Handmade sustainable jewellery conquers the online market
Panama-based entrepreneur Nara Trujillo launches her e-commerce venture with support from ITC
Sometimes life places us at crossroads that force us to make difficult decisions, in uncertain circumstances. Nara Trujillo was close to completing her architecture studies when she began to realise that her profession did not provide her with the sense of accomplishment that every human being needs. She tried other occupations in the hope of finding fulfilment but soon began to feel uncomfortable with herself and experience episodes of anxiety.
Discovering her passion
One day Nara Trujillo came across a pearl shop that caught her attention. She went inside and decided to buy some materials to create some clothes as a hobby. She was far from expecting that she would finally discover her true passion.
Whilst making her first piece, she experienced a sense of inner peace that was so overwhelming that she instantly felt a special connection with this profession.
Nara began taking courses to learn advanced techniques and perfect the art of jewellery-making. In 2014, she decided to quit her job and dedicate herself to launching her own sustainable jewellery business.
Sustainability & the environment
Nara is currently a jeweller by profession, specialising in the design of earrings, bracelets, necklaces and other pieces of jewellery made for women who appreciate elegance and simplicity while being conscious of the environment.
80% of the materials Nara uses come from discarded accessories which she dismantles, cleans, polishes and melts to give them new life (and a completely different appearance!). The repair and reuse of unused accessories is closely tied to the values Nara’s mother instilled in her as a child. For this reason, sustainability is an intrinsic part of her approach to creating and designing jewellery.
Ironically, this principle of reuse and recycling is not limited to the acquisition of raw materials for jewellery making, but also extends to Nara’s academic career – the wealth of architectural knowledge she thought she had wasted is now actively “reused” as a source of inspiration for her designs, which she describes as a fusion of architecture and nature.
From a simple structure such as a staircase to larger works such as the Pagodas of Japan or the Panama Canal, architecture is a source of inspiration that helps shape her creations. Alongside this, Nara is fascinated by the colours and textures found in nature – she uses this source of inspiration to create truly original pieces for the Nara Trujillo brand.
Knowledge acquired through ITC
Nara acknowledges that despite being a ‘millennial’, she was able to learn a lot by attending the e-commerce workshops delivered through ITC’s ecomConnect program:
“The world of online sales is much bigger than I thought. I have learned about tools to study the market and now I understand the requirements of a marketplace from a seller’s point of view.”
Thanks to ITC’s trainings and mentoring sessions, Nara recently opened her first online sales channel on Etsy, through which she plans to export her products to markets such as Europe and the United States, with the clear vision of gaining international brand recognition.
Nara Trujillo - Sustainable Jewellery is part of the project "Linking Central American women's businesses to the global gifts and home decoration market", funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by ITC in collaboration with the Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration (SIECA ) and other national partners to connect women-led enterprises from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama to the online markets.
The project's e-commerce component is implemented under the ITC ecomConnect program, which actively supports MSMEs in their digital journey through its training program, research and facilitation of innovative solutions, collaborative structures, associations and digital tools and technologies.
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