Jewel & Lotus: The ethical marketplace that started as a labour of love

Love is where it all began for ethical marketplace Jewel & Lotus, founded by Andy Katz and Ashira Satya. “We often say that Jewel & Lotus is a love story. It came together from our love for each other, for people and for the earth”, says Katz. Inspired by social enterprises they have discovered through their extensive travels, Katz and Satya wanted to create a destination where other people could easily find them.

With hundreds of ethical products across a wide variety of categories including clothing, accessories, health and home living, Jewel & Lotus is on a mission to create positive and sustainable change in the world. As a result, every product that makes it to the marketplace has to support fair labour, safe working conditions, eco-friendly practices and the humane treatment of animals.

However, Jewel & Lotus make a point of helping all good businesses thrive, so you won’t see any certifications and regulatory jargon (which can often be hard and expensive to obtain for many start-up businesses); the simple idea is that every product on Jewel & Lotus has a meaningful and worthwhile story to get behind and support. It makes for an incredibly diverse mix of products that is hard to find anywhere else, such as beautifully handmade clay teapots from Indian artisans in local villages by Terra Klay, to Koko Collective’s eco-friendly pet collars made from recycled bicycle inner tubes and vintage sari fabric.

“We often say that Jewel & Lotus is a love story. It came together from our love for each other, for people and for the earth”

image of ethical marketplace jewel & lotus
Photography: Jewel & Lotus

Being a start-up business themselves, Katz and Satya are keenly aware of the challenges businesses like them face each day. “We’ve struggled the most with getting our technology right. We viewed ourselves primarily as a tech business so from the beginning we tried to take complete control over our product. It turned out that wasn’t the best way for us to start”, says Katz.

But they have managed to survive and build a growing community due to their resilient passion for ethical business. “Generally speaking, being a small startup business is not easy. The biggest reason we have been able to survive the obstacles is because we are really passionate about the reasons why we started Jewel and Lotus. This is what we care about, this is what we believe in and ultimately that is what inspires us”, says Katz.

Katz is optimistic about the future and feels encouraged by the growing number of consumers who are choosing to buy ethically and sustainably, as he believes in the power of a knowledgeable and educated consumer. For Katz, it’s about three things: “First is the knowledge that as consumers we are powerful. Second is the wisdom that our choices have consequences. Third is making a commitment and holding yourself accountable. It will make a positive difference not only in your own life, but also the life of everyone involved in the process of making your good(s)”.