Minneapolis woman sells jewelry made from Ethiopia shell casings to help others

- Not every bullet has to take a life. In some cases, they can actually help save a life. And that's the message behind jewelry made from shell casings where the profits are going back to those in need. 

At the pop-up craft fair in northeast Minneapolis, Joy McBrien sells accessories from all around the world. But her best-sellers do more than just make women look and feel good, they help victims of sexual violence lead better lives.

"This is important to me because I have a long history of sexual violence," McBrien said.

McBrien started her company "Fair Anita" about a year ago to sell fair trade merchandise online and in stores around the Twin Cities. She now employs 8,000 women, many with HIV or Aids, in 16 different countries. They make everything from jewelry to scarves, so they can make a living and support themselves and their families.

But her most popular products are pieces of jewelry made from recycled bullets by women in Ethiopia. They collect spent shell casings from the war in their home country, then melt them into beads which they use to make wearable works of art.

"Bullets to beautiful. Taking something that was harmful and turning it into something bringing new life to women around the world,” McBrien said.

Even though McBrien has enough ammunition to take on this global problem, she believes social justice never goes out of style.

"The more products we sell, the more jobs we can create for more women,” McBrien said.

To visit more of her jewelry go to www.fairanita.com .

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