If you’ve checked in with any of your favorite fashion bloggers lately, chances are you’ve seen horn jewelry in their rotation. It is a hot item at the moment, in part because because it is an organic material and universally flattering on any skin tone. Today, we want to introduce you to the talented artisan behind our Inyambo jewelry collection.
Please welcome John Paul!
Q: JOHN PAUL, THANK YOU FOR TALKING WITH US TODAY! PLEASE TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF.
A: My name is Jean Paul Twagirayezu. I am the firstborn in my family of six. I attended primary school but, due to poverty, I didn't continue my studies. I am 34 years old and am Rwandan. I have only mom, who lives in Rwamagana, my homeland. When I was young, I trained with others to learn how to make cow horn products. I decided to create my own business and am now the owner of my own company.
Q: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN MAKING BEAUTIFUL PRODUCTS OUT OF HORN?
A: I have been working with horn for nine years.
Q: WHAT INSPIRES YOU WHEN CREATING NEW DESIGNS?
A: During training, I did not receive an education in how to create new designs. But, I have talent and innovation. I am inspired by things I see on the internet and by other local and African items.
Q: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO HAVE A BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP WITH DIANA AND HANDSPUN HOPE?
A: Having a business relationship with Diana is profitable for us both. It allows me to grow my business and to continue offering quality products to good people.
Q: WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR COUNTRY THAT AMERICANS MAY NOT KNOW?
A: My country is beautiful in so many ways. Having people take the time to invest in Rwanda is a wonderful thing.
Q: WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU SEE - IN YOUR OWN LIFE OR COMMUNITY - THAT GIVES YOU HOPE?
A: When I see hard work in society - the kind that provides progress for Rwandans in their way of life - this is what gives me hope.
Thank you, John Paul. We are lucky to have such a wonderful working relationship with you.
We want to take a moment to address the use of cow horn. It has always been important to us that any product we offer through the Hope Artisan Collective is one that is sourced ethically and humanely. The horn used by John Paul, and many artisans throughout Africa, is a byproduct of the meat industry in Rwanda. For years, it was seen as a useless leftover but, in supporting John Paul, we are ensuring no part of the animal goes to waste and repurposing the horn in a beautiful way.
In addition to jewelry, John Paul has created cow horn ornaments in two different designs and votive holders for our Artisan Christmas Collection!
Cheers to shopping for good!