Sandy and Stevie D'Andrea, Jewels for Hope

Sandy D’Andrea founded Jewels For Hope, a handmade jewelry company, in 2009. The company creates specific lines of jewelry for a number of charitable organizations, and donates a portion of their profits to these causes. D’Andrea shared her experiences about starting a business on Your Story Exchange. If you’ve started a business, share you story here.

Reason for starting

I started Jewels for Hope when I was a caregiver to my mother who had Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia. The last year of her life hospice nurses came to my house to change her wound every day. That’s the one thing I couldn’t do.

I had left my job to take care of my mother, and during the downtime I started designing and making jewelry. The Hospice nurses saw my jewelry and wanted to buy it from me. The nurses were doing so much for us and I was so happy I could give them this jewelry as a sign of my gratitude. Jewels for Hope. And that got me thinking: Maybe I could start selling my jewelry online and donating a portion of the profits to Hospice? Soon after I started my oldest daughter, Stevie, joined.

It’s been non-stop ever since with TV interviews, magazine interviews, Oscars and Golden Globes gift bags, and coming soon MTV movie Awards Swag bags. We now donate to 13 different organizations, including Alzheimer’s, Michael J Fox, Born This Way, and so many more.

Biggest success story

I would say having Jennifer Love Hewitt pose with our Breast Cancer Awareness Necklace at the Golden Globes Gift Lounge this year. Or maybe being interviewed by the Hartford Courant, or that Jewels for Hope is going to be in Lifestyle and Charity Magazine this month. We’re so proud and excited of everything we are in. But really the biggest success is working with my daughter and having fun.

The one thing you would do differently

When we first started people would write us asking for a piece of jewelry for their cause. We got used so many times. We thought we were helping a cause and the cause didn’t even hear about Jewels for Hope. One time I saw a necklace we sent to help a foundation online for sale. We now pick and choose who to send to.