At first thought, even the hint that wholesale breast cancer jewelry has anything to do with saving lives sound preposterous. But before we rush to judgment, let’s take a look at the development of pink ribbon and breast cancer jewelry from the beginning.
RECENT HISTORY OF RIBBON LOOPS WITH SYMBOLIC MEANING
Anyone that remembers the release of Tie a Yellow Ribbon round the Ole Oak Tree is pretty close to the beginning of meaningful ribbons in recent history. It was 1973 and the song quickly went to the top of the charts. The story was about a convict being released and going home on a bus. Not knowing whether his family wanted him back, he sent a letter to tie a yellow ribbon round the ole oak tree if they wanted him to come home. Otherwise he wouldn’t get off the bus. When the bus passed the house the tree was covered with yellow ribbons.
The Hostage Crisis revived the yellow ribbons in 1979 as a message of love and concern for the hostages. It was also a message of American resolve to those that were holding them.
A little more than 10 years later Charlotte Haley took on an enormous task in the dining room of her home—another project built on meaningful ribbons. She started a grass roots effort to get the National Cancer Society to increase funding for a breast cancer cure. She made narrow peach colored ribbons forming a loop. They were mailed out with a message that only 5% of The Cancer Society’s budget went for a breast cancer cure.
BEGINNING OF THE PINK RIBBON FOR BREAST CANCER AWARENESS
Pink entered the picture in late 1990 with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation handing out pink visors for The Run for a Cure in New York City.
In 1991 Alexandra Penney, the editor of Self Magazine ran an edition dedicated to Breast Cancer as a tribute to their founding editor that died from breast cancer in 1988. She followed up with a second edition in 1992 and this time teamed with Evelyn Lauder, a senior vice president of Estee Lauder who was herself a breast cancer survivor. Evelyn agreed to spread awareness nationwide by placing pink ribbons on every Estee Lauder showcase across the country. That year Estee Lauder revved up awareness using their showcases to hand out 1.5 million pink ribbons.
GROWTH OF BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MOVEMENT
A movement of fundraising and awareness was mushrooming. Carol Cone, who is now with Edelman, is a major player in the growth of awareness. She describes her career as spending 30 years “creating public private partnerships for social good”. This turned into a major boon for breast cancer awareness when she brought Avon into the cause. One motivating discovery of her firm was the fact that a majority of consumers will switch brands for one that is dedicated to a worthy cause.
Support for breast cancer awareness expanded to companies and franchises as diverse as KFC and the NFL. These contributions along with all the money raised in fundraisers are critically important for research, treatment, and early discovery procedures.
OBJECTIONS TO COMMERCIAL INVOLVEMENT IN BREAST CANCER AWARENESS
An objection is sometimes raised that commercial involvement in breast cancer awareness is more about profit than about compassion. Charlotte Haley mentioned above certainly felt this way. When Self Magazine wanted to join their efforts with hers, she refused because of commercial involvement.
Barbara Brenner that led the Breast Cancer Action group had plenty of objections to commercial involvement. The New York Times article announcing her death was titled, Barbara Brenner, Breast Cancer Iconoclast, Dies at 61. The article lists many of her objections including an attack on The Susan G. Komen for the Cure group for teaming up with KFC, claiming fried chicken can lead to obesity and cause cancer.
Is this a house divided? In all fairness, Evelyn Lauder of Estee Lauder, responsible for promoting breast cancer awareness nationwide, was herself a victim of breast cancer. And Avon brought on-board by Carol Cone has raised and donated more than 780 million through 2012. It’s a little hard to think it’s all about cold profit when we are talking about moms, wives, sisters, and daughters.
DOES ALL THIS PINK RIBBON ACTIVITY DO ANY GOOD?
The American Cancer Society provides very good statistics to answer this question. The breast cancer awareness movement began in 1990 and a graph on their website shows a declining slope in death rates for every race from then until today. The report states death rate increased by .04% per year from 1970 to 1990. Breast cancer awareness began in 1990 and from then until 2007 the death rate decreased 2.2% per year.
One important reason is awareness and screenings. A chart on their site shows what funding and awareness can do. It divides women in to economic classes and gives the percentage of those that had screening in the last two years. Staggering results show in 1987 those that had screenings among the poor and near poor was around 18%. By 2010, the figures had increased to 49.1% for the poor and 45.3% for the near poor. This is awareness and fundraising at work. Clearly, all the activity is paying off, not counting progress made in research.
BACK TO THE QUESTION—IS WHOLESALE BREAST CANCER JEWELRY SAVING LIVES?
For the most part, wholesale breast cancer jewelry as well as accessories is going to retailers in small business. The women that show up for the walks, runs, and other fundraisers are shopping there. The displays in these small businesses are raising awareness and the customers buying their pink ribbon jewelry and accessories are using fashion to broadcast the message everywhere they go.
Small businesses can’t make the contributions major corporations can, but they account for more than half the businesses in America and the breast cancer awareness jewelry and accessories that women are wearing across America is mainly coming from them. They are a major player in raising awareness and raising awareness is a big part of that dropping death rate reported in the statistics of The American Cancer Society.
PINK RIBBON JEWELRY AND ACCESSORIES NEED TO BE TASTEFUL
Small business demands products with good taste in this sensitive market. Of all the niche markets our company handles, we make the greatest effort in selecting merchandise with class for this market. Pink ribbons, angels, and encouraging phrases deliver this kind of tasteful jewelry and accessories.
Jewelry and accessories also need to be eye-catching. Pink adds that soft feminine color often teamed with the shine of silver plating. Bracelets engraved with encouraging phrases send a positive message. Simplicity of satin and chiffon scarves with patterns of pink ribbons are very feminine.
The soft pink color is perfect for the awareness movement. According to Think before You Pink, it was chosen by Estee Lauder in 1992, near the beginning of the movement.
October is nearly here and events nationwide will be involved in fundraising and awareness. The media will cover these events and add to the impact of awareness. But quietly in the background, small business will be providing jewelry and accessories to the people essential to making it happen. They will make a big impact of their own and of equal importance that will go nearly unnoticed.