Locally-Launched SoHza Jewelry Helps Women Globally
Debbie Lupariello (left) and Vicki Miller (right), co-founders of SoHza Jewelry
SoHza Jewelry began its inspirational journey with a question: “How can we pull the ties of women together to teach tolerance through women’s bonds globally?” Debbie Lupariello, one of the four women who launched soHza, came up with the answer to the question when she bought her mother a fair trade necklace from Guatemala.
“I was blown away by the connection I felt to the woman who made the necklace,” Lupariello recalls. That same Christmas, Lupariello’s sister, Vicki Miller, got a fair trade bracelet from Ghana as a gift from her best friend, Cassi Baker. “This made Vicki and I start thinking about how this connection could be strengthened,” explains Lupariello. “We started growing our vision and business plan.”
Shortly thereafter, Lupariello and Miller asked Baker to join the team for her business experience. Then, Lupariello and Miller asked their sister Melissa to join the team as well, serving as the relationship expert.
The group of ladies began their search of jewelry to be included in soHza’s collections. According to Lupariello, a strong focus is placed on picking out pieces that are different, powerful and will make a statement when worn.
“We pick our jewelry by looking for artists that combine local and naturally influenced resources, with style, and culturally influenced, either through color or resources,” Lupariello explains. “We sell jewelry from Kenya, India, Columbia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Ethiopia and Ecuador. We want the woman who buy soHza to feel inspired by the piece and to find themselves wanting to wear it more and more.”
Each piece in soHza’s collections ranges from about $15 to $250, depending on the materials the artist uses. But what makes soHza’s jewelry so unique, according to Lupariello, is that each piece has a story to tell. Most of the artists that have been chosen to be a part of the jewelry collections at soHza have had to overcome many battles in their lives, most common battles being with HIV and sex trafficking.
“We put together collections of pieces from around the world and the stories of the women behind them. These collections are partnered with a local nonprofit for women who share our mission, giving them the opportunity to help women globally,” Lupariello explains, “We donate 15% of the sales from their collection back to the local nonprofit. Each piece of jewelry has two stories, the woman who made it, and the woman it benefits locally.”
Since soHza’s launch in April of this year, the jewelry line has partnered up with nine different charities, such as The YWCA of Columbus, The Pink Ribbon Girls of Cincinnati, Women Helping Women in Cincinnati, The Women’s Crisis Center of Kentucky, Women of Excellence, Girls on the Run Franklin County, DOMA International, The Stefanie Spielman Fund and The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. “We are overwhelmed by the support from our partners, they believed in our mission from the very beginning,” Lupariello says. “We have the easy job of working with groups of women who are changing their lives and their communities on both sides and we get to pull them together and create an even greater bond.”
All of the charities involved, with soHza’s help, have been able to give scholarships to women, help women with breast cancer, encourage women’s leadership, help women get off the streets and get women out of domestically violent relationships.
With a goal to continue to pull ties of women together globally by sharing cause to cause and story to story, Lupariello hopes to expand soHza to Louisville and Indianapolis by the first of the year then gradually expand from city to city. “When women wear SoHza jewelry, they feel a connection to the two women connected to it and it feels great,” Lupariello says. “They complete the bond between local and global women, woman changers. When women are at the center of change, anything is possible.”
To learn more, visit their website or “like” them on Facebook.