Renowned Winnipeg jewelry designer Hilary Druxman is helping Winnipeg’s front-line non-profit organizations get through the COVID-19 pandemic in style.

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Opinion

Renowned Winnipeg jewelry designer Hilary Druxman is helping Winnipeg’s front-line non-profit organizations get through the COVID-19 pandemic in style.

Druxman has designed a new silver necklace to raise funds for local non-profit groups providing food, shelter, health and social services to the city’s most vulnerable residents during the outbreak.

"It was directly created as a response to the pandemic," Druxman explained Tuesday. "For every 100 necklaces sold, we’re donating $1,000." The pieces are sent by courier or through the mail, without a delivery charge to the buyers.

Her "Pause-itivity" necklace features a sterling silver "pause symbol," those two little vertical bars viewers see when they hit the pause button on their TV remote control.

The designer said the symbol reflects how the global pandemic has forced society to hit the pause button, and serves as a reminder to maintain a positive attitude while physically distancing and hunkering down at home.

"It gives us, as a small business, the opportunity to give back to the community," she said. "I’m thinking of the people who are going hungry and don’t have the resources they need.

"And the people who are out there supporting them and delivering food and volunteering. I’m so grateful for what they are doing … It’s great we are able to manufacture something that can help and send a message of hope."

RUTH BONNEVILLE  /  WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 

The “pause-itivity” necklace features a sterling silver "pause symbol," those two little vertical bars viewers see when they hit the pause button on their TV remote control.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS The “pause-itivity” necklace features a sterling silver "pause symbol," those two little vertical bars viewers see when they hit the pause button on their TV remote control.

Druxman’s store at 258 McDermot Avenue has been closed by virus restrictions, but is still taking orders online (hilarydruxman.com), by email (hilary@hilarydruxman.com) and over the phone (204-947-1322).

She said almost 300 of the $40 fundraising necklaces have been sold since April 8, allowing her to donate $1,000 to Siloam Mission and another $1,000 to the Winnipeg Harvest food bank. The next $1,000 donation will be directed today to Lighthouse Mission.

It’s far from the first time Druxman — who started creating jewelry in the basement of a home in River Heights and whose name is now recognized around the world — has designed a special necklace to support a local charity.

In the last 10 years, she has raised more than $500,000 for local organizations through her Good Works program, wherein she creates and sells one-of-a-kind pieces for everyone from the Assiniboine Park Zoo to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to the Never Alone Foundation, created by former Blue Bomber boss Lyle Bauer to support cancer patients.

"We’ve done at least 80 to 100 pieces for different organizations," Druxman estimated. "Typically, every year we donate over $50,000 to various non-profits. We create different unique pieces and use the organization’s logo to raise awareness and provide a message for them.

"We try to create the piece not to look like their logo, but to speak to the work they are doing."

RUTH BONNEVILLE  /  WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 

Goldsmith Gene Mayoralgo works on the necklaces in Druxman's studio.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Goldsmith Gene Mayoralgo works on the necklaces in Druxman's studio.

The design for her pandemic-inspired "Pause-itivity" necklace came from a casual chat she had at the kitchen table while isolating in her St. Vital home with her oldest son, George, 19.

"When I was having a conversation with George, I said right now this is a pause. Let’s try to make it the very best pause we can. I said I’d like to come up with something that would have that message for people," she said.

"My son said, ‘What about the pause sign?’ And I said that’s what we’re doing right now. In a moment when we pause, I always see there are benefits — being more in the moment, taking time to read, taking time to just rest. See this time of staying at home as a pause and find the good aspects in it."

The mother of two — who is 56 but laughingly stresses she was born in a leap year, which means she is technically 14 — said her team will keep making the pandemic-inspired necklace to support local non-profits as long as customers are willing to buy them.

"There are people ordering (them) from all over Canada and the U.S., as well as local Winnipeggers," she said. "This one we created out of just going through all of this.

"Instead of doing it for just one organization, we wanted to be able to support all the groups that are helping out and providing food and clothing for those in need.

"The community means everything to me and this business. For 26 years, to be able to stay in business, it’s remarkable the support. I’m a proud Winnipegger. I have so much to be grateful for here in our city. We are very fortunate to live here.

"With what we have been able to donate, it makes us feel very proud about our work."

Economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis forced her to lay off about seven staff members, but Druxman is determined her business will remain standing when restrictions lift.

"It (COVID-19) hit us all hard, all the businesses in the area, myself included," she noted. "I think we will survive this. I’m determined to survive and get through this."

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Doug Speirs

Doug Speirs
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