Say what?! Yes! You heard me and all those details are correct. I sat down with Ayesha Gaffoor, the creative behind Good Earth Hudson Valley, a sustainable jewelry brand based here in the Hudson Valley.
As a long time Hudson Valley resident myself, small businesses are everything to our community. We thrive on those one of a kind items whether it be food from local breweries or culinary-trained chef owned restaurants, or clothes from a boutique on Main Street in Beacon. I've seen so much of our community grow in the past years and I'm so happy of Ayesha's contribution that I wanted to make a point to feature her on my blog. Ayesha and I go back a couple of years now, and while she's only been living in the HV for 2 years, she's already made such a tremendous contribution both socially and in the HV's world of fashion.
After graduating from New York's Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Ayesha, a Queens native, pursued a career in package design. She then started following various Etsy accounts, that raised her interest in jewelry design. After moving to the Hudson Valley, and loving the natural beauty and strong sense of community we had to offer, Ayesha started learning more about e-commerce. And after meeting other creatives, last summer, Ayesha began her journey with jewelry.
"I saw that everyone had these side hustles, and I wanted a side hustle...and I've learned so much since."
Good Earth Hudson Valley features a range of fashion items from clothing, lifestyle items, and handmade jewelry, all of which are designed by Ayesha herself. In addition to designing all her items, Ayesha has also created an environmental purpose for her brand. You can find her website here.
" I make sure that everything I do is planet conscious and I'm not doing anything to harm the environment. I want to make sure I educate my viewers about sustainability first"
So when you buy yourself or someone you love a pair of Good Earth earrings you are doing good with your purchase. You won't just be getting cute cookie cutter shapes and colorful patterns that look gorgeous on any skin tone's ears, but your earrings will come placed on a wooden backing. Ayesha has made sustainable choices down to the packaging, which are made from reusable and recyclable materials. The backings are unfinished wood, which she reuses. And the best part? When you return 5 backings back to Ayesha you receive $10 off your purchase!
" Worst case scenario, if you can't get them back to me, the backings are biodegradable, so even if they do end up in a landfill, it's not completely harming the environment."
Even more impressive, like myself, Ayesha is an Indo-Caribbean woman taking a chance on a small business in one of New York's most historically white areas, which I can attest to. So how does one make that leap? Ayesha admits she didn't know where to begin. But procrastination was not an option. With the support from her family, Ayesha reached out to other creatives to see how they began their businesses. After doing the research, she trusted her instincts and taught herself everything she needed to know about starting a company.
" There is no right answer, if you have the resources just go for it."
Ayesha realizes she's doing so much more than just making jewelry. Ayesha represents the small percentage of brown women who are showing younger girls and boys, that starting your own company is possible.
" Representation, we clearly want it, and part of it is normalizing it. I try to make sure I am not alienating anyone in the brand, and that my audience is inclusive."
Personally, I am just obsessed. I love the bright colors and I love that they reflect Ayesha's colorful personality and happy smile. THe stone-like textures the jewelry is made out of and I just love that Ayesha is creating items that people want to wear. I also love that the jewelry is affordable to the average person.
When Ayesha isn't out there being a boss babe, you can probably find her at either one of her favorite places in HV, Storm King Art Center or more recently during quarantine times, the drive-in.
Check out Good Earth Hudson Valley
Facebook: Good Earth Hudson Valley