Meet the Maker: Landmine Design
With an ethos of "futures for them, fashion for us," Landmine Design is a company we're honored to have within our the Flea community. Founded by Director Karla Tillapaugh in 2009 after her visit to a remote village - "The Minefield Village" - in Cambodia, Landmine Design helps women overcome poverty by empowering them to earn an income through the creation of beautiful jewelry. What initially started with six women in 2012, the Lightbridge team in Cambodia now employs 26 women who meet not only create the company's necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, but also to receive an education and create their own economic sustainability to protect themselves and their families.
what does your brand mean to you?
Landmine Design is more than a brand to me. It is an opportunity for life-giving hope to women at risk of human trafficking in Cambodia.
first product you created?
A really ugly bracelet made out of rolled paper beads. 500 of these bracelets arrived from our artisans in Cambodia and we realized we couldn't even sell them, so we tore them apart and used the beads for other pieces of jewelry.
how has your PROCESS evolved over the years?
So many ways! Our artisans still make jewelry from rolled paper beads, but we add lovely metals to create stunning pieces for a modern marketplace. This year, we will also offer a men's piece as well as new textile offerings made by new artisans in Cambodia.
what materials do you work with?
We work with paper to make the beads. We also work with metals, chains, crystals, leather, and cloth.
HOw has your brand evolved and grown over the years?
We not only create lovely pieces of jewelry for individual purchase, but our brand also has evolved in selling promotional products to larger companies who are tired of the same old promotional water bottle or branded pen. We also have expanded our offerings to include a men's piece and new hand-sewn textiles.
what's your favorite product or collection you've created?
Every season is a new collection and I find easy favorites in each one. My constant favorite right now is our new spring earrings -- hoops that are light as a feather and have dangled beads and crystals -- ADORABLE!
why do you do what you do?
For me, it's about the change happening in the lives of women at risk. We work to prevent human trafficking by providing jobs, education, Christian discipleship, health & hygiene, and...hope! Why wouldn't want to be a part of that? It's amazing to see change; amazing to see women safe; and amazing to see hope rise!
aDVICE TO OTHER SEEKING A SIMILAR PATH?
If you feel called to your work, follow that call. And go for it with gusto and grit.
best part about being a colorado maker?
Although our artisans are at-risk women in Cambodia, our office and warehouse is in Colorado. We love Colorado...the creation and vibrancy of this state is delightful!
on the denver flea wish list:
The Anne Necklace, for a subtle touch of glam in our life that also supports the betterment of others.
Follow LANDMINE DESIGN:
QUICK FACT #1
We work on a former minefield in Cambodia.
QUICK FACT #2
Our beaded jewelry is made out of rolled pieces of paper.
QUICK FACT #3
We started a sustainability program with piglets!