What is AIDA?
AIDA Impact is a jewellery brand that seeks to create sustainable and measurable social impact.
Our mission is twofold. For our customers, we offer beauty and joy through our high-quality, fine craftmanship jewellery that is made of natural materials in Helsinki. For our employees – who are immigrant and refugee women – we provide a gateway to working life, and a network in a new country.
AIDA is founded, run, and owned by women.
We are open to company and organisation collaborations. So far, we have worked with Marimekko, Sitra, Startup Refugees, Flow Festival, Nordea, Suomen Pakolaisapu, Ruskeat Tytöt and Hotel St. George.
AIDA impact was founded in Helsinki, Finland, in spring 2018. The brand was designed for optimists, change makers, and dreamers. For people who value social justice, and share our respect for diversity and appreciation of beauty.
In four years, AIDA has grown into a company that has provided work for 30 women, most of which are immigrant and refugee women from various backgrounds. We have found many skilled employees with the help of Startup Refugees.
One of the original questions that kicked off AIDA was: could a pair of earrings change the world – even just a little bit? Elina Siira, the founder and CEO of AIDA Impact describes the birth-process of the company as follows:
“I have been making jewellery all my life. I made my first pieces at the age of three or four. But then life happened and suddenly there was no more time for creativity — until my maternity leave in 2017. Motherhood also made me reflect upon my privileges; I was spending time at home with my baby in a safe country, with all the possible support around. I felt like I had won the birth lottery, unlike many others. I wanted to do something and spread the good.
At the same time, most European countries were receiving many new immigrants, and the public discussion on the topic was quite heated. I was reflecting a lot on the fact that my own mother is an immigrant, and when I was a baby, she was in a new country, trying to learn the language and to eventually find her own place in the working life. Finding one’s place and a network in a foreign country is not easy for anyone, but it is particularly difficult for immigrant and refugee mothers. Motherhood as it is, can be hard and oftentimes lonely work.
I wanted to do something, no matter how small, that would somehow address this problem. I wanted to combine my love for making jewellery, my motherhood, my business background and my hope to make positive social impact. AIDA was born.”
No one needs Jewellery. Nevertheless, people have been wearing jewellery consistently across space and time, religions, cultures and gender. The earliest known jewellery was actually created by Neanderthal, circa 40 000 – 50 00 years ago. The use of gems was also conspicuous in many ancient cultures. Perhaps this has to do with our need for self-expression, perhaps with our self-adornment.
Jewellery can bring up memories and have sentimental value, as it is often passed on from parents to children. Sometimes it is simply our longing for aesthetics that makes us wear jewellery. Do you have those days when you look into the mirror and, for some reason, feel gloomy or plain and decide to wear gorgeous statement earrings? A piece of jewellery can also represent a new start, hope, independency, or to reflect your values. Some jewellery can even change lives.
At AIDA Impact, we would like to believe that jewellery can have a positive impact on the society and that it can, indeed, change lives. It certainly has transformed ours.
AIDA team in the Summer of 2018
Some AIDA team members; Fatima, Dhuha, Sarwa and the kids in Kallio, Helsinki, in April 2019.
Some AIDA team members and friends of AIDA at a photoshoot in Summer 2020
Elina, the founder of AIDA and her baby in the early spring of 2018.