Gladys grew up in Northern Kenya, It was there she encountered the concept of craft for the first time, and clearly honed a skill for noticing beauty in the little things. Her first jewelry project? Drilling holes in maize and beans to string a necklace. Later she graduated to forming clay beads. Fast forward a few years, and she was taking a beading course on a back street in Florence, Italy, while studying fashion design at university. Italy held great fascination for Gladys as her late grand father was Italian. After graduation, Macharia worked for internationally recognized designer Ermanno Scervino before returning to school to study fine jewelry and gemology. “This was my eye opener,” she recalls, “when I finally felt I had found that missing equation in my life.” The budding jeweler returned home to begin her own bespoke jewelry line, Loyangalani, made 100% in Kenya with locally sourced materials. A stint consulting with Ethical Fashion (supported by ITC, a branch of the UN) followed, her first proper introduction to working closely with artisan groups across the continent.