#FollowFriday: Leslie Voegtlin, Founder of LittleGemsUSA

Happy Friday lovelies! Today on #FollowFriday we’re featuring another amazing wedding vendor that started her own business to give back to those in need.

LittleGemsUSA is a jewelry company that sells fashionable accessories that are making a positive impact. By donating 50% of its profits to charities and nonprofits that target at-risk women and children, LittleGemsUSA is not only selling trendy earrings and precious-gem-studded bracelets — it’s spreading hope.

We had the chance to chat with Leslie Voegtlin, founder of LittleGemsUSA, about her flourishing company, her beautiful jewelry, and how she gives back. Here’s what she said…

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How did LittleGemsUSA come about?

A couple years ago I had my eyes opened to the fact that so many people around me are experiencing immense pain. The thought of trafficking and modern-day slavery broke my heart. I realized that people I knew, that I encountered on a daily basis, were in pain and struggling to make ends meet. I looked around and thought, “Why isn’t somebody doing something about this?” I wanted to see other people or corporations fix these problems. I thought, “They’re smarter than me and have the capital to really attack the issues.” I justified myself into thinking I can’t change the world. I’m only me. But then, at some point, I started to think, “What if I helped just one person?” If I was the person praying in desperation, wouldn’t I want someone to at least try? If I fail, at least I fail while trying. So in an effort to do something, I started LittleGemsUSA with the purpose of giving 50% of its profits to charities that are giving people the help they need.

That’s so very kind of you! Now, can you tell us a little bit about your products? What kind of jewelry does LittleGemsUSA carry?
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Currently, I sell fashion jewelry as well as precious and semi-precious gemstones set in sterling silver. When I started, I just went with whatever manufacturer would work with me. Now I’m striving to find more and more fair trade or ethical products. My dream is to make sure that manufacturing part of the business helps people in need as much as the profits that are donated.

What inspired you to be a charitable vendor?  

It really came about from seeing so much need and not having the means to give more. Starting this company gave me a way to have a stream of income fully dedicated to helping others.

What type of projects does LittleGemsUSA fund?

Fifty percent of LittleGemsUSA’s profits go to charity. The charity we’re currently donating to is Love Alive International. I am sponsoring the education of 6 children in Rwanda through this wonderful organization. It’s amazing to know that a child who desperately wanted to go to school but could not afford the required uniform and school supplies is in school today because of us. This education obviously pushes them up in the world, but I’ve also read that education also makes children less likely to fall prey to traffickers.  

Since its inception, LittleGemsUSA has also helped protect little girls from being trafficked in Chicago and India, supported the sewing career of several women in Rwanda, donated Christmas gifts to impoverished children, and sponsored a support group to keep kids off the streets and away from gangs in the Chicago area.

Do you have any favorite jewelry pieces?

My absolute favorite pieces right now are leather and glass bead wrap bracelets that are hand made by deaf women in Kenya. They are so beautiful and so meaningful at the same time.

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Make sure you check out LittleGemsUSA’s products here! If you’re getting married and want to give back, you can buy your jewelry from this fab company or create a charitable wedding registry to help a cause you care about. 

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