Mzuribeads Daily Record

Ethical, recyled fashion accessories
Ethical, recyled fashion accessories

What it says:

Kirstie MacLean, 24, Glasgow Mzuribeads

A PERSONAL favourite of Heather’s Kirstie MacLean’s bead business is flourishing.

While on a 2006 trip to Uganda, Kirstie and her brother, Angus, stumbled across village women making beads using paper and magazines, Kirstie, who was volunteering at a school at the time, admitted: “I thought these beads were amazing.” Before long, Kirstie had joined them and spent three months working alongside the bead-makers. The beads are made using triangular strips from magazines which are rolled tightly around a needle, before being varnished. When she came back to Scotland, Kirstie brought several different types of paper beads and sold them. Identifying this as a profitable handmade jewellery business, Kirstie, who works from home, imports the beads and every few months travels back to Uganda. Now her Mzuribeads fly off the shelves at craft fairs and she has 10 stockists in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and has never looked back. Kirstie, 24, said: “At the Scottish Bead Fair in August, we sold everything we had. We also planning to go to the Big Bead Show. “This is just the beginning” …”I am trying to get this jewellery business away from being this mediocre African craft thing and establish ourself as a professional handmade jewellery business. “We are not a charity, we are looking for professional individuals looking to work with other professional individuals. “Just because these women are in a Ugandan village doesn’t mean to say their skills and their product are anything less than the standard of what is being sold in the shops that we sell to.” And it’s not just jewellery that Mzuribeads sells but purses, bags, belts and beaded door curtains, too. Kirstie took the plunge and, after completing one term of a community education degree course, dropped out to pursue her dream. ‘We are not a charity, we are looking for professional people to work with other professionals


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