Finally, a jewelry line for charity that’s gorgeous, original and made from consciously-selected sources. And the creator is starting a social revolution through her solutionary gifting circles (read on).
By Jane Hess Collins
Missing Links creator Lisa Lindo says her spare bedroom is crammed floor-to-ceiling with jewelry beads from around the world. Photo courtesy of Lisa Lindo.
It’s 17 degrees outside. Lisa Lindo, the CEO and designer of Missing Links jewelry, and I are sitting in the lobby of the Hotel Monaco in Old Town Alexandria with her producer friend Melissa Balin. A fire crackled behind us and the BK, the hotel doorman, kept us fueled with wine, water and coffee. Hotel guests stop by to ogle at Lindo’s one-of-a-kind necklaces, strung with beads of Czechoslovakian glass, elk horn, rectangular freshwater pearls and gold-infused glass, which she has strategically placed across the coffee table. Shopping for good has never been so fun.
“You can buy this on eBay,” Lindo announces to the admirers as she holds up her creations. “Just put ‘Lisa Lindo‘ or ‘Missing Links‘ in the search box.”
Lindo’s creations have already been noticed by LAFashionWeek.com and worn by Hollywood celebrities, who Lindo knew from her previous life as the president/CEO of Acme Talent and Literary. As a premier talent agent, Lindo represented Oscar-nominee William H. Macy and the late, great Jack Palance, but after ten years she was ready for new adventures. Waving goodbye to Tinseltown, Lindo lived and travelled across Europe, Bali and eventually landed in Hawaii before moving to Washington, DC.
She started collecting beads and making jewelry as a way to relax, and knew she was onto something when people insisted on buying her pieces off of her neck and ears. “I thought that was strange,” she said. “Because if I like something on someone I would say ‘can you make me that?’”
After a few years of creating jewelry for family and friends, Lindo launched her Missing Links jewelry line last month on eBay, Capitol Hemp and through private parties.
Why call it “Missing Links”? Many reasons, but mainly because Lindo sees her jewelry line as the link among art, philanthropy and sustainability. Art, certainly. The necklaces (and bracelets, dog collars and matching anklets for the fashionista owners) are made of semi-precious or exotic materials, an upscale alternative to the necklace-from-recycled-tires trend a few years back.
Sustainable? Check. Lindo chooses materials only if using them does not harm to the surrounding environment or ecosystem. And her primary sales venue, eBay, with advertising via Facebook, Twitter and Jumo.com, minimize her own carbon footprint.
Twenty-five percent of all eBay jewelry sales support a different MissionFish charity each month. Photo courtesy of Lisa Lindo.
Philanthropy? The best part of the jewelry line is that it’s just the teaser. Lindo’s real passion is to raise awareness rather than to raise money, or, as she likes to say, create a giving community with sparkle through her solutionary gifting circles.
A solutionary is someone who thinks of solutions, Lindo said, and a solutionary gifting circle (Lindo is in the process of trade marking the term), is “the Tupperware meet- up of the twenty-first century which links productivity with philanthropy.” In other words, Lindo wants companies to adopt her business strategy of leveraging their product to do the greatest good.
Leading by example, Lindo donates twenty-five percent of her jewelry sales on eBay to one of their MissionFish charities each month. Then the leveraging begins. The jewelry draws attention to the selected charity, and her blog describes her personal stories behind the jewelry, promotes the featured charity and offers suggestions on how readers can support the charity’s mission.
Lindo believes that while most of us want to do good, a perceived lack of impact might stop some of us from taking that step. So while she would like to sell her jewelry, Lindo really wants the buyer to create a community service project to support the charity she showcases. That, she said, moves the purchase from a donation to a groundswell. And truth be told, if an eBay browser passes on the jewelry but is influenced to do some good, that’s a sale in her book.
Jane Hess Collins helps and encourages people to give back through her writing, speaking, coaching and workshops. She also established game nights for at-risk families throughout the country. You can contact her at www.getoutandgiveback.com.