31 Bits designs a beautiful future

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31 Bits Designs is a company changing the lives of Ugandan women one handcrafted piece of jewelry at a time and the California Baptist University community is getting involved.

With the purpose of supporting internally displaced women in the war-torn country, 31 Bits is on a mission of “using fashion to empower women to rise above poverty,” according to their website.

“31 Bits is an organization started by five women who graduated from Vanguard University. They work with women in Uganda who make these beautiful jewelry pieces and sell them here in the United States. Their goal is to continue to give jobs to these Ugandan women and help their economy,” Trevor Hoehne, assistant professor of graphic design, said.

The name 31 Bits comes from the artists behind these beautiful pieces of jewelry. There are 31 women from a specific village and the pieces of newspaper used to make the beads are referred to as bits.

From photography to modeling to hosting a booth at homecoming, CBU has embraced 31 Bits.

“I heard about them from my brother who was doing some design work for them. I heard their story and what they were doing and wanted to play a part,” Hoehne said.

Hoehne has been involved with 31 Bits for two years and has no plans of stopping, saying they are “dreaming big for the future.”

“The part I play is providing all of their photography for their campaigns. I shoot at least four campaigns a year with them. It’s a blast,” Hoehne said.

Several CBU students have modeled for the company, including Allison Ronveaux and Rebekah Madison.

Sophomore Ronveaux discovered 31 Bits from posters while in Uganda last year for International Service Project. Her firsthand experience sparked her interest in the company. When an offer came to model for them, she could not pass it up.

“It was an amazing privilege. When I found out, I thought, ‘This is such a great company. I wouldn’t mind being involved with them.’ What they do is beautiful,” Ronveaux said.

The handcrafted jewelry is made by rolling pieces of newspaper tightly to form beads that are then dyed and used to make necklaces, bracelets and futures for the artists.

“They put so much time and effort into it and people do not realize how incredible it is. It is an amazing foundation and it was a privilege to work with them,” Ronveaux said. “They are amazing women who love the Lord and want to show that these women have worked so hard to do this.”

“In the midst of all of my other commercial photography work, 31 Bits is, without a doubt, one of the best clients I have worked with,” Hoehne said.

If you are interested in purchasing from 31 Bits or seeing the work of Hoehne, visitwww.31bits.com.