By Aisha Hassan on April 29th, 2021
This gift guide isn’t your typical Mother’s Day curation. Here at Dia, we’re honored to work with a number of brands that are founded and run by working mothers. There is an extra layer of meaning behind these handmade gifts because they represent the hard work mothers have put in to pursue their passions and command small businesses. Discover their stories below, and shop our full Mother’s Day Gift Edit here.
Angie is a mother of two who founded ALT, an ethical luxury jewelry brand that transforms spent bullet and shell casings from the Vietnam War into accessories that symbolize peace. Fairly compensating artisans, upcycling, and bold designs are paramount for Angie. “When you buy an ALT piece you feel you are doing something good rather than just mindless consumption, and that in itself is strength,” she says.
Tengku Marina is a mother of three and has long been dedicated to supporting local Malaysian artisans. Her brand, Pink Jambu, was founded in 1992 and specializes in one-of-a-kind fabrics. (We’re lucky to have a selection!). Pink Jambu’s exquisite evening clutches in handwoven tenun or handwoven batik are showstoppers. “We use craft as our medium of expression...Nothing tells a story better than the hands who created them,” Tengku Marina says.
Salvita is an actress, artist, and mother of one, in addition to being the founder of Ruang. Salvita’s jewelry brand celebrates silversmithing in Indonesia, and every piece is handcrafted in Bali. Designs evolve into one another and are inspired by everything from poetry to art. “Craftsmanship is also what we get to pass on to our children...If we don’t preserve it now then there’s nothing to pass on later and no way to share these stories... and it’s the wealth and identity of a society,” Salvita says.
Francisca spent her early childhood in a village in Java, and it was there that she learned how vital community and family could be. She was actually inspired to start her brand, Frankitas, after having her third child. “As soon as they came out of my belly, everything changed,” she says. Today, Franki works with different weaving communities all across Asia to create bright accessories and joyful homeware. “It's really about the community that we want to serve, because the community served me and my family,” she says.
Not only is Shirley’s brand named after her daughter, but it was also started in honor of her. “After trying to have a child for 10 years it finally happened, so I decided to stay at home so I could focus on that...Sophia knows the bags support our livelihood,” she says. Every SOPHIA by Shirley bag is one of a kind and crafted by Shirley herself, who handpicks exquisite vintage kimono and obi silks from Japan. What’s more, any accessories on the bags — like jadeite tangles or silk tassels — are also sources from other working mothers in Malaysia.
Agnes is the stepmother of a soon-to-be 21 year old living in Paris, with whom she is very close. Back in 2008, Agnes joined Cambodian designer Ly Pisith to kickstart Garden of Desire, a brand that employs the highest level of silversmithing to create unusual and striking jewelry. Agnes oversees the operations and marketing side of the brand, while her co-founder, Pisith, conceptualizes the designs and is an artisan himself.
Suria, a mother of two, actually began Suria Artisan Batik because of her own mother. Suria discovered a box of her late mother’s things in 2015 and unearthed all sorts of batik tools and fabrics inside. Fast forward to today, and Suria works with batik artisans all around Malaysia to create rainforest-inspired resort wear. And if she ever needs guidance, Suria still turns to her own mother. “I sometimes look up at the sky and ask her questions, about whether I should do something like this or like that,” Suria says. “It makes me feel connected to her.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aisha Hassan is a writer, journalist, and co-founder of Dia. Previously, Aisha worked for Quartz in New York and Harper’s Bazaar in Malaysia. Her fiction has been published in international literary magazines. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Language & Literature from the University of Oxford, and a master’s degree from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism.