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Melissa Joy Manning

Mellissa Joy Manning

Ethical Jewellery Talk

We get inside the designers head to find out how having a son has reinforced her passion for ethics, her advice for the next generation, and the importance of standing up for your values in business.

Leading up to Mother’s Day here in the U.K. we are thinking about how maternal instincts lend

themselves to sustainability. You had a son recently – do you think bringing him into the world has

changed how you view it?

 

Absolutely. I’ve always been concerned with minimizing both my professional and personal impact

on the world. But, now that I have a mini human that requires a safe environment in which to grow

and thrive, the need to leave the world better than I found it is even more imperative. There’s

something about envisioning your child fighting for water or living in unbearable heat that makes

sustainability a real, tangible problem.

"Now that I have a mini human... the need to leave the world better than I found it is even more imperative."

Do you think women, as the sex responsible for bringing new life into the world, have a different

approach to sustainability?

 

This is an interesting question. I’m not really sure how to answer it. We just celebrated International Women’s Day and we (as I’m sure you all know) have elected a misogynistic president, so feminism is top of mind for me these days.

 

But I’m not sure that women are any more sustainable than men. In my experience, there have been just as many men fighting on the forefront of this issue as women. Sustainability is definitely a human problem and one that we all need to address and take responsibility for equally.

 

 

"Sustainability is definitely a human problem and one that we all need to address and take responsibility for equally."

What are the values most important to you to install in your son?

 

Bravery, generosity, and empathy. Our current structures of social inequity fuel all the problems of

the world. If we were brave enough to share our blessings we would eradicate hunger, disease, and

war. There is more than enough for everyone.

 

What would your biggest piece of advice be to the next generation?

 

With freedom comes responsibility. There is no better example of this than currency. Most of us live

in a supply and demand economy. Consumers hold the power- if you want to make change, do it.

Demand changes by being responsible about what you buy and what companies you support.

 

Do you feel positive or negative about the future of our planet?

 

Depends on the day. Ultimately, though, I have to believe that we will get it together. I see so much

hope in the younger generations. Kids are smarter and wiser than they used it be. Let’s just pray we

don’t destroy the world before they can get their hands on it.

"Most of us live in a supply and demand economy. Consumers hold the power- if you want to make change, do it."

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Has the recent political climate affected your approach to doing business?

 

Without a doubt. I don’t live a day without thinking about effecting change in my community through running my business. I’ve always been a mindful and philanthropic entrepreneur, but now my partnerships feel even more important.

 

Before I would worry that customers wouldn’t agree with my views and that we’d lose them. But now I’m more concerned with what history will say about us than with people who stop buying my jewelry because I support Planned Parenthood or any other controversial organization.

 

 

"I don’t live a day without thinking about effecting change in my community through running my business."

What do you perceive as being the biggest issue facing the fashion industry as it stands?

 

Uneducated consumers.

 

Finally, what does living sustainably mean to you?

 

Leaving the world a better place than I found it.