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The Zena Brand - From Fun Accessories to Social Impact

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

LIzzo wearing Zena Brand star earrings!

This Ethical Fashion Festival feature is The Zena Brand. We enjoyed chatting live with Caragh Bennet, to hear firsthand how she went from studies at Oxford, to Uganda, to launching a jewelry line and creating an educational program to support women



"Our bottom line is to see the women establish their own bottom lines.” These are the words of Caragh Bennet, our guest today, who has made it their life's purpose and brand to rewrite stories and empower women through sustainable fashion design and entrepreneurship.

The Zena Brand puts its community first with the notion that it isn't always about generating profit, but rather, about living out your purpose and finding fulfillment through it. Indeed, when we are so passionate about what we're doing, no matter what challenges come our way, we can find ways to innovate and continue to provide for our community.

This conversation is filled with inspiration on numerous levels, from The Zena Brand's commitment to sustainability along with the use of raw materials, to how to start and run an enterprise that you are passionate about, to empowering women by providing them with lifelong skills that can ultimately help them achieve their dreams.



"Women living in rural poverty face two major barriers to business opportunities: a lack of education and capital. The Zena Brand set out to change that." Caragh Bennet

Caragh Bennet & Loren Thomas, are the co-founders of The Zena Brand, a non-profit jewelry line that has purely social impact based in Kampala, Uganda. Together they founded Zena with the single promise of changing the global stories of gender inequality and extreme poverty by investing in female entrepreneurs.

Key Highlights:

Tune in to this podcast or video and learn:

  • How they met at the university, then interviewed 50 women from rural Uganda with the hope of building relationships with people from a completely different culture (08:05)

  • Introduced the concept of social entrepreneurship and employment in Uganda, where the idea of Zena came from (10:18)

  • Their biggest achievement was partnering with Diane Von Furstenberg at Bloomingdale's last year to celebrate The Lion King on International Women's Day (13:58)

  • What their brand looked like early on before it went through a significant rebranding to a younger demographic that better reflects their values (15:19)

  • Their favorite memories starting Zena, as well as some challenging times (17:51)

  • Caragh describes their journey to the book she read entitled “ Shoe Dog by Phil Knight a memoir by the creator of Nike” (17:58)

  • Experiencing the pandemic was like going into a boxing ring - a fight of your life (18:29)

  • How they turned their business's greatest fear into their strength (19:35)

  • Why agricultural agriculture is a crucial industry for rural and farming communities (24:42)

  • Their social act program has not only helped women escape poverty but also give children an opportunity for education (29:27)

  • Their biggest advice to fashion design students pursuing this career path: to be intentional and to keep your purpose in mind (48:20)

Are you interested in getting involved? Check out the Zena Student Brand Ambassador Application Student ambassadors are a KEY part of the Zena team and help us fund and sustain our mission of seeing female entrepreneurs rewrite stories of extreme poverty and gender inequality in their communities in Uganda. As a nonprofit, 100% of our proceeds are reinvested into our mission which means the more jewelry we can sell, the more women we can fund through our program. Are you passionate about ethical fashion, fun events, and social impact brands? Are you looking for experience in brand marketing, sales, or team building? We're looking for Zena girls on campus to head up our student community engagement program and to lead sales pop-up events, brand activations, and fundraising for our impact work. As brand ambassadors, you will be our official Zena reps on campus and be responsible for leading a team to design and implement brand awareness and community-building events at your university.

We are looking for self-starters, creative thinkers, entrepreneurial leaders, and friend-makers. P.S pink exclusive Zena hoodies included

Learn more and see their full collection at:

Additional Resources:

The Zena Brand’s Website is

The Zena Brand on Instagram

Book Recommendation: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

The Zena Brand is one of our many featured makers in IFD’s Ethical Fashion Festival. Learn more about Ethical Makers and brands by following us virtually.

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