JELLD is a fair trade initiative that makes beautiful, hand crafted leather products. They began with only 4 pieces, basically their card holder and wallet designs. Pretty soon the local interest in their work allowed them to expand. Today, there are 8 different places in Palestine selling their work, along with stores in Jordan, Russia and the US making JELLD products accessible. We are excited to bring JELLD to you through handmadepalestine.com so more people can get these beautiful leather pieces!
What about the story of JELLD? Well, we think it's pretty cool
JELLD began in February 2016 with three friends (one, Ala, left JELLD early on to pursue his studies) wanting to design leather products from locally produced leather. That left Ashraf Zatari and Souhib al Rifaei.
Leather as an industry in Palestine has been traditionally located in Hebron. In fact, it's the second or third main industry there. However, most leather products include shoes, especially sandals, belts and bags. What's really cool about JELLD is that these young guys are making all sorts of designs that we don't have available locally. That's their thing: unique.
In the beginning, the founders of JELLD committed to employ women and people with special needs, people with few opportunities at income generation. Today they employ up to 11 women and people with special needs, the number fluctuating depending on product orders.
They mostly work with four basic leather colors but sometimes they get wild and bring in white or yellow.
The leather comes from the Zatari family tannery, where Ashraf, one of the founders of JELLD, works. His grandfather, Shams Zatari, started the first tannery in 1948 with his many sons and nephews participating. Ashraf, Shams' grandson, still works at the family tannery as his day job.
This is the really cool part...he has to keep his day job because JELLD is a not for profit business. Thus, Ashraf works JELLD as his night gig because his day job needs to support him. The whole idea was to start a social enterprise to provide income generation opportunities. When he couldn't get funding, they decided to make a not for profit to fund the work they wanted to do!
The people at JELLD are very proud of their work, as they should be, and especially proud to be supporting around 11-15 livelihoods through the production of their beautiful pieces.
Click Here to check out their work and remember that when you purchase from handmadepalestine.com you are supporting fair trade artisans and planting trees in Palestine. We donate 100% of the profit to Mashjar Juthour, which is doing amazing work for our environment and our community!