Jewelry stores that do custom work often make couples’ jewelry dreams come true for a lifetime together. But a Milford, MI based jeweler is making jewelry that will make wishes come true for children with life-threatening medical conditions with a bracelet designed to benefit Make-A-Wish Foundation’s wish-granting work.
Cindi Rottermond, vice president of Rottermond Jewelers, and her staff have a history of successful campaigns and store events to benefit local and national charities. About a year ago when they were considering which charitable organization would benefit from the store’s 2012 year-long campaign, they decided on the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Michigan Chapter.
For Cindi, part of what tipped the scales in favor of Make-A-Wish Foundation is the group’s Michigan state office being located in Brighton, the city where Rottermond Jewelers has a second store location. “By working with Make-A-Wish Foundation here, it feels like a local non-profit,” says Cindi.
But personal events also weighed in on her decision. Her brother’s longtime friend died of Alzheimer’s disease in recent years. But the childhood friend’s family tragedy doesn’t stop there, with a daughter currently diagnosed with a life-threatening disease.
Rottermond Jewelers staff takes a very active role in their community. They contribute to local charities in various ways, from small contributions of jewelry for silent auctions, to more involved year-long campaigns where $10,000 is raised for a dedicated non-profit, which is the store’s 2012 goal for Make-A-Wish.
In the early planning phases Cindi and her staff wanted to create bracelets that would be sold in the store, with 100% of profits from each item sold going to the Foundation’s Michigan Chapter. Late in the fourth quarter of 2011 Cindi asked each staff member to submit bracelet design ideas.
Ten designs were submitted from her staff. Images of each were uploaded to Facebook for a vote to determine a short-list of two finalists. An e-mail blast of the designs was also sent to their client database. “There was a huge response from people in our markets when the design announcements were made,” says Cindi.
Cindi, her husband and business partner, and a Foundation representative were the final judges. The winner was a bracelet design featuring a silver tag inscribed with Make-A-Wish. An adjustable black Venetian cord completes the bracelet design. The bracelet is available in adjustable 6.75- and 8-inch sizes and sells for $99.
The Make-A-Wish bracelets were originally planned to be part of an in-store donation with 200 pieces produced earlier in the year. Just before Halloween, however, only about 65 bracelets were sold.
“We come from a small market, so in-store sales have not met our goal,” says Cindi. “We actually spent most of the summer and early fall months working with the Foundation to get permission to sell the bracelets online, which we started in early November.”
At press time it was too early to determine if an online distribution channel would increase sales as Cindi and her staff continue working toward their 2012 goal of raising $10,000 for the Foundation. But she has been able to raise awareness for the Foundation and her store’s bracelets at events throughout town.
“In September our Make-A-Wish bracelets were given to the winners and runners-up at the Milford car show,” says Cindi.
Additional bracelet events and contests include a contribution to a silent auction, with holiday parties and store sales events, as well as some social media-based events as part of a fourth quarter push.
Cindi is currently considering a Facebook event asking people that have purchased one of her store’s Foundation bracelets to photograph themselves wearing it at points of interest then uploading the images to the store’s Facebook page. Those with the most votes (“likes”) would be eligible for a gift card or jewelry prize.
In addition to bracelet sales, Cindi and her staff have organized a number of in-store and off-site events to raise money for the store’s 2012 goal of $10,000. But Cindi has her heart set on creating more Foundation awareness and money through bracelet sales.
“This has been a fun, creative way for us to raise money as a store and as a team,” says Cindi. “We’d like our bracelets to not only be worn and enjoyed as a casual piece of jewelry, but to serve as a constant reminder of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the kids whose dreams they make come true.”