There is one person who is most influential in my life: koonyai. Koonyai means grandmother in Thai. This uneducated single-mother raised her entire family on her own, took care of her alcoholic husband, while running a business to support her family. I was fortunate to be her grandchild and to witness a real life sample of what American Dream was all about. My koonyai's life was a struggle, yet, she managed to make sure everyone else have enough. Because of her and all those before me, I was able to do what I love: Koonyai Studio.
During the day, I am an Adjunct Professor and a Lead Designer at a fearless non-profit organization in Minneapolis, MN. At night, my studio lights are on and I can be found making things. Aside from teaching and making jewelry, I spend at least one day of every week with experimentation on designs and technique to ensure the best products for you.
Sustainability and Social Impact:
All of Koonyai's products, jewelry parts, and packaging are made in the U.S.A to bring the jobs back to local community. When the work gets out of hand, women who experience homelessness and domestic abuse from local shelters are hired to assist with the needs. They gain back their confidence and self-worth while learning jewelry making skills. It's a win-win situation!
Koonyai's cotton bags are made with 100% unbleached cotton to ensure that the least amount of chemicals is involved in the making. Cardboard boxes and newsprint stuffing are made of recycled fibers and post-consumer material. I also keep jewelry tags tiny because I know you toss them away anyway.