Ashley Pittman's African Creations, Style That's Making a Difference

It reads sort of like a modern day fairy tale. A young, bright, determined young woman, with Texas roots (Dallas), leaves her business career that had become a little boring, to head to Africa to reach out and make a difference. Deeply touched by what she encounters, Ashley Pittman sets out to use the skills she acquired, both in law school and in the finance industry, to build a sustainable company that will provide much needed employment and business training to local artisan groups.

On one of her trips, she meets the proprietor of a small shop that sells clothing as well as designs of local horn artisans. A partnership is formed. The collection features horn, semi-precious gemstones, bronze and other materials indigenousto Kenya. In NYC, her baubles happen to catch the eye of the Bergdorf’s GM who asks to sell her jewels in their store. She has success selling there. Her jewelry also happens to catch the eye of many of NYC’s magazine editors, (check out this month’s Harper’s Bazaar, pg. 91) and gets her collection purchased for ALL Neiman Marcus stores. Did I mention that all of this has happened in less than 9 months from her first retail sale?! That is what Ashley Pittman shared with me when we chatted last week on the Designer Jewelry floor of Neiman Marcus Houston Galleria. She talked with strong conviction about this jewelry collection and what it meant to the people of East Africa. She also introduced me to her staff of hard-working young women……there are 4 of them in total that work tirelessly to make all of this happen. I found it all amazing. So, to all of you aspiring design talent out there, fairy tales like Ashley’s do come true if you are committed enough, work hard enough and have enough passion in what you’re doing!!!
To see more of Ashley Pittman’s collection, found exclusively at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, to learn of her foundation’s work and see first hand what she is accomplishing for African women, visit her site at www.ashleypittman.com
Also, note: Ashley donates 10% of all profits to help fund a rural health center and primary school in an area of Kenya particularly hard-hit by prolonged drought.

0 thoughts on “Ashley Pittman's African Creations, Style That's Making a Difference

  1. How funny.I was looking online to see if anyone had worked with any of my organic materials and I found this blog entry! I am a designer who has been working with horn as well as other organic materials for over six years. I do not have the infrastructure to sell beyond my website privately,and so my line is not available in any stores..I am a former architect native of Peru living in CA. I am currently working on the Business Plan for my business. Hopefully this will bring finally some financing so I can launch my line.

    Having been born and raised in South America, having studied traditional arts from this region and having been a witness of the rich heritage that this continent has to offer in terms of art, history and natural resources, I spent several years polishing off an idea of a product business that would go beyond the basics. As an architect I was taught to solve a problem in a specific area, yes the solution had to also be attractive to the eye, but that alone was not sufficient. This business is the same for me.

    The product is a fine jewelry line that is made out of natural organic materials not traditional in the jewelry industry, that are finely weaved, carved and finished utilizing ancient arts from diverse regions in South and Central America. These arts have been selected due to beauty and rich cultural heritage, traditional to a specific country. Set in 950 silver or 18 krt gold, a museum piece you can take home. I will be working with an Italian manufacturer for the metal components for the highest quality and durability in craftsmanship not available in America. Yet the main components are 100% handmade by native indians from poor communities.

    Check out my website to learn more about my seven ancient arts and unique natural materials I use.

    http://mariellacoffin.shutterfly.com/
    Hopefully I did not bore you with my sharing!

  2. willows website is not working? i wanted soem of those earrings
    i found the green ones online at hauteheadquarters.com and the others on shopbop
    i wish the site worked
    i guess i will have to drive over there

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