In 2001, Sonja Swenson (left) designed and fashioned her first handmade necklace. This moment signaled the beginning of her passion for jewelry-making and skill sharing. From that moment, she learned that creating designs and seeing them come to life was a true passion that could be shared. Soon after, she opened a bead store where she began teaching classes. She didn’t want to just make pieces to sell - Sonja wanted to boldly empower others to create and share their art. She wanted to give those around her a means to fashion beautiful pieces, generate income, and develop strength through purposeful relationships.
Nearly ten years later, Sonja was in the process of restructuring her current bead and clothing store when she found herself with excess product. But rather than throw away the perfectly good beads, she sought out a way to repurpose. This deliberate search led her to Haiti. Sonja and her daughter Shelbi (right) ventured to the Caribbean country just two short years after it was devastated by an earthquake that ravaged the country and left millions jobless.
The pair packed their bags and journeyed to Haiti for what would be the first of their many trips to to lead seminars in the art of jewelry making through a local nonprofit. This was a pivotal trip. Immediately following, Seeds Jewelry was born.
Sonja and Shelbi cultivated a strong mother and daughter bond that impacts not only the way that they interact with each other, but also with the artisan craftsmen and women in Minnesota and Haiti. It’s a full circle journey filled with diverse artists who have a shared interest in creating beautiful products. Their retailers and customers care about the jewelry they wear and sell, appreciate that it’s sustainable and lifegiving, and treasure the stories of each and every person that touched it along the way.