This article was written by Melisa Monti
Fashion Talks is an online space where fashion designers, experts, and business owners share their experiences and journeys in the fashion industry and business.
This month we invited a special guest to share her vision on ethical production. A topic frequently discussed in the Fashion Industry, but how does this manifest in the practical side? Hatice Tekin, the co-owner and founder of Ana Dyla, a sustainable jewelry brand based in Turkey, joins us to discuss ethical production. Ana Dyla is a B-Corp certified brand, known for its elegant and ethical approach to jewelry manufacturing.
During the interview, Hatice shares how her background as a human rights activist and corporate lawyer led her to question the ethical implications of the fashion industry. The collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh in 2013 served as an eye-opener for her, prompting her to reevaluate her choices as a consumer and also a business owner.
Keep reading to learn more about the exclusive interview we did with Hatice.
Melisa from Fashion Talks: What is the story behind Ana Dyla? Where did the idea come from, and how did you turn it into an actual business?
Hatice Tekin: In a previous phase of my life, I was both a human rights activist and a corporate lawyer. Despite studying law and having an interest in fashion, it was more of a sideline for me. However, everything changed in 2013 when the Rana Plaza tragedy occurred in Bangladesh. This event served as an eye-opener because, on one hand, I was advocating for human rights, while on the other hand, I was buying lots of clothes, shoes and bags. The stark contrast made me question my actions and contemplate how I could contribute to a better world.
That’s when the idea of Ana Dyla emerged. I had always relied on Turkish craftsmanship for making my own jewelry due to its exceptional quality, and I constantly had new ideas. So, I started to pursue this path, focusing on understanding who was making my jewelry, the materials used, and how to make it more sustainable. I wanted everyone involved in the supply chain, from the craftsmen to the end consumer, to be happy. This led me on a long journey of discussions with workshops, addressing issues, and seeking ways to improve the circumstances. In the beginning, I worked with smaller workshops on a limited budget, finding ways to make it work for all parties involved.
M: It’s fascinating how you transitioned from being a lawyer and human rights activist to the jewelry industry. Your previous experiences and knowledge must have played a significant role.
H: Absolutely. I believe that the problem extends beyond a single layer. To truly make a difference, we must work with the entire supply chain and consider every aspect, from sourcing materials to the well-being of the workers involved.
M: How did the sourcing and creation process unfold? Was it a collaboration with the workshops, or did you provide them with your ideas?
H: Initially, I had zero knowledge about jewelry making, gemstones, or the intricacies of the process. So, it was more of a collaborative effort. I would share my ideas by sketching or compiling photos to convey the main concept. Then, I would discuss with the workshops how we could turn those ideas into reality. It was a creative partnership to bring the first collections to life.
M: I noticed that Ana Dyla uses recycled silver and gold for its jewelry. Can you tell us more about your sourcing practices?
H: Yes, we prioritize using recycled silver and gold in our jewelry production. This practice is prevalent in the jewelry industry as sourcing new silver and gold can have significant environmental impacts. Additionally, we work with local sources in Turkey for some of our gemstones, and we also purchase recycled gemstones.
M: Congratulations on obtaining your B-Corp certification. It’s quite an accomplishment. Could you share more about the process and its significance for Ana Dyla?
H: Thank you! Obtaining the B-Corp certification was a lengthy process that took around one-and-a-half years. We pursued this certification because both I and our sustainability-conscious consumers wanted tangible proof of our ethical claims. While we can share stories, videos, and pictures, having the B-Corp stamp added credibility. It is the only certification that thoroughly assesses the entire process. Being part of B-Corp is important to us, as it continually challenges us to earn more points every three years. This drives us to constantly think about how we can enhance our sustainability, ethics, and our positive impact on the world. It’s not just about obtaining the certification; it’s about continuous improvement and doing more good with our business.
M: That’s a great perspective. It’s about seeing it as a starting point rather than an endpoint.
H: Absolutely. It’s not something to check off a list; it’s a journey of growth and improvement.
M: Throughout your journey with Ana Dyla, were there any particular challenges or moments where you felt unsure? If so, how did you overcome them?
H: In the beginning, I had no regrets, but I wish I had focused more on sales from the start. I had a tendency to concentrate on the discovery phase and building relationships, which was enjoyable, but it took some time to gain momentum in sales. If I were to start over, I would have made a larger investment early on to have a broader product range and a more significant presence in the market. However, every challenge was a learning opportunity. Mistakes and obstacles taught me to be more resilient, adapt, and find alternative solutions.
M: That’s a valuable lesson for aspiring designers and business owners. Is there any advice you would like to share with them?
H: I would encourage them not to think too small. Sometimes we limit ourselves, thinking we can only achieve so much. However, dreaming big and taking risks can lead to extraordinary outcomes. Additionally, I would advise making a larger investment early on and focusing on sales right from the start. Finally, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Embrace them as opportunities for growth and learning.
M: Thank you, Hatice, for sharing your inspiring story and insights into ethical jewelry production. For those interested in learning more or connecting with Ana Dyla, how can they get in touch?
H: Thank you for having me! If anyone is interested in ethical jewelry manufacturing or mentorship in the industry, they can reach out to our team through Manufy.com. We’re always happy to connect and share our experiences.
If you are looking for an ethical jewelry manufacturer for your own design or white label, or a mentor in the jewelry industry, you can reach out to Ana Dyla’s team on Manufy.com.
Ana Dyla is an ethical and sustainable jewelry brand and manufacturer with HQ in The Netherlands. All pieces are made with high quality materials and partially with recycled gold and silver. Ana Dyla is B-Corp certified and produced in their small ateliers in the heart of Anatolië, Turkey, where they can personally follow the whole process. From A to Z, from collecting the gems, making the designs till crafting the jewellery it’s all Ana Dyla & team. Ana Dyla is part of our community of manufacturers that are producing on Manufy!