Business is more than just profit

S-kin studio jewelry

4. Quality Education 5. Gender Equality 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Overview

S-kin Studio has been designing and manufacturing using a new sustainable development concept, designed to allow women to buy jewelry that can be used for a long time at an affordable price, with the hope that in creating new pieces, they will not increase the burden on the earth and achieve sustainable development.

Author

jinyu ren

jinyu ren

School

Monash University

Monash University

Professor

Gitanjali Bedi

Gitanjali Bedi

Innovation

From my interview with the founder Chi, I learned that all the products they make are gold-filled. Gold fill not only doesn't damage your skin but also can be worn all the time without frequent replacement, reducing unnecessary waste.

Chi also shared with me that S-kin Studio's jewelry production factory is in Mumbai, India where they place an emphasis on equality in the workplace, encouraging and providing work for women. S-kin Studio's factory is comprised of 100% female office staff and 80% of their artisan makers are also women (“S-kin Studio”, 2020). They pay the workers fair wages and provide them with additional employee benefits, such as paid leave, and provide free job-skills training. Furthermore, S-kin Studio has developed programs to employ older women (60 years old and up), allowing them to do handmade work from the comfort of their homes. Often these women are unemployed and lack support due to their age (“S-kin Studio”, 2020).

In addition, product packaging has always been a major contributor to environmental pollution and waste. In an effort to minimize their environmental impact, S-kin Studio has concentrated on using product packaging made of recyclable and biodegradable materials. They aim to reduce as much plastic in their packaging as possible. In the future, Chi hopes that the jewelry they make can be completely recycled upon disposal.

Business is more than just profit

Inspiration

In regards to the inspiration behind the company, the creation of S-kin Studio can be said to have happened by accident. Chi tells of the time a friend gave her jewelry as a gift and upon wearing it, her fingers turned green. She was shocked and decided to do some research online into the subject, discovering that a lot of jewelry is made of sub-standard materials that do not hold up to the demands of everyday use. She found that sterling silver, as well as gold fill, were reasonably-priced, good quality substitutes. And so, the brand S-kin Studio Jewelry was born, with their materials and commitment to sustainability becoming the very soul of their brand. She believes that "ethical manufacturing is an important part of S-kin Studio Jewelry's DNA" and feels that “whatever you create needs to add to the world not subtract from it” (Chi. M, interview, January 29, 2020). Furthermore, with ethical fashion becoming a hot topic in recent years, Chi has placed an even greater priority on it, catering to her customer's interests.

Overall impact

S-kin Studio's innovation has not only benefited their business but society and the environment as a whole.

Their innovations when it comes to materials will continue to attract new customers and help them establish a good reputation, and they've already made some notable achievements, with S-kin Studio’s material innovations having already been mentioned by several fashion bloggers.

In addition, “sustainability development impacts everything."(Chi. M, interview, January 29, 2020). Focusing on sustainable practices has had an impact not only on S-kin Studio but on the entire jewelry business and society as a whole. In the long run, this focus on ethical fashion and sustainable practices will hopefully bring about a greater change in the way other businesses and industries source and produce their products.

Business benefit

Ability to attract customers:

Their material innovations will attract new customers, and the good quality of their jewelry pieces will keep these customers coming back. Because of the comfort, beauty, and ethicality of S-kin Studio's jewelry, customers will be satisfied with their purchases and recommend their jewelry to friends, spreading the word about S-kin Studio, which will result in increased profits and business for the company.

Increased their competitive edge:

Using gold-fill for their jewelry, which is both high quality and cheaper than solid gold, has increased the brand’s competitive edge. In addition, S-kin Studio was ahead of the game when it came to considering the longevity of their jewelry and has taken the lead in adopting relatively more sustainable materials to reduce future risks, thus increasing their competitive edge in the jewelry industry.

Social and environmental benefit

Ethicality: (apply SDGs 5, 8, 10)

When it comes to social benefit, S-kin Studio pays manufacturing workers fair wages and maintains safe working conditions, in order to guarantee workers' interests and emphasize equality (SDGs: 5 - Gender Equality; 8 - Decent Work; 10 - Reduce Inequalities). The company is committed to producing and sourcing as ethically as they can.

In regards to the environmental benefit, S-kin Studio's factory in Mumbai uses recycled materials wherever possible. They reuse scrap materials for casting for at least 3-4 production cycles before being recycled and they are committed to not using lead, nickel, or any harmful materials in any process of making their jewelry (“S-kin Studio”, 2020).

“Educate“: (apply SDG 4)

S-kin Studio aims to help women find brands worth buying from by educating them on the ethicality and sustainability of their practices (SDG 4 - Quality Education). If you explore their website, you will find that S-kin Studio guides and advises consumers to use recyclable packaging, buy sustainable jewelry, reduce unnecessary waste, and pay more attention to women's equality as well as to the interests and wellbeing of workers.

Interview

Chi Mai, Founder and CEO

Photo of interviewee

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S-kin studio jewelry

S-kin studio jewelry

Melbourne, Victoria, AU

Business Website: https://s-kin.com.au/

Year Founded: 2018

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

S-kin Studio is a fine jewelry brand focused on creating high-quality pieces that do not harm your skin. The founder of S-Kin Studio, Chi Mai, created her company upon realizing that much of the gold jewelry on the market were either very expensive and out of the price range of the "everyday woman" or was of poor quality and thrown out after only a few wearings, leading to unnecessary waste. Because of this, she decided to research and utilize materials that would not only last but not have the same price tag as solid gold. She hopes S-kin Studio's jewelry will not only enhance a woman's beauty and health but also achieve sustainable development. (Chi. M, interview, January 29, 2020).