DENB Story

We are stories. We strongly believe in the power of personal storytelling.  Read our perspective of our work and share our stories far & wide...the world is waiting to hear.

 

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Lodi - Project Coordinator (Arabic speaking)

All my life I have studied. The first thing I studied was engineering and then law and now language - Turkish and English. Being around English speakers I am able to practice my language, discuss ideas, and learn more words. Working with this project feels like living as a family, as part of the community center. It feels like we are all working for two families, one inside and one outside of our homes. We are able to meet people from other communities and we can learn from each other. In coordinating the group, first, I have to feel love for every woman and understand her, and have to have an open mind to learn and work with many people.

My dream for the future of this project is to be more organised, more like an official company. I dream that every woman in the team has some basic level of Turkish and English and that they all know more about each stage of the work... and I hope we have more customers!

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Rose - The packaging’s calligraphy Artist & Maker

The most positive thing about the project is that I can explore making something; before I never imagined I can make something creative with my hands. We have to communicate a lot with each other to do the work, to make sure we know exactly what the order is and how we can make the earring well. When working together, communication and teamwork are key. We must love each other in this, to be producing good quality work. 

We hope that when we are more organised we can work better and this will mean we can get more income. This is my hope; to be a successful brand.

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Doreen - Frame-making Expert & Quality Control

Reflecting on our development, the earrings we made on the first day were so different to the ones we make now. The styles have evolved and changed so much. We are more organised now. Before, we would make the earrings upon receiving each order and the customers would have to wait too long. Now we can send the orders on the same day that we get them. The work felt really hard at first, but now I can make the earrings really quickly and the designs are all within my ability, giving me space for creativity and to master the skill. 

I wish for the customers to know that the earrings are not easy to make. We need to use much energy and time and focus to finish each pair. It’s all by hand, our eyes, our concentration, and our love. 

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Paulo - Co-Founder

DENB was a delightful project to set up as it brought me back to my youth when I used to make the earrings to sell in the hippie markets of Europe and Australia. In March 2016 I arrived in Istanbul with the project idea in my head and with confidence that it would be a success due to my own past experiences. I remember the beginning days. I put myself to work right way, sourcing the materials and making the first sample frames at home. While searching for a shop to have the brass frames plated, I was introduced to Small Projects Istanbul where we held our very first workshop with just 6 curious women. Moving forward it was a succession of wonderful events that bought the right people together at right time in the right place.

I'm very proud to be part of this wonderful project and I’m especially appreciative of the trust and dedication the initial group of makers gave to this project.

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Alp - Co-Founder 

The project appears to be about weaving a thread through the gaps of a spiral but for me it is almost everything but that. Most of the artisans participating in the project never held a job before. Additionally they are under a lot of stress from the hardships of starting over in a foreign country and sometimes from the absence of a husband. Through their work in DENB they grow confidence in their abilities, experience the sense of accomplishment from their labor, become members of a community again, exercise their creative and artistic expression, and enjoy the financial freedom to buy occasional gifts for their children with their hard-earned money. Over the time that I worked with the team I have observed the women become more driven and enthusiastic. My greatest reward has been to witness a young mother with an irregular attendance due to her depression transform herself to become one of our most exemplary members and take the initiative to hold a leadership role in the team. This is truly the direct impact these earrings have on the makers and their families.

The makers have become proud professionals and I am so thankful to be a part of this journey with them.

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Catie - Project Coordinator (English speaking)  

'Growing' is the word that best describes the experience of coordinating this project.  We are growing together in a way that fits the group and the customers.  The stability that we are creating, through regularity of work and familiarity with each other is what enables us to grow in our mindset.  The hidden impact of this project is the opening of possibilities in our minds.  

Communicating, by talking, by sharing the same space and by making is how we build trust and friendship, the bond between all of us is based on exchanging a few common words and gentle hugs, so much is said in a safe smile.  Communicating directly with customers and supporters both via email and on social media is an important part of how we work, keeping the connection personal is what conveys our story fully.

There is an expression in Arabic, its similar meaning in English is, "thank you, from my heart, for what you are making with your hands" the reply is, "may it give you health".  This sums up what DENB is all about, loving through creating. 

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Katie - Co-Founder

Starting from a few wire frames on my living room floor, this project has grown immensely since its beginnings. Transporting and uplifting the movement every step of the way, the DENB women are the driving force that keep this initiative breathing, thriving, and growing. There is nothing more powerful in this world than strong females. The women behind DENB are courageous, resilient, and bold. They have demonstrated a power from within that touches and emboldens all who are fortunate enough to know them.  

I am inspired by the female force that empowers this movement and I feel its strength when I wear the earrings.  

These earrings are more than just beautiful accessories - they represent a small piece of a much larger cooperative, community, incredible journey, heartbreaking story, and courageous life.

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