We are Thrilled to Introduce Summer Market Featured Artisan & First Time Firefly - Liberti, Hand
Pamela Norton-Shelpuk is the Founder/CEO of Liberti, a mission-driven company that designs handcrafted jewelry and accessories, with sales supporting new beginnings for resettled refugees here in the United States. Liberti’s collection is fueled by stimulating deep social impact.
FF: Share with us how you began your handmade journey?
L/PN-S: As a marketing executive I have had the chance to work on some great projects over the past 25 years. I found my passion 5 years ago after I began volunteering and embracing our new Nepalese refugee community here in Colorado. Over these years I had this deep seated passion to launch a new business and to support this community and our country. I saw this disconnect on how difficult it was for these resettled refugees to on-board into good jobs here in America. It’s hard to find companies that will take the risk in hiring them and I wondered if I could launch a company that could successfully on-board these new immigrants. I was first more concerned about walking away from my clients and project work that I had built up over the years because it was just easier to not make a move and just stay the course.
I realized this past summer that when you wake up every day being more excited about working on your “soft” project then working on your paying clients it might be time to make that move. After a year of testing, personally funding, praying and finding an angel investor the Liberti dream has taken flight.
FF: What lead you to your current line of goods?
L/PN-S: Liberti’s <1% Collection seeks to raise awareness for the less than one percent of refugees worldwide who are fortunate enough to escape the hardships of refugee camps, and for the 99 percent who remain behind. We developed six <1% uniquely designed pieces that are handcrafted with the less than one symbol. By purchasing a piece in this collection each person becomes a part of our mission of love, hope, and change by wearing and sharing the collection to help empower the <1% in their journey.
Our inspired statement pieces embrace the spirit of opportunity, strength, and freedom. Through our paid refugee apprenticeship program, we pass on career-building craftsmanship skills to the powerful men and women who have escaped impossible environments abroad with hope for a better future. Every purchase made has a direct impact toward providing them with opportunity that transcends the present moment, empowering refugees to establish a new foundation through trade training that lasts a lifetime. We integrate American refugees in all aspects of our business and provide on-the-job training and career building opportunities to ensure growth and professional development.
FF: Are there certain materials you prefer to work with & what's your process?
L/PN-S: The process begins with our initial concepts and drawings based on inspirations, ideas, stylist’s feedback and requests for new products. Once we finalize the drawings and layouts in adobe creative suites we then develop the pieces into 3D Computer renderings to finalize the size, shape, weight and functional specs. After we complete and sign off on these specs we go to the 3D Printer to develop the product mold that will then be used to cast the product during production. We then complete the casting, cleaning, polishing and finishing the piece we test these products with several brand ambassadors to obtain feedback on quality, layout, look and feel. Each piece is made with precious metals including Brass, 925 Silver, or 18K Gold. We then determine quantity for production, sizes, metal selection and finalize the go-to market timeline and plan.
FF: Inspiration comes from where?
L/PN-S: Liberti is built on the ideals of the American Dream: freedom, drive, creativity, and community. By taking a stand to ensure entirely ethical production, we have created a collection that truly gives back. Liberti collaborates with artisans across America throughout every facet of our process, supporting passion-based business owners and our refugee apprentices along the way. From ideation to production, the materials we use are made by people who love their craft, all the while meaningfully contributing to our US economy.
FF: What excites you for the future?
L/PN-S: Liberti’s captivating <1% jewelry collection has an impactful depth to each design that sets it apart. Every intricate detail represents the hope each piece generates, and the resounding backstory of every new beginning our products support. We are excited to see the impact from our Liberti apprentices who will becoming masters of the craft, infusing their unique stories into the art of jewelry making. We are excited to help reduce our carbon footprint as our precious metals are sourced within the US, our gems collected without mistreatment of humans or the earth. On-trend and one-of-a-kind, every Liberti piece is created with love and without harm. We are also very excited for our new new collection coming this holiday season.
FF: Any advice for makers and biz entrepreneurs new to our creative community?
L/PN-S: Stay true to your dream and vision. Ensure that you always stay focused and on task with your venture but always make sure to learn from your mistakes, get back up and you’ll be stronger the next round.
FF: If you have a strong partnership with a non-profit org, what is it and what inspired you to do this?
L/PN-S: Our friends at Dorcas International have been helping assimilate and support refugees in the Rhode Island area for over 25 years. They have been a critical partner in working together to help empower these new families into America.
FF: Anything else you'd like to tell us?
L/PN-S: When you wear Liberti, you are directly supporting the <1% of refugees who have been welcomed into this country, and you are also representing and spreading awareness for the 99% who will never have that chance. Thanks for helping us spread #libertilove through social media @libertiusa.
Shop, connect and support Liberti at Firefly Handmade Summer Market, July 23-24, 10am-4pm, Twenty Ninth Street shopping district , 1710 29th St. (between Canyon & Walnut), Boulder, CO.