New York native Elizabeth wanted to answer a simple question: “how and by whom are the goods we consume made?” After two years in the Merchandising Department at Coach, she packed her bags and traveled to Laos. She was without a plan, but prepared. Upon arrival in Vientiane she began knocking on the doors of local women-based textile businesses. She was on a mission to understand how local, sustainable crafts made by women could be plugged into the global fashion market. Recognizing that market linkage and design are major constraints on artisans, she founded ARTICLE 22 when she met artisans in a rural village melting US bombs into spoons. Having studied History at Williams College and Oxford University, she was beguiled by her lack of awareness of the Secret War in Laos 1963-1974 which left a legacy of 80 million unexploded bombs. She created the Peacebomb bracelet with the idea of buying back the bombs. Since, ARTICLE22 has developed into a global business, selling an evolving collection of jewelry and home goods to customers in 40 countries including thoughtful icons like model Angela Lindvall and actress Olivia Wilde.
BEATRIX OST DESIGNER
“In your body is a good place to be”. a mantra for the ageless and wise. Artist and fashion muse, Beatrix brings design talent and vision to her ongoing collaboration with ARTICLE22. With a shared ethos and transformation story of negative to positive, Beatrix was inspired to become a partner. Her personal transformation story was skin cancer that left a Z-shaped scar on her forehead. Embracing this personal horror, she turned it into beauty by tattooing it light purple.
Hailing from Paris, Camille moved to New York in 2006 at the age of 21 to start a career in international finance and investment banking. Her passion for travelling, design and photography finally brought her to dedicate her time to ARTICLE22 in 2012 after she met Elizabeth and became engaged with the peacebomb story. With a strong international background from her studies spent between France and Spain, and work experience in South America including Brazil, Camille is mainly in charge of developing the business in the US and internationally.
MANIVONE SORABMIXAY LAOS COUNTRY MANAGER
Also known as “the mayor”, Manivone joined ARTICLE22 in 2013 to support and build the local supply chain. Friendship grew into a working relationship because of Manivone’s passion for serving her community. Prior, she worked with an Italian non- profit, focusing on maternal health: the Women’s Maternity Waiting Home Center and Weaving Group. Her role also included organizing skills training for women around weaving and other crafts.
One of the poorest nations according to the World Bank, Laos also has the unfortunate distinction of being the most heavily bombed country in history per capita. Between 1964 and 1973, against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, the Secret War was waged in neutral Laos. To contain the spread of communism, American B-52s dropped an average of one bomb-load every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine years. 80 million of the 250 million bombs dropped failed to detonate, leaving a deadly legacy that plagues the agrarian population today. DISCOVER THE STORY. And yet, Laos should not be defined by this war torn past. Like a treasure chest, the country has incredible biological diversity, 47 ethnic groups, and a living craft culture of weaving and natural dyeing.
Gael grew up in Paris and moved to New York in 2005 to work for BNP Paribas corporate and investment banking. He left in 2012 to co-found ARTICLE22, and later started Armori Capital Management LLC, an investment company specialized in start-ups and small listed companies. Wearing multiple hats, Gael is involved with ARTICLE22 in a role that includes strategy, business development, legal and finance.
XIENG KHOUANG, LAOS
Artisans of Naphia return to their bomb littered village in 1974 upon the close of the Vietnam War to find bombs, exploded and unexploded, and a crashed jet plan. One man learns to melt the war scrap into spoons. Since ARTICLE22 began working with the village in 2009, 12 families grew into 15 families, husbands and wives that make Peacebomb jewelry. They work part time and earn at least 5x the local hourly minimum wage, providing them with the disposable income for books, school, fuel,and medicine that their subsistence farming livelihoods cannot. Artisans are agents of change, healing their land, making it safe to play and grow rice.