Mom and I by Ezgi Kaya
"Mom & I" is more than a cute brand name for @momandibyek owner Ezgi Kaya. The inspiration for their gorgeously handcrafted bead necklaces came from Ezgi's mom, who started making the crocheted necklaces after a friend gave Ezgi one from a local Turkish bazaar. When she spent the summer of 2016 with her mom in Turkey, Ezgi joined her mom's hobby time and learned to make them herself.
Later that year, Ezgi quit her job, moved to DC and took some time off to figure out what to do next. One of the places she volunteered at was Ten Thousand Villages in Alexandria, which she credits for helping her find her true passion for creating handmade goods and supporting the people who make them.
While Ezgi loved to design + make necklaces, she also wanted to give opportunities to other women like her mom, who is one of the most hardworking people she knows, even though she's never worked outside of home. With @momandibyek, Ezgi now employs 10 women - all moms - in her hometown of Balikesir, paying them fair wages and giving many of them their first opportunity to earn their own money.
She's passionate about what she does with fairness practices, and how they create each necklace. It takes 9 hours to make each one. Starting with a crochet base, they add beads on one by one. "It requires lots of patience and passion to make them!" she says.
Ezgi feels lucky to start her own brand, and enjoys all of the roles she takes on: designer, marketer, sales associate, and social media manager. She also feels lucky to have come across Femme Fatale, her first retail location. Not only does she sell her jewelry there, she's the design mind the amazing jewelry display wall. She was excited for the opportunity to create a DIY project outside of her home that created a functional space for the shop.
Every Sunday, you can find Ezgi with a couple of bottles of wine, hanging out at the @femmefataledc shop from 1-4 p.m. She loves to spend time hanging out, meeting clients and other entrepreneurs, and spending some getting social. Stop by and meet her - you'll love her sweet, kind spirit as much as you'll love her beautiful jewelry.