“I kept seeing beautiful jewellery that was out of my budget,” says Jessie Andrews, founder of Bagatiba. Work-life balance isn’t Andrews’s thing—instead, her work has become her life and vice versa. At 28, she’s a successful business owner (the founder and CEO of three sustainable brands), an influencer and regular FROW attendee.
A determination to create affordable, beautiful and—most importantly—sustainable jewellery that captured a demographic “between Zara and Tiffany” formed the blueprint for Bagatiba. “I want women to feel confident about what they are buying,” she says. “I want the jewellery they wear to complement them and act as a representation of hard work and sustainable style.”
Today, Bagatiba boasts 200,000 Instagram followers and has garnered a range of celebrity fans won over by the elegant simplicity of Andrews’s designs. Among her devotees: Kaia Gerber, Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner, Adriana Lima, Kim Kardashian, Bella Hadid, Gigi Hadid, Irina Shayk and Angelina Jolie.
Considering she hasn’t yet hit 30, Andrews’s achievements are impressive. A decade ago, she left high school to pursue a modelling career, and by 2012, she found herself at the helm of Bagatiba. In the coming years, she established two further brands, Basic Swim and Jeu Illimite, plus her own LA-based creative studios 1201 B Studios.
Bagatiba boasts 200,000 Instagram followers and has garnered a range of celebrity fans won over by the elegant simplicity of Andrews’s designs.
Proud to say that she entered the industry with limited experience, Andrews has done everything off her own back. “I’d never designed fashion before Bagatiba. Collections were vague in the beginning, I was doing everything guerrilla style,” she says, adding: “It gave me this mentality of ‘no one is going to do it for me and I don’t have the money to pay someone so I’m going to do it myself.’ With that mindset I could solve any problem.”
For Andrews, transparency is key. An independent factory handles production, keeping emissions to a minimum. Stainless steel, recycled gold and silver are fashioned to create her signature chain link Tab necklaces and earrings, and she also sources deadstock jewellery from Downtown LA to manufacture into something new. What’s more, all packaging—limestone shipping bags, biodegradable paper stock cards and packing labels, reusable and recyclable jewellery zip bags, BlueSign-approved branded boxes—abide by her eco credentials.
Lockdown proved to be a time of reflection for Jessie, who established the Triple R Project to continue to keep sustainability at the heart of Bagatiba. The initiative aims to create a “closed loop cycle” that encourages consumers to donate unwanted metal jewellery (from any brand) to be given a new lease on life. In return, customers receive a 25 per cent discount for their next purchase.
“We want to support the circulation of these metals so they never end up in a landfill or turned into waste where they can be harmful to the environment. After we’ve collected unwanted jewellery, our next order of operations is to recycle and reuse each piece appropriately,” she states. “We know that no one company is perfect, but the Triple R Project is our promise to ‘Return, Recycle and Reuse’ while spreading awareness and reducing our carbon footprint as an entire industry.” She concludes: “We don’t think sustainability should be a secret, it should be a standard.”
This article originally appeared on British Vogue.