Contributor: Harmony Pilobello
We're launching a new series on our blog called The Founder Club, where I will be interviewing fellow founders and sharing it with the Alterre community. The hope is to celebrate each others achievements and amplify small businesses doing great things. Our first feature is on the lovely Simone Horng. I had the joy of meeting her while doing a panel discussion at The Earth Day Summit in Los Angeles this year. Horng's story really struck me as a symbol of what communities can do for each other, and I wanted to share it with the world. She is vibrant, kind, and authentic. I hope you enjoy this month's founder highlight.
Q: What inspired you to start Seeds4Love?
It all started in the crazy year of 2020, in the middle of the pandemic. The virus has spread very fast across my home country, Brazil. At its peak, in July 2020, they were second in the number of deaths in the world, just behind the US. The death was taking an exceptionally high toll on the Amazon region: the six Brazilian cities with the highest exposure rates to the virus were all on the Amazon River.
While here in the US, we had more resources, the Brazilian government was not prepared and could not help their population. I learned that many indigenous communities were deeply affected. Many tribes lost their last members through the virus. They all live in small villages away from the mainstream so the people had very fragile immune systems, and were without any proper medical care or infrastructure. They were trapped in the forests, with the fear of getting the disease and spreading it, but at the same time, not being able to go out and work to buy food. It was a tough choice of dying of the virus or famine.
That is when I contacted some of the tribe members and started buying their art crafts so I can support them. Since I was a teenager, I used jewelry made by indigenous people. I always loved their acai long necklaces and colorful bracelets and earrings. As I was looking at all these beautiful pieces, made with natural seeds, I thought “Why are these beautiful pieces not here yet?” So with those seeds and the love for the people, I started Seeds4Love!
Q: How does your brand focus on sustainability?
All our products are made with natural and sustainable materials: recyclable and repurposed seeds, and renewable fibers. Our handmade necklaces, bracelets and earrings use either natural matured fruit seeds or woven gold grass. Every seed is unique. Each seed has a slightly different shape, size, and color. The woven golden grass jewelry can be made in endless patterns. We knot all these eco-friendly materials together in unique pieces of fashion.
Q: Do you have a favorite piece you sell? Why?
Our Infinity Eva Necklace is not only the very first piece that I found to start our Collection, but also a unique necklace made by the Sateré-Mawé Tribe.These small tiny seeds called Morototo are collected once a year and they need to be harvested by hand from the ground. Then, the seeds are perforated one by one with a very fine needle and transformed into delicate bracelets, necklaces and earrings.
Q: What's one random fact about you that may surprise people? (mine for example is that I've moved over twenty times in my lifetime)
I was born in Taiwan, so I am ethnically Chinese, but I grew up in Brazil. Portuguese is not only my mother tongue, but all my culture and my friends are mostly from Brazil. I look Asian, but I am also Brazilian.
Another fun fact is that I have two children. One is a 6 years old boy who speaks Portuguese, Chinese and English. The other is a 30 years old “girl” who is now studying for the Bar Exam. A little age gap in between lol
Q: What's one thing people could do to support your business right now?
Create awareness around us, talk about our handmade jewelry, and promote our ethical and sustainable collection. I am looking forward to introducing our unique natural pieces to the US Fashion Industry and end consumers, to people who have never heard about jewelry made with natural grass or fruits seeds! And buying Seeds4Love natural jewelry of course is the best way to help us to continually support all the families that we employ in Brazil. It sustains indigenous communities financially so they can keep their way of living and it also promotes the art of these beautiful sustainable and ethically made jewelry.
To follow and support Simone: