- Kate Wilson

Introducing our newest team member - Vi

It is with great excitement that the team and I welcome Vi Skabickaite to Mulberry Mongoose. It is hard to describe the pride and anticipation that we feel to have hired such a perfect fit for our dynamic company. We all did a little dance of happiness when she agreed to take the huge leap (during a worldwide pandemic no less) to leave the bustle of London and join Mulberry Mongoose in the Zambian bush.

So who is Vi? I believe her work permit might be one of the fastest approved in the history of Zambian immigration.. 5 days no less! This can only be because it was so glaringly obvious that her experience will add immense value to our courageous team of local Zambians. Vi has a degree in Jewellery design and silversmithing from the prestigious Glasgow School of Art. Her final collection was handcrafted from silver and steel; as snare wire is generally a stainless-steel zinc alloy, her specialty could not be more useful! Vi shares our belief in creating jewellery that is ethical but also fashion forward and her work in Paris for Masion Margela alongside John Galliano and Evelie Moula was featured in Vogue. We also welcome Vi’s vast experience in production management that she gained as Production Coordinator at 77 Diamonds in London.

I have now worked with Vi for many months as she insisted on helping us whilst still working full time in London. Nothing was too much trouble, and her weekends were filled with designing and planning for Mulberry Mongoose. Any worries I had about how she would fair in the harsher environment of the Zambian bush were dispelled. Not only did Vi grow up on a farm in Lithuania where her earliest memories are farming; one day she insisted on continuing with a meeting despite the police being in her kitchen after her house had been robbed the night before. Knowing that the bush is full of surprises with baboons stealing your breakfast and elephant turning up in your workshop, I felt very reassured by her resilience.

Even the process of hiring Vi has raised our company up. I hold my hands up to the fact it is not easy running a company from another country! I thank goodness that I have worked closely with my team for over 6 years. I believe we have knocked it out of the park keeping our business going through this global pandemic thanks to our dedication, work ethic, team spirit, adaptability, and passion.

It is that passion that led me to Vi. It is not easy committing to investing in an international hire of Vi’s caliber when you are staring down the barrel of a financially uncertain year. I had huge anxiety about encouraging such a wonderful person to give up everything they had worked so hard for in the UK to join us.  I have always believed in Mulberry Mongoose. We are much more than a jewellery company that gives back to conservation. We are a vision that ignites people’s passion and brings likeminded people together positively. I have always felt that but in passionately persuading Vi to join our team I had to back my convictions 100%.

Any entrepreneur will tell you that serendipity is a real thing. Sure enough, after bravely leaping forward to hire Vi, and Vi bravely saying yes, the universe endorsed it and reassured us it was the right move. On the phone call I had with Vi to confirm the hire an order arrived at the exact moment. On the week of Vi’s arrival in Zambia we received our biggest order in 2021. 900 bracelets for WWFUS.

The road of a business like ours is challenging, full of surprises and constantly testing us to be courageous and believe in our convictions. Hiring Vi was exactly that…. And I feel immensely excited at what we will achieve together and what this means to the growth of Mulberry Mongoose.

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