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Exclusive Interview: SAME SKY Jewelry
Accessory brand owner Francine LeFrak opens up about SAME SKY

Our fashion editors were enamored by the beauty and good cause that SAME SKY jewelry promotes. When we got a chance to speak with the brand’s owner we had to report back with a part two article to our sister story, Fashion for a Cause. Universal summer items like the Python Sky BraceletWhite Tiger Sky Bracelet and Canary Hope Necklace are on trend until late fall months and will dress up any outfit. Whether it’s a bohemian tunic or a plain white tee, SAME SKY’s colorful hand-blown glass beads have got something for everyone. So if you're planning a trip to the exotic island of Mykonos, you're definitely going to want to check these items out! It’s no wonder influencers like Ben Affleck and Lauren Bush are jumping on the brand’s bandwagon to support SAME SKY jewels. SAME SKY owner Francine LeFrak intimately opens up to our readers about the vision behind her accessory brand.

What do you think separates you from other accessory brands in the mainstream market?

SAME SKY is beautiful feel good jewelry. What separates us from the mainstream is that it is jewelry with a story and jewelry to empower. When you wear SAME SKY jewelry, you are wearing a ribbon to the artisan who created it. At SAME SKY we emphasize the direct impact of each purchase. For example, the purchase of a SAME SKY Glass Bead Bracelet buys an HIV+ artisan healthcare for an entire year. The purchase of a SAME SKY Prosperity Bracelet buys an artisan clean drinking water for a month. We shed light on the artisan’s story and how much the dignity of work has completely transformed their lives. Each SAME SKY piece of jewelry comes signed with a note from the artisan who crafted it, and we encourage supporters to read their stories on our website as well as send an e-mail to the artisans.

How did you come up with the idea to benefit women abroad through a fashion company like SAME SKY?

I was so impacted by the Rwandan Genocide, and I felt such a strong need to do something on the ground in Rwanda to help those who had been most affected. According to the UN nearly a million Rwandan citizens were murdered in a hundred days, a quarter of a million women were raped and 70% of them contracted HIV/AIDS. These HIV+ women were the people that were most left behind by the Genocide, and I knew that the best way to help them was to give them the dignity of work. I implemented a program to train and employ these women, as well as created a marketplace for the sale and distribution of their products.

How is this benefiting women abroad and how are you getting celebrities involved?

For every dollar a woman is paid she invests 80 cents into her family and community. When a woman is economically empowered the ripple effect has a positive long-term effect on the whole family and the generations to come. SAME SKY pays our artisans 15 to 20 times the average wage, with their earnings they have been able to save and start a number of endeavors. Julienne became her own entrepreneur and started a motorcycle taxi business, Jacqueline was able to buy all five of her children mattresses, Clemantine opened her very first back account, and Beatha was able to send her son to the National University of Rwanda. These women are reconstructing and building a new Rwanda.

Many celebrities are socially conscious –like Ben Affleck and his incredible work with The Eastern Congo Initiative or Lauren Bush’s work to FEED the children of the world. We reach out to celebrities who are inspired by women’s empowerment and we invite them to become a part of our movement. They attend Trunk Show events and help us spread the word of SAME SKY jewelry and its mission for women to empower other women.

What are some of your favorite pieces this season to accessorize a summer outfit with?

Summer is all about color and vibrancy. It just so happens that these are two words SAME SKY embraces. Our collections feature nearly every hue in the spectrum—from Mykonos Blue, Rockstar Metallic, Jade Green, to Orange Crush. We are strong believers in adding statement jewelry to every outfit. For New York summer days, my favorite go-to’s are the Canary Hope Necklace, Go Gold Faith Earrings, and the Born to Run Black Fabric Wrap. This summer SAME SKY has something for everyone.

What's next for SAME SKY jewelry? Any new collections coming out soon?

SAME SKY’s mission is to continue hiring, training, employing, and empowering more women in need. Our latest endeavor is SAME SKY AMERICA, where we will work with women living below the poverty line. We will train and employ these women and in turn pay them a fair wage and help them rebuild their lives.