Grace Our jewellery maker & pioneer of female snare bead making

Favourite design: Zambezi necklace

What gives me joy about my work is knowing that through what we do we preserve our childrens future - Grace Mwanza

Grace has worked for Mulberry Mongoose for over 8 years. She has 18 dependants and is a single mother to 2 children. Grace’s infectious smile belies a story of challenge and resilience. However her work ethic and positive drive enabled her to transform her fate and thus that of her families. 

Grace was not selected on her first Mulberry Mongoose assessment day; she walked home crestfallen where she lives with 12 family members none of whom have employment. Grace had made an impression on the Mulberry Mongoose team.  We couldn’t forget her determination which aligns with what we stand for. We decided to create a new role for her; until this point we had hired men, as casual labour, to convert snare traps into beads and then created the jewellery. The work seemed too hard for women.

But could hard working Grace make the beads? Rural Zambian women are immensely strong carrying water from wells often based many kilometres away with babies tied to their backs.

Grace was determined to take advantage of the opportunity. She got blisters and her hands were rubbed raw from trying. She kept going with only a few murmurs about how hard it was. Within two months, and after numerous pain thresholds crossed, Grace got it. She could suddenly create the coils with amazing technique that made it look easy. She then set about training the rest of our female team to do the same.

Grace is now one of our most experienced jewellery makers. 

Fun fact about Grace, she created our company motto ‘There is no sweet without sweat’ and she lives by it. She also likes to treat herself to one beer each week. A word of warning though, don’t challenge Grace to an arm wrestle!