Z Life: Compassion + Fashion = STEM DESIGNS

STEM. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the word Stem is defined as: a central part of something from which other parts can develop or grow, or which forms a support.

Lovely, isn’t it? I adore the word. The definition is so apropos for life—family, work, community, friends, innovation—it’s endless, really. It was the word STEM, that first caught my eye displayed above a stylish array of bangles, bracelets, cuffs, and earrings—rich with texture and color—all good vibes that I couldn’t resist on a random afternoon.

I stood at the mix of jewelry for sale before me for quite some time. Falling in love with the on-point, edgy, fashion-forward, yet affordable wrist and ear-candy designs. I noticed a blend of vibrant materials that creatively juxtaposed metal and stone. All original yet similar looks and elements popping up on social media, in-store, and mags that I follow and consider to be “leading-trend.”

stem designsIntrigued, I quickly googled STEM DESIGNS and fell further in love. A myriad of jewelry in varying materials (14k gold, rose gold, silver) kept my attention. Seriously yummy pieces I could imagine wearing and/or gifting—including a tease about the company’s forthcoming men’s line (because who doesn’t love a confident, stylish man in a bracelet?). I needed to know more about the cool minds behind STEM DESIGNS. I’m glad I dug deeper. Oh, how I love when fashion and socially conscious do-gooders collide…

photo-3-autism-exOn its home page STEM DESIGNS includes a connection to Autism Awareness. A cause founders, Stephanie Langkow and Emily Horak, have woven deep into their jewelry business model over the past two years. What once began as the creation of a single bracelet to help a friend, turned into a passion to assist those with autism in our Valley and communities across North America. Stephanie and Emily make beaded items like this to help raise funds and awareness for autism. The bracelets retail for $35 and the founders donate fifty-percent of each designated autism awareness piece to organizations such as Seeds For Autism and others. And, they are making big strides. Come Autism Awareness Month in April, Stephanie and Emily will debut a new bracelet for their Autism Awareness line to help support their cause. Bold colors, solid quality, and a new design will add to their charity collection. Look for the new piece on my Insta @zenobia.mertel and STEM DESIGNS @shopstemdesigns soon.

Here’s another reason to fall deeper for STEM DESIGNS. Stephanie and Emily also support a local Valley no-kill animal shelter, Healing Hearts. The founders have a soft-spot for animals and volunteer/work to support the charity by donating portions of the company’s sales to Healing Hearts as well. Sigh, so in love.

Sidebar: While working on this story, my 10-year-old son asked me what I was writing about next for Z Life. I told him about the rad jewelry line but also shared how the founders were doing what they love while creating positive change for others. My son immediately wanted to know more about Healing Hearts. We are now exploring how he can get involved with the charity. My heart grows so happy when community do-gooders inspire others—especially littles. Totally restores my faith in humanity!?

Chatting it up with the founders, I asked what’s hot for spring 2017. Mommy-and-me sets will be plentiful, new styles for earrings are on the horizon, the men’s line is coming soon (think rings and bracelets), and softer colors will round-out some of the women’s designs for the next season. Pieces will remain affordable, while quality continues to be paramount. Most items retail from $20-70 and some can be found in boutiques across the Valley with the full collection available online. Stephanie and Emily create custom pieces on request as well. Crafting from their hearts and mixing elements to produce signature, fashion-forward jewelry inspires the founders to keep growing and helping others along way.

I admire so much about STEM DESIGNS. Perhaps most of all, the company’s moniker. Subtlety encouraging us all to be—a central part of something from which other parts can develop or grow, or which forms a support.

STEM UP—Compassion + fashion rule!