As we continue to support black communities — now and always — shopping at black-owned businesses is one meaningful way to effect change. In 2019, Sydney Ziems founded her company, Serendipitous Project, with the goal of creating eco-friendly jewelry and accessories. Since then, she has created and sold countless pieces made with materials from the earth, such as sea glass, as well as vintage items from brands like Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera. Now, Ziems is donating all of Serendipitous Project’s profits to the Minnesota Freedom Fund for two weeks. Vogue spoke to Sydney Ziems about how she uses her platform for good, what it means to be a black female business owner, and the importance of inclusivity.

As for the inspiration behind her gorgeous creations, Ziems looks to the past, art, and nature. She is obsessed with Victorian and Rococo fashion. “Art also plays such an important role,” she says. “Sometimes, I just browse through art books and see what calls my attention and figure out how I can take elements of a picture and make it an accessory without making it too literal.”

Given that sustainability is a major part of the Serendipitous Project, Ziems also likes to work with natural materials, such as pearls, stones, sea glass, and shells.

Not only does Serendipitous Project help the environment, they also use their platform to raise awareness about social issues. In the wake of the George Floyd protests, Ziems wanted to give back in whatever way she could, so she decided to donate two-weeks worth of her business’ profits to the Minnesota Freedom Fund. Giving back has always been an integral part of the Serendipitous Project — for each seasonal collection, Ziems selects one piece to give a percentage back to charity. For the resort collection, 10 percent of the proceeds from the Mayan Necklace went to RAICES, a Texas non-profit that helps protect and provide legal aid to children at the border. Connecting with other women is another important part of the Serendipitous Project. “First and foremost,” Ziems said, “I wanted to build a community of women whose style, interest, and values align with mine, such as eco-conscious, ethical shopping, and giving back.”

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