Behind the Bean: the Maker of the Brewtiful Necklace
There's something surprisingly elegant about a single coffee bean coated in shiny metal, and when we found QOFFEA, a coffee-inspired jewelry line by babe Quisha Sanders, we knew it was the perfect fit for Babes with Coffee. Curious about the woman who thought to take an ordinary coffee bean and elevate it with gold, rose gold, and silver precious metals? So were we, so we went behind the scenes with this artisan.
Tell us a little about your background.
From as early as I can remember, I was a designer. Growing up in the sweet, southern city of Atlanta, GA, I was a shy, overachieving, introverted, yet eccentric kid. I took refuge in my imagination, where I could consciously curate my life and sift through the good and bad to find beauty. My favorite thing to design was my look. My hair and clothes were personal works of art to me. I was a thrift store queen, and I had a gift for reworking and repurposing the discarded treasures I found. I used to make major alterations and literally seam clothes with safety pins because I didn’t know how to sew. I used eye shadow to put highlights in my hair. I took the flower tops off of my mom’s floral arrangements to embellish my ripped jeans. I made jewelry from broken Christmas tree ornaments and crayons I melted in the oven. That passion for creating beautiful things for myself, eventually transitioned into making beautiful jewelry for others. Flash forward to years later when I was working in New York City as an actress, and people would want to buy the jewelry I’d made for myself. It was then that the seed for my current jewelry design business was planted. Since then I’ve traveled the world on an amazing career and life journey. From Acting in NYC, to teaching ESL in countries like South Korea and Japan, to planning events in Dubai, I always feel most at home when I’m pursuing my passion – jewelry design. And now, I absolutely love being in the business of creating meaningful accessories that empower women to look, and more importantly, feel, beautiful.
QOFFEA is such a unique name. What inspired it?
QOFFEA (kaw-fee) is a jewelry and lifestyle brand that evokes a conscious blend of fashion and compassion. QOFFEA, like coffee, aims to be a stimulant of style, social awareness, and service. However, to name the brand Coffee would be nearly impossible from a legal perspective, lol. So, I combined my name – Quisha – with the word Coffee – and voila! It’s perfect because QOFFEA, like the work or any artist, is an extension of the unique perspective, gifts, and talents I long to share with the world.
How did you start to make jewelry using coffee beans?
Coffee is the central theme of the QOFFEA brand story because as a natural stimulant and iconic symbol of sharing and socializing, it offers the perfect metaphor for what QOFFEA is designed to do: to wake up consumers to their own philanthropic power. Using the coffee bean as the signature symbol of the brand was only natural. Plus, coffee beans are just as pretty as they are powerful. 10% of all QOFFEA proceeds are donated to charities in several of the top coffee producing nations, which also happen to be some of the poorest, and most in need of humanitarian and environmental aid.
Our signature coffee-themed designs are stylish and meaningful reminders to WAKE UP GIVING: to wake up every day giving of yourself in ways big and small, that are beneficial to this planet and it’s people.
What’s your process, and what makes your products different?
Finding beauty and meaning in things that at first glance might appear boring or unattractive, has always been a part of my process as a designer. QOFFEA designs take something as average and everyday as a simple coffee bean, and elevate its status to that of a style icon – a fashionable symbol of power and philanthropy. QOFFEA offers a very unique and pretty perspective on the charitable potential of being a conscientious consumer, and makes giving back stylish. All design components are thoughtfully sourced, and made with fine quality materials. Generosity, like QOFFEA, always looks good on you.
We love the charity component of QOFFEA. We’d love to hear more about that and why you decided to give back.
Having a business that’s built on a philanthropic platform will always be a top priority for me as an entrepreneur. As I sat in my studio one day pondering a creative and fulfilling way to merge my passion for jewelry design with a philanthropic purpose, I could smell coffee brewing just upstairs.
I thought about how millions of people rely on coffee to start their day, and how the coffee industry has had such a strong social, cultural, and industrial influence throughout history. But when I thought about the social influence, I also thought about the people that make enjoying a cup of coffee with a friend possible. And that’s when a synthesis of creative and benevolent ideas began to brew in my mind. QOFFEA was born.
It is truly astounding that countries like Ethiopia, Uganda, and Brazil contribute so extensively to the billion dollar coffee industry, yet many of the people of those countries carry empty cups, drained dry by issues such as political unrest, poverty, environmental exploitation, oppression of women, educational concerns, and disease . Through the power of the philanthropic purchase, QOFFEA aims to fill the cups of these at risk global communities, while empowering consumers with stylish, meaningful designs as token reminders of their giving potential. Giving, like a morning cup of coffee, can and should be a part of our everyday routine.
Babes selected Hagar as our charity with QOFFEA. When Babes purchase the limited edition, exclusive Brewtiful necklace, they get a double dose of goodness: you donate to Hagar, and we donate to support women’s issues. Can you explain Hagar for our Babes?
Hagar International is a non-profit organization assisting survivors of sexual violence and human trafficking in Vietnam, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Singapore. Hagar Vietnam is just one of several worldwide charities that QOFFEA aims to support. Hagar Vietnam provides recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration for underprivileged Vietnamese women and children that have suffered severe human rights traumas such as slavery, torture, domestic violence, and sexual abuse or exploitation. These abused women and children are given long-term, individualized support including medical care, legal assistance, counseling, art therapy, and employment. With the help of Hagar, at least some of the more than 400,000 Vietnamese women and children trafficked and abused have a chance at hope and healing.
Where do you get the coffee beans you coat, and what kinds of metals do you use to coat them?
The coffee beans used in QOFFEA designs are thoughtfully sourced from a fair trade coffee merchant in the USA. All of the handmade coffee bean designs are first coated with a thick layer of copper, then plated in one of three precious metals – gold, silver, or rose gold.
We know that QOFFEA is only one part of your business. You also have a gorgeous jewelry line, OPHINE, which has some stunning pieces. We’d love to hear more about it.
OPHINE is elegant, enchanting Morse Code jewelry designed to empower women to speak their unique truth, and embrace their inherent roles as Goddesses: beings of incredible beauty, wit, and charm.
OPHINE’s minimal Morse Code collections form the soul of the brand. Gorgeous, genuine gemstones and precious metal beads are arranged as the dots and dashes of the Morse Code alphabet, to express meaningful mantras for living a life of power and purpose. Our signature Morse Code Malas® are truly special, and a great example of how OPHINE makes being stylish a sacred experience.
Captivating crystal adornments and precious metal designs form the heart, and range from one-of-a-kind crystal statement rings to minimal, geometric earrings and necklaces. The pulse of the OPHINE brand is sustained through philanthropy, and a percentage of proceeds from our Human Spirit Collection supports charities committed to ending sexual violence against women and girls around the world.
The sacred space where heart and soul meet is what brings the OPHINE brand to life, and gives our designs a unique quality that is truly magical. Every OPHINE adornment is lovingly handmade to be worthy of a Goddess: all crystals are 100% natural, and all materials are top quality. OPHINE designs are precious, pretty, and powerful, just like the women who wear them.
What’s your big, lofty dream for your jewelry lines? What can our babes expect to see from you in the future?
It is my dream to continue to use my unique gifts and talents as a jewelry designer to empower people to become their best selves, and make the world around them better in the process. Empowered people power positive change on the planet, and that is the philanthropic foundation on which QOFFEA and OPHINE stand. I would like my jewelry brands to grow into immensely popular, purposeful, profitable, and prolific purveyors of beauty and inspiration to women and men around the world.
In the future I would love to be able to employ women from the global community who don’t have access to career exploration or development.
Meanwhile, you can look forward to some stunning, sparkly new Morse Code Mala® designs that will be available from OPHINE!
When you think of a coffee babe, what comes to mind?
A Coffee Babe is essentially a Goddess – a woman of incredible intellect, beauty, and charm, courageous enough to live life on her own terms, and compassionate enough to do some good along the way.