It’s what everyone is asking, or wondering about asking. Like every American, we here at MAKE MADE are really still in shock. We’re a bit confused, more than a bit uneasy, and glued to the news.
When we opened our brick & mortar back in November, we thought we’d thought of everything. We visualized every worst-case-weird-things-that-could-go-wrong scenario that we could think of. Pandemic was NOT one of them. We, like all small (micro, really) business owners, have serious questions about where our next rent payment is coming from. Fortunately, we don’t have paid employees yet (not even ourselves – that’s a topic for another day), so we’re lucky that we haven’t had to make some of the hard calls that many small businesses have in regards to how to support or maintain employees. We’re too new for that.
As we watch in disbelief, the chaos around us continues to unfold. We’re left feeling pretty helpless. We’ve closed our doors to the public and canceled our group classes. But…We’re makers. We MAKE things. It’s a bizarre reality to leave the jeweler’s bench to talk with clients via Skype and set far off deadlines because we don’t know what will happen next. It’s strange to tell students we’ll continue…sometime months from now. It’s even stranger to feel idle. With few pieces feeling like a priority, and not feeling particularly creative, our work in metal is feeling a bit too self-fulfilling these days. We’re struggling with an overwhelming need to feel more useful.
Again, we are MAKERS. We aren’t doctors, nurses or manufacturers of disposable goods that can physically help right now. Silver, gold and diamonds are a far stretch from tangible goods that will make a purposeful dent in our current situation.
The things we make are pretty, shiny, sparkly things that make people feel good and celebrate special life events… things that some consider frivolous, and are unarguably a luxury for many…things that don’t compare with the current problems surrounding health and basic needs like toilet paper shortages, lacking hospital supplies, income loss, and the fear not having enough food to last two or more weeks. So, how on Earth do we help? Who do we help? When will we even know who needs help the most? What can WE do, personally, as individuals, while we’re hunkered down in waiting?
We problem solve, and we MAKE. That’s what we know. It’s what we do. We identify a problem and we try to wrap our head around it ten different ways, and we try to think of the one best way we might come to a solution – in this case, to be able to contribute. That’s what we’re doing now: making an effort, in the only way we know how given our current circumstances, available resources and our skill set.
It is out of a hopeful spirit that we have conceptualized a new project: A project designed as an attempt to help financially, as best we can. This small gesture
based on the materials and processes we know, is aimed at contributing funds quickly to those in our local community who are financially or otherwise affected by this crisis. We hope that this project will appeal to our audience in a strong enough way to spark their individual desires to help: Help a small business make a difference, and help send some funds where they’re desperately needed. It will come down to individuals, and we believe we can always join together in small ways to make a collective difference. For the sake of transparency: please know that we, as a brand new business, have no spare funds to simply donate large sums of money. All that we can do is encourage our local friends and community members to support our effort to raise some. We love our city, and we’re encouraged by some of the support we’ve already seen around us since this COVID thing arrived. We’re hoping we can prompt just a little more aid from those we know who might be sitting at home, on their phones and computers, wondering how they could possibly help.
Having said all of that, we introduce our newest pretty, sparkly thing – a collection inspired by the beautiful city and community that we love, and intended to help during a crisis none of us was prepared for – the Liberty Collection. We're partnering with United Way of Greenville County so that they may use 50% of the funds generated toward their COVID-19 response.
These pieces will be offered now, on a pre-order basis, in order to quickly shuffle funds to out to our local charity partner, United Way of Greenville County, as quickly as we can pre-sell them.
Each piece will be handmade in Sterling Silver or 14K Gold by us, in our local downtown Greenville jewelry shop. We will begin fabrication as soon as orders roll in, and will continue unless (until?) we’re told we can no longer work in our space and must temporarily remain at home. If this happens, we’ll keep taking orders for as long as folks are compelled to contribute, and we’ll pick back up just as soon as we can get back to work. We’ll continue to pass funds along to our partner, United Way of Greenville County, as we receive them. The time it takes to produce each made-to-order piece will depend on how many orders we receive, as well as the way this pandemic unfolds. We're estimating a turn around time of 2-4 weeks from time of initial order to finished, shipped product.
How exactly does it work?
We knew you’d want to know! We, Danielle and Katie of MAKE MADE jewelry, will fabricate your beautiful new pieces of jewelry, right here in downtown Greenville, and we will not pay ourselves personally to do so. Instead, our breakdown of your purchase will be as follows:
50% -- Our Costs. This amount of the sale of each piece will simply pay for the costs of production, including replenishing any materials and expendables used in the creation of the piece. We estimate about half to three quarters of this portion will pay directly for Sterling Silver or Gold. The rest will go toward our overhead costs to remain open, including any transaction fees we must pay for accepting online payments. No portion of this will go toward our own personal incomes.
50% -- A donation equal to half the cost of the piece will be made to United Way of Greenville.
It is important to us that this project actually make a solid difference, while still supporting our personal mission. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve tossed around the idea of donating 10, or 20, or some other percentage of online sales toward this cause, but we ultimately felt like it was not good enough, and felt too self-serving.
Why not just offer an online sale and make up the difference in donations?
This one’s important -- We do not feel that it is in the best interest for our represented artists to devalue their work by offering a discount, particularly now when they are all being hit so hard financially. With show cancellations nationwide, many of our artists aren’t sure where their next check will come from. They depend on galleries like ours, now more than ever, and their work is worth every single penny.
We also felt that these options just weren’t personal enough. We really needed a strong call to Greenvillians – and what better way to do so, than create a completely original piece that celebrates our joint love for the place we call home? This way, we don’t have to discount our artists’ work, we can voluntarily make the pieces ourselves, and we can offer a very unique and specific piece to you that will have personal meaning AND will help those who desperately need it right now. It sounded like a win-win-win to us, so that’s how we landed where we are right now. We hope you share our vision, and you'll consider purchasing one of these beautiful designs right now!