My name is Shaina and I handcraft each Beyond Me Design that you will find here. Each piece is handmade with love in my little studio on a farm in the sticks in Choma, Zambia (Africa) - yes feel free to get your map out! :)
However, my background is not in design nor jewelry. It is however in Environmental Education and Education for Sustainability in which I completed my Masters in Plymouth, UK. Conservation education you could say is my first love, first passion.
My love of jewelry (as most loves happen) was unexpected and took me by surprise. It all started on a trip to Cape Town where I attended a silversmith workshop...only because I was unable to attend the photography course I originally signed up for. Little did I know this change of plans was going to change the course of my life in the years to come.
I remember my tutor saying that 'people who attend these courses are humbled by the hard work which goes into creating each piece'. I too was humbled and in awe by the amount of work and attention that goes into each creation.
So how did I come to run a small handmade jewelry business on a farm in Choma? Good question - I ask myself this most days.
From then I knew this was something I wanted to pursue and it was more than just a holiday fling.
I was hooked but I didn't have the money, time nor resources to start working with silver. So I did the next best thing and started working with cutlery (yes bog standard stainless steel). My first piece was a stainless steel fork elephant pendant. I progressed from stainless steel to old vintage EPNS cutlery - I gathered and sourced pieces wherever I could creating rings, bangles, pendants and more. All the time loving the re-purposing concept of each piece. Many of these pieces can still be found in my #ReLoved collection.
After a couple of years of dabbling and experimenting in the craft of jewelry making I decided to give Beyond Me Designs a chance to be more than just a glorified hobby.
After growing up in Lusaka (Zambia), living in South Africa, studying in the UK and working in the Lower Zambezi National Park you will now find me and my little business Beyond Me Designs on a beautiful farm in Zambia.
Here I live with a gorgeous farmer who supports my crazy yet ambitious life choices.
All my pieces are handmade here in Zambia and tell a conservation story. Whether it is a repurposed spoon ring or a wild dog footprint pendant.
In keeping with my conservation inspiration 5% of sales is donated to Musekese Conservation in the Kafue National Park, Zambia. Supporting anti-poaching efforts and wildlife protection for our highly threatened national parks.
So if you are wild about wildlife or crazy about up-cycling then you are in the right place!