Founders: Rachael Steadman and Kate Boston
Australian sister duo: We wanted to create a business that was fun, fulfilling and would contribute to our families. We were also looking for a business model that was meaningful, something that would engage and yank us out of our bubbles (both with young children!)…Making the most of our situations (one living remotely in WA the other remotely in Kenya) we believe we came up with the perfect fit for us.
We get to source hand made products AND work directly with the beautiful people that create it (fun!). We are building websites, implementing marketing campaigns and getting on the social media bandwagon – all things new to us (engaging!). Through the trade ‘Tinkered by’ generates, we are able to work alongside our artisans, supporting the growth of sustainable businesses for them and their families (fulfilling / meaningful!). And now, we are also working alongside other inspired Australian women, our ‘Tinkered by’ Ambassadors, who have joined the fun, launched their own business and are earning an income styling their friends (more fun!). Our Ambassadors create markets within their communities which empowers the Artisans within theirs…Seriously…Dream job…What is not to love about this business!
Tinkered by is all about the ‘truly’ hand made. We are a business that builds businesses – we aspire to be a positive influence in the lives of all that touch us. With sustainably sourced fashion and homewares as our driving force, we are setting out to create a global family that supports, inspires and enriches each other through trade. We seek out unique products that are fashioned by ‘real people’ using raw or recycled materials. All made by hand, with love and soaked in story.
Our Mantra: Let’s chase dreams and build brighter futures. We love people, products and providence.
We create new markets and encourage and support the growth of our Artisans businesses. Each one is a superstar and we are on the ground to help them realise their dreams and create lasting change for them and their families. By creating new markets for our artisans and providing fab product for our consumers, we are encouraging every one to be a part of this ‘global family’. If you wear their style, host a Trunk Show at home, or become a Tinkered by Ambassador, you will be a part of the Tinkered by story
Extending the Family
We are a family business and ‘Family’ is at the core of Tinkered by – a spring board for all we do. Across all cultures and countries, the drive to provide for and want the very best for our families is surely a feeling we all share. Tinkered by is a business working for families; united through entrepreneurship, support, trust, encouragement and the inspiration to provide brighter futures for all involved.
We have recently launched our “Ambassadors opportunity”. We are offering a fun, meaningful and flexible business opportunity to the women of Australia. Ambassadors earn an income by creating markets within their communities while at the same time facilitating the growth and development of our Artisans within their communities. The Tinkered by artisans create unique and ‘on trend’ products for Ambassadors to promote. Supporting each other, inspired by each other = empowerment for many families through entrepreneurship!Ambassador Opportunity
Take a Peek Inside a Trunk Show
Stay connected – view and share your favourite Trunk show photos with us on Facebook or Instagram with #Tinkeredbytrunkshow
How did Tinkered by get started?
Rachael Steadman and Kate Boston, Australian sister duo wanted to create a business that was fun, fulfilling and would contribute to their families. They were also looking for a business model that was meaningful, something that would engage them day to day (both with young children!)…Making the most of their situations, (one living remotely in WA the other remotely in Kenya) they believe they came up with the perfect fit for them. They source hand made product AND work directly with the Artisans that create it (fun!). They are a start up, so managing all things business (engaging!). Through generating trade they are able work alongside the artisans, and supporting the growth of sustainable businesses for them and their families (fulfilling / a business with meaning!).
How does Tinkered by’s business model work?
Tinkered by utilizes an innovative business model that gives women the opportunity to become social entrepreneurs known as Tinkered by Ambassadors. Tinkered by Ambassadors are business owners who sell jewellery and accessories through Trunk Shows and boutique market days. Tinkered by offers a fully supported back-end business so that Ambassadors can focus on being stylists and storytellers. They connect women in their communities to the Tinkered by Artisans in East Africa. A fun, meaningful business that is creating brighter futures for many!
Ambassadors earn a percentage commission on sales at Trunk Shows.
Does Tinkered by follow fair trade principles?
Although not formally a member of any Fair Trade organizations, we fully adhere to the principles, plus some. We have made a long-term commitment to sourcing product from our Artisans to improve financial stability. We are dedicated to our idea of brighter futures and want to see long-term stable growth and change. Investment of time, skills and money into the development and growth of individual businesses is a major part of our business model and something we will continue and grow with.
Working closely with our Artisans, enables us to see first hand, labour conditions, terms of employment and where/if help is needed. We also make advance payment on all orders, to help with cash flow and material sourcing. We offer interest free loans (where we can) for business development or emergency situations. We consider ourselves an extended family, and family looks out for their own.
Who makes Tinkered by products?
All of Tinkered by products are purchased from suppliers who are self-employed artists OR artists that provide jobs and opportunity for people in tough communities. We are in the business of empowering people and looking to create long-term growth and stability.
Tinkered by does not own any Artisan workshops, instead we work with the artisans on developing their own independent businesses. We are currently working with 16 different supplier groups!
Where is the jewelry made?
All of our product to date, is made in East Africa. Please visit our Artisan pages to read about the people behind the Tinkered by products and how they make them. On each individual product page, you will find a link, to further info about the artisans or group who made that product. If you want to get techy at your trunk show – we are happy to provide you with our promotional video and short clips.
How does Tinkered by select the artisans we work with?
We are constantly on the look out for creative souls that needs a hand to burst out into the market! We have three requirements: 1. Product has to hand made, 2. The artisan or group, is small and wanting growth, 3. They make the kind of product we think will sell well in Australia!
We intentionally look for artisans with whom we can try and make an impact.
Is there a percentage "give back" that goes to the artisans?
Tinkered by’s business model is not based around a charity. We do not “give back” a percentage to our Artisan partners. Instead, we are trying to champion an idea that provides people in vulnerable situations the ability to move towards economic self-sufficiency through stable income and business growth and development. Our focus is on developing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships between Artisans, Ambassadors and Tinkered by as a whole.
We do however love to find ways to that little bit of surprise special, for our Artisans and their families. In addition to creating jobs, we provide additional support. This support takes on many forms, including zero interest loans, school scholarships, emergency assistance, and business development training.
Are Tinkered by’s products eco-friendly?
Oh yes! We love hand made and we love the fact that our artisans harness the resources available to them to create the fabulous pieces they do. Most of our pieces are made from up-cycled materials or raw/natural materials. Every thing we purchase is ethically sourced (if natural) or material that would otherwise be waste. Eco-friendly, ethically sourced, handmade hand made with love!
Handmade Goods: Many of our Artisan groups make products without the use of electricity or fuel. Hand skills like weaving, carving embroidery and knitting are eco-friendly and have a low impact on the environment.
Natural Materials: Many of our products are made with natural materials including wood, stones, sheep wool, cotton, horn, and bone. The horn and bone is sourced from local eateries and abattoirs, – up-cycling a product that would otherwise be waste. Our two artisans working with wood, both have a licence to collect the fallen branches of a native Kenyan olive tree.
Up-cycled Materials: Some of our paper beads are made with recycled materials such as posters and magazines. Our metal pieces are made from recycled aluminium and brass. We have range of jewellery and bags made from inner tube, Necklaces using beads created by hand using recycled glass, animal sculpture from flip flops picked up from water ways – the list goes on. Even our product tags are attached with the string striped from old tyres!
How can you get involved?
There are lots of ways you can get involved! Supporting us by purchasing our products, hosting a Tinkered by Trunk Show, becoming an Ambassador or sharing our story!
What is a Trunk Show? How do I book/organise a Trunk Show?
A trunk Show is a get together of friends in a home or comfortable environment where we showcase the Tinkered by collection. We are ‘funking up’ the in-home party selling business model for today’s woman! Trunk Shows are an opportunity for
a hands-on, personalized, social shopping experience. A Tinkered by Trunk Show is a casual, fun, no-pressure way for girlfriends to get together, explore accessories and get fashion feedback from an Ambassador/Stylist and friends.
Booking Trunk Shows is super easy! We will provide all the necessary training, tools, and materials to help you get started. It’s as simple as jotting down names in each of your social circles – such as friends, family, and neighbours – and asking them to host a Trunk Show. We suggest starting with your “sure things”, i.e. your relatives, close friends, or neighbours. Those who say yes to being a Hostess will earn accessories for FREE and 50% off! They simply provide the house and the friends while you bring your fabulous samples and Look Books. The guests get styled and learn the stories behind our company and product, Hostesses earn free accessories, and you earn a commission on sales. Everyone wins!