Design Up Asia was started in 2013 after the founders emerged winners at an UP Singapore Hackathon organised by Newton Circus and The Arthur Guinness Fund. The prize was start-up capital to help disadvantaged women find work.
The concept was developed to offer affordable fashion accessories whilst providing income for women without access to formal employment. The idea is simple, provide affordable and desirable handmade jewellery to give women flexible employment, so they can provide for their families from home and most importantly care for school aged children.
DUA only makes 15% profit and 40% of the cost price is paid back to the women, recently increased from 28%. The brand also holds free training sessions for any women who meet the requirements of being the sole bread winner with children under 18 years old. In two years DUA have trained over 50 women with jewellery making skills and most importantly foster a sense of community and achievement. DUA’s mission is to deliver fashion with a purpose or ‘Feel Good Fashion’.
“In the future we hope to double the number of women we train and increase the number of women we can give regular work. We also want to see these women set up their own businesses and achieve their dreams. We need to succeed because these women are imaginative, kind and resourceful, they are the bravest people we know who have surmounted incredible challenges and have not given up. Buy a piece of jewellery whether for yourself or as a gift, like our page on Facebook or join us as a volunteer or Ambassador because together we are stronger.” – Co-Founder Kim Ong