They are young, artistic and surrounded by an immense mix of colours. The talented glass artisans from Malawi create the most intricate and playful glass beads.
Each of the beads’ inspiration can be found in the everyday lives of their designers; from a pattern of a woman’s vibrant dress on the street, a combination of exotic fruits in the marketplace, or a peculiar flower in the grasslands. Once trained by Lise Aagaard, owner and founder of Trollbeads, these skilled artisans are now running a flourishing business by designing glass beads for women across the world.
Within the Trollbeads collection, the Uniques and Universal Uniques story is a heart-warming one that involves a joint venture between Lise Aagaard and artisans around the world.
The Trollbeads workshop concept originated out of Lise Aagaard’s vision of infusing commerce, hope and new life into communities that would not otherwise have had the opportunity.
“I AM NOW IN A POSITION TO HELP OTHERS. I BELIEVE THE BEST WAY TO DO SO, IS TO HELP THEM CREATE AN EXISTENCE FOR THEMSELVES – PROVIDING HELP FOR SELF-HELP IS CLOSE TOMY HEART”
- Lise Aagaard, owner and founder of Trollbeads
Lise Aagaard and the Malawi beadmakers
In 2010, the Malawi Trollbeads Workshop was established with an unemployed group of challenged young people. Some had health issues and some had lost most of their family to AIDS.
Using the same overall formula as with a similar project in India, Trollbeads gave a group of young men and women the opportunity to learn the artistry of making glass beads over an openflame.
Besides providing financial backing for the project, Trollbeads also trained the staff in all aspects of running a successful jewellery business, including supplychain management, production, design and marketing.
Today, their local operation employs around 12 people and is on the way to becoming completely self-sustainable.
“I AM SO EXCITED AND THRILLED THAT YOU CAN FEEL THE DIFFERENT CULTURES IN EVERY SINGLE BEAD. MY WISH IS THAT THE CHARITY PROJECTS WE CHOOSE ARE AS VARIED AS POSSIBLE, FOR EVERYTHING WE DO IS ABOUT THE PEOPLE”
- Lise Aagaard
Trollbeads Universal Uniques are designed with a larger opening to fit other major brands.
Find the Malawi Universal Uniques at your nearest retailer