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Amanda Judge has been fascinated by the development of Latin America. She left a job in the financial services industry to work in some of the most desolate areas of Central and South America on poverty reduction products. Some of which include, working with UNICEF on a health project in Nicaragua and a micro-enterprise project in Peru.
Amanda founded Andean Collection in the fall of 2008 after interviewing women in rural Ecuador about their survival strategies. The project was intended to result in an academic paper that presented potential programs to reduce poverty in these areas. As it turned out, instead of just writing about these potential projects, she decided to turn her ideas into an employment generating social enterprise. Amanda learned through the interviews that Ecuador has a long history of creating jewelry out of rain forest seeds. Her research also showed that opening the global market for jewelry made out of these natural materials would bring sustainable change to these communities.
Amanda has a background in jewelry design, and she knew that the global market would fall in love with the look and feel of these natural materials, as she did. The Andean Collection team, with help from artisans in Ecuador, continuously develops chic new designs inspired by the fusion of the urban surroundings in New York City and the natural beauty of Ecuador. They currently work with over 40 artisans who hand craft each design using local materials.
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