Jamaican Kristie Stephenson is a maker on a mission to sprinkle magic and wonder throughout her homeland and the world. Each beaded necklace and bracelet under her Story & Myth brand is strung mindfully to bring the wearer healing, protection, strength and a vast inflow of positive energy.
She likens her entrepreneurial journey to the story of the alchemist. The hero, who is the alchemist, goes in search of a promised land, determined to discover fulfillment, victory and success. In the end, the hero comes full circle, ending up where he began – home. But, his arduous pilgrimage gave him newfound wisdom to discern a eauty and purpose that were there all along, but he couldn’t quite see. That’s when he finally finds what he’s been seeking.
True calling uncovered
It was after leaving Jamaica, living in the United States for 14 years and returning home in 2011, that Stephenson discovered a deep reverence for the country’s cultural vibrancy and bountiful landscape, and uncovered her true calling.
Value in Job’s Tears
Back home in Jamaica, she stumbled on a treasure her father introduced her to as a child, Job’s Tears – seeds grown on grass throughout the island. Over the next few years, those beads’ magnetism would slowly lure her away from her 9-5 job, and into a life she had never envisioned. By 2014, Stephenson had dedicated herself full-time to Story & Myth – her line of sacred jewelry made with a mix of Job’s Tears, semi-precious and precious stones, and charms.
Empowerment, freedom and liberation
Story & Myth is more than just jewelry or fashion, Stephenson says. Each piece is made of elements that are widely regarded across cultures, nations and generations as symbolic of empowerment, freedom and liberation.
The line’s production process is laced with good vibes, altruism and environmental consciousness. Stephenson first sources natural, recycled Job’s Tears seeds from a local farmer who is able to use the supplemental income to help care for her family. The beads are then taken to a group of artisans, all persons with disabilities, who enjoy the meditative, therapeutic nature of bead-stringing, and also appreciate the much-needed financial support provided.
Each bead is strung with delicate reverence. The number of beads used, and the special meanings of both the charms and stones, are all held with great importance in a quest to steer positive energy to wearers.
The kind of profound detail Stephenson and her team pour into their work is an anomaly in our modern age of fast-fashion, unconscious consumerism and mass manufacturing. As a trained artist, it’s as if she is slowly painting a masterpiece, spending time on each stroke of her brush to ensure the final product meaningfully delivers a multitude of uplifting messages around culture, gender, history, healing and the environment.
Unearthed something extraordinary
The brand evolved organically and was birthed foremost from Stephenson’s love of cultural tales, folklore and mythology, and how she sees the seeds’ essence as representative of many stories and life lessons. At first, she didn’t know how bead-making could be a sustainable business model. But, she followed her curiosity, took steps in faith, and even though sales at the beginning were miniscule, she carried on, led by the feeling that she had unearthed something extraordinary that would one day be embraced by the world.
Found around the globe
“I always thought these beads were the most amazing things. I still get really excited when I see them”, she shares. Years later, the world has indeed caught on. Through a steady stream of online sales, and availability in outlets around the U.S. and Caribbean, Story & Myth beads can be found stacked on wrists and necks across the globe.
Story & Myth’s ever-growing success has surely been bolstered by a sturdy set of values, which are both the roots and grounding force that nourish Stephenson’s drive. Those same ideals also make Story & Myth expansive, inclusive and meaningful, and form the pulse that beckons its flourishing community of like-minded consumers.
Undoubtedly, Story & Myth exemplifies the notion that when business is built on a profound, human-centric foundation, the trajectory for success is limitless. As it moves forward on its track of expansion, the brand continues to break barriers and clear pathways for other Caribbean makers, encouraging them to thrive boldly through a socially, culturally and environmentally conscious vision. Story & Myth is a true testimony that business can be a force for good.