term, sustainable change in our community.