Every day since early March, Irene Neuwirth has worried about the future of her eponymous jewelry brand, with her team of 30 at the top of the list. The Los Angeles-based designer, a red carpet favorite among actresses like Sarah Paulson, Tracee Ellis Ross and Rachel Brosnahan, is far from alone in considering how the current stay-at-home mandates caused by the spread of Covid-19 could have an impact on his business. But Neuwirth is determined to stay positive.
“We were just recovering from the Barneys bankruptcy, so being hit by our store closures was not easy,” she admits. “But something like that also requires you to be creative. When I started my business, I had this excellent photographic memory on every part purchased by our customers. So it allowed me to catch my breath and reconnect with customers; we are definitely making it one of our priorities.
Neuwirth is one of more than 150 jewelry designers and retailers who have stepped up their philanthropic programs designed to meet global and local needs. Inspired by the Century City boutique her brand opened in October, Parisian jewelry designer Valerie Messika attributed 20% of sales through the end of April to this location – via WhatsApp, email, and social media messaging – at After-School All Stars. , the Los Angeles-based program that offers after-school programs to low-income children. New York-based watch and jewelry retailer Material Good devoted 10% of its online sales to the New York Food Bank, while Los Angeles-based designer Jennifer Meyer affected 20% of sales through its website and Instagram to Baby2Baby, which increases funds to provide diapers, clothing and other essentials for children from birth to age 12 living in poverty.
“In these uncertain times, my team and I want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to help those affected by Covid-19,” said Meyer, who counts Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington among her clients, in a Instagram of March 17. Publish. “For the past 3 years, I have been on the board of @ baby2baby and have seen first-hand how this organization moves into crisis action. Children are in urgent need of basic necessities today. Parents are out of work, earn no money, cannot afford items like infant formula, food or diapers for their children.
With Covid-19 having a significant impact on Italy, large luxury-focused companies with Italian brands under their umbrellas were among the first to adopt philanthropic programs. At the beginning of March, Bulgari made a donation of 100,000 euros to the research department of the Lazzaro Spallanzani hospital in Rome, funds intended for the purchase of a necessary 3D microscope. Soon after, Bulgari’s parent company LVMH announced that it would switch to hand sanitizer production, employing the factories where expensive fragrances are made for Dior, Givenchy and Guerlain. On April 1, Bulgari announced that it was also using its Italy-based fragrance factory for the production of hand sanitizer gel, with thousands of bottles due to be shipped to seven hospitals in Switzerland in the coming weeks.
Kering, which owns Italian houses such as Gucci, Brioni and jeweler Pomellato, has committed € 2 million to hospitals and health programs in four Italian regions heavily affected by the epidemic: Lombardy, Tuscany, Veneto and Lazio. Meanwhile, Swiss conglomerate Richemont, which includes Buccellati, Piaget and Van Cleef & Arpels among its luxury brands, has donated $ 1.4 million to similar programs.
In early April, three jewelry houses announced donations of $ 1 million each. Tiffany & Co. has committed $ 750,000 to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and $ 250,000 to the New York Community Trust’s NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund. That same week, the David Yurman Family Foundation announced a $ 1 million pledge to coronavirus-related causes, with initial funds intended to help programs in New York City, which has seen more confirmed cases than any other American city. . “We sincerely hope this will reduce the impact on our friends and neighbors,” Yurman said in a statement regarding the donation. In London, the Graff Foundation also pledged $ 1 million to the WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, which supports both patients and frontline workers with care and supplies while also working on the development of vaccines, tests and treatments.
Other creators involved include Florence-based Carolina Bucci, who pledges 25% of online sales until the end of April to the Coronavirus Emergency Fund at Florence Careggi Hospital. For parents looking for fun, Bucci has also launched “Isolate & Create,” a series of pages that can be downloaded and printed, with coloring and origami activities for children and adults.
Italian jewelry brand Roberto Coin also confirmed on March 20 that it would get involved, with 20% of sales of Coin’s Circle of Life diamond pendants being donated equally to two programs to ensure food arrives between the hands of those in need. : Meal on Wheels America and No Kid Hungry. The pendants are priced between $ 640 and $ 3,700, and the program is exclusive to sales through the Roberto Coin website.
“This is an unprecedented time for all of us, and we must remember those who need it most,” said Peter Webster, president and co-founder of Roberto Coin. Robb Report. “Our Circle of Life diamond pendant has always been one of our most popular designs in the United States. [Meals on Wheels America and No Kid Hungry] both do an amazing job and make a difference every day in people’s lives.
Based in Washington, DC, the No Kid Hungry campaign has also been identified by a group of independent jewelry brands to raise funds through sales. Using the hashtag #Linked, the joint initiative is the brainchild of IHPR and Danielle Gadi PR, two public relations agencies that represent a wide range of independent jewelers. IHPR’s Gadi and Jen Lowitz said in a joint statement: “Once we learned about the school systems being shut down, we immediately started thinking about ways to use our roles as connectors between brands to do whatever. whether to help. We quickly created works of art and asked our clients to participate.
The program started on March 14 with 40 brands; By early April, #Linked had 128 jewelry designers, a list that stretches beyond Neuwirth to include Ana Khouri, Anita Ko, Jemma Wynne, Andrea Fohrman, Nak Armstrong and others. Designers involved in #Linked initially pledged between 10-30% of sales through their individual websites until March 31, with many extending beyond that date with public schools remaining closed.
“It’s really great to see the jewelry community coming together for the greater good at a time when we all feel helpless at home,” said Emily Satloff, founder and designer of Larkspur & Hawk, who donates 30% of sales through its website. and social media at No Kid Hungry. “It is important that individuals, who have the means and the presence on social media, make known the people who need urgent help right now. If our Instagram post results in at least one donation, then we’ve helped make a difference to feed the nearly 22 million low-income children in communities across the country who depend on the free and low-cost meals they eat. they receive at school.
Shalini Kasliwal, CEO of Sanjay Kasliwal of The Gem Palace, the US arm of the famous Indian jeweler, agrees. “Now more than ever, I’m so proud to be a part of this jewelry community,” she says, adding that The Gem Palace will donate 30% of all sales via Instagram and email for at least two months ( the retailer is also currently creating an e-commerce site). “It amazes me to see all of my industry colleagues and designer colleagues come together and support No Kid Hungry during this time of need. I hope this initiative inspires others to help in any way they can.
Feeding America is also attracting the attention of designers. New York-based jeweler Kwiat donates 10% of the proceeds from the sale of select platinum and diamond models from his Kwiat Star collection to the non-profit organization, which operates a network of food banks, pantries and meal programs that serve approximately 40 million people. Americans. Designer Kendra Scott donates 50% of her $ 40 Everlane bracelets to Feeding America through her online Shop for Good program; Based in Austin, Texas, Scott is launching the program with a donation equivalent to 500,000 meals to Feeding America. Scott also encourages customers and fans to host virtual “Kendra Gives Back” programs – codes are given to organizers that allow them to raise funds through sales, with 20% of the profits going to the charity of their choice. .
Neuwirth, which donates 20% of sales through its website and social media, notes that a program like No Kid Hungry is an easy decision. “This won’t be the last program we give to, but we love that it can have an immediate impact,” she says. “And we see it working – customers really get it and come to the site to make a purchase. It was both moving and humiliating.