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Charity by Design

Charity by Design

A few years ago I received my first Alex and Ani bracelet as a gift on my birthday.  Since then, my collection has bloomed as I've been learning more about the company and their message.  The pieces are cute, trendy, and some even help great causes.

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Alex and Ani launched Charity by Design in February 2011, showcasing an entire collection of jewelry pieces that help various causes by donating 20% of the purchase price to the associated charity.  The one that first stole my heart was the Prints of Love charm bangle, benefiting the ASPCA.  My obsession with my rescue pup is real, so when I saw this bracelet at an Alex and Ani store during a trip to Vegas, my heart screamed with joy.  Every time I make a purchase, I buy multiples because I know receiving that little black box with the rose gold heart can create a special moment.

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"We are proud to have donated over $50 million since 2011.  This is a huge milestone for the brand that happened very quickly, thanks to the support of our partners and fans," says Kate Gwiazdowski, Alex and Ani Senior Marketing and Communications Associate.

The apple didn't fall far from the tree.  Founder, CEO, and Chief Creative Officer Carolyn Rafaelian's dad had a jewelry manufacturing business and taught Carolyn and her siblings that creating opportunities and supporting others who create goodwill would generate a ripple effect that could positively impact the world for generations to come.  She took this to heart, creating a company that embodies her dad's ideas to a T. 

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I love being able to choose Alex and Ani pieces that I can identify with in any aspect of my life.  Whether it's a birthday, initials, someone's role as a mom, sister, or aunt, the religion you lean to, or even your ethnicity, there is an Alex and Ani charm for it. 

During my last trip to Vegas a month ago, I stopped by the store because at this point it's tradition, and was blown away when I saw the Forget-Me-Not Flower necklace.  I hadn't really seen many Alex and Ani necklaces before and when the sales girl told me the necklaces are adjustable... forget about it, I left the store with more than one!  The necklace can be worn at any length, from choker to a long pendant. 

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I was aware the founder is of Armenian descent, but I didn't realize it played such an important part in her pieces.  The flower represents remembrance and perseverance among Armenians to honor their ancestors who fought through and died in the genocide in 1915.

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"The Forget-Me-Not Flower is an opportunity for Carolyn to give back to her roots by working with the Armenia Fund, donating 20% of the purchase price to help transform the lives of Armenian families in need by providing them with a healthy place to live and thrive," explains Kate.  

Each Charity by Design piece is carefully designed to express the mission it is supporting, while still being nice enough to wear.  With each Charity by Design piece, a card is included that shares the charity's message.  The Alex and Ani team prides themselves on staying true to the individual organization's message. 

"The charity is involved in the process from start to finish, ensuring the resulting design and meaning card represents their values," says Kate. 

Celebrities like Kaley Cuoco, Mandy Moore, and Elizabeth Olsen teamed up with Alex and Ani earlier this year to create their own #celEBrate bracelet supporting the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation, where 100% of the proceeds went to the foundation.  Now, the Alex and Ani Butterfly necklace and charm bracelet supports this organization with 20% of the proceeds going towards helping find a cure for EB, a rare and debilitating genetic skin disorder. 

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Alex and Ani doesn't stop at the jewelry.  Team+Impact launched in 2014, and lets employees give back 32 hours of volunteer time each year to causes they are personally connected to or feel passionate about.  They've reached a whopping 10,000 volunteer hours!

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There are so many new pieces that come out throughout the year, it's hard to collect them all, but it's fun to try!  Most recently, Alex and Ani came out with the Life is Good charm benefiting Life is Good Kids Foundation, Music is Love benefiting VH1 Save the Music Foundation, Today is a Gift benefiting Team Red, White, and Blue, and the Tiger charm and necklace, supporting Project C.A.T. in collaboration with Discovery Communications.  My birthday is next week, so if anyone is wondering, I'll take all of the above.  In October, Alex and Ani will launch limited edition pieces just in time for the holidays.  Oh and guys, they now have you covered too with a men's line

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"Alex and Ani prides itself on being a meaning-based brand.  Although the design is important and is attractive to our customers, the words behind the design are what truly drives the message and connection between the company and the charity."

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