When Jessica Hendricks graduated from New York University, she found herself in Cambodia, a Buddhist country located in the Southeast region of Asia. Upon traveling to Ankor Wat, an exquisite site filled with ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples, Jessica learned about the infamous 1970s genocide. She also came by Nicholas Kristof’s novel Half The Sky, which mainly explores the alarming worldwide issue of human trafficking—Cambodia being one the places where modern-day slavery still exists and targets young females. Inspired by Cambodia’s history and its current issues, Jessica created The Brave Collection—a line of jewelry handmade in Cambodia by local and talented artisans.
The Brave Collection, created using traditional techniques with brass, silver, and gold vermeil materials, aims not only to raise awareness and educate others about Cambodia’s troubling humanities issues, but also to empower the local craft makers themselves, who are mostly single mothers and survivors of human-trafficking, by providing stable, fair-paying jobs, and health insurance. Click through for our exclusive interview with the founder herself, and learn more about her inspiring experiences, the brand’s trajectory, and her advice for all the young entrepreneurs out there!
Photos by Wendy Ploger