Beads for a cause

Wrist­bands al­low wear­ers to show sup­port for char­i­ties

The Citizens' Voice - - BUSINESS - BY DAVID SIN­GLE­TON STAFF WRITER

The com­pany’s name may be Brav­ery, but Corey Ware thinks what he’s re­ally sell­ing is to­geth­er­ness.

Whether you or some­one you know is bat­tling a dis­ease like breast can­cer or leukemia, or you sim­ply want to dis­play your affin­ity for a char­i­ta­ble cause, Ware said the con­cept be­hind his wrist­band busi­ness is summed up in its mar­ket­ing slo­gan: “To­gether we are brave.”

“It’s kind of like a sup­port sys­tem,” the 23-year-old en­tre­pre­neur from Clarks Sum­mit said. “It’s a way of say­ing, ‘I sup­port you with what you are go­ing through.’ It’s about not go­ing through things alone. It’s be­ing brave to­gether.”

Launched in July and so far strictly an online en­deavor, Brav­ery pro­duces and sells eight dif­fer­ent beaded wrist­bands, each rep­re­sent­ing a dif­fer­ent char­ity. Ware donates 10 per­cent from each $12 wrist­band sale through his web­site — ShopBrav­ery.com — to the des­ig­nated char­ity.

Ware, a 2012 grad­u­ate of Abing­ton Heights High School who works full time as a man­ager at a fast-food restau­rant, said he al­ways wanted to start a busi­ness but even he seemed a bit sur­prised at how quickly Brav­ery came to­gether.

“It re­ally just hap­pened in a mat­ter of weeks,” he said.

Al­though he had never made jew­elry or bracelets be­fore, he set­tled al­most at the out­set on the wrist­band idea and de­cided there should be a char­i­ta­ble com­po­nent.

“From there, it was like, OK, what is go­ing to be spe­cial about the wrist­bands?” he said.

He con­sid­ered sil­i­cone bracelets, sim­i­lar to the pop­u­lar LiveStrong wrist­bands that sup­port can­cer treat­ment and re­search, with dif­fer­ent col­ors for dif­fer­ent char­i­ties.

“But I wanted to make some­thing that I would wear, so I picked the beads,” Ware said. “The name kind of just came af­ter that — Brav­ery beads.”

He also kept the color con­cept. Al­though ev­ery Brav­ery wrist­band is made mostly with light- or dark-col­ored wooden beads, each has a sin­gle bead of a dif­fer­ent color for the char­ity it rep­re­sents.

For ex­am­ple, the Na­tional Breast Can­cer Foun­da­tion wrist­band has a pink bead. Autism Speaks is dark blue. Or­ange rep­re­sents the Lu­pus Foun­da­tion of Amer­ica. Ware chose white for the Hu­mane So­ci­ety of the United States be­cause he used to have two white dogs.

Ware, who makes each wrist­band by hand, said there was some trial and er­ror along the way.

He ini­tially pur­chased beads for the bracelets from craft stores but was not happy with the re­sults. He quickly switched to higher-qual­ity beads that he found online.

“This was new to me,” he said. “There were a lot of things I had to learn and a lot of things I am still learn­ing about it.”

Ware said he con­tacted the eight char­i­ties and got their ap­proval, in­clud­ing the right to use their names.

In the mean­time, he se­cured a do­main name through GoDaddy and started build­ing his web­site us­ing the ecom­merce plat­form Shopify.

Ware, who has a back­ground in art, came up with the Brav­ery logo and did most of the web­site de­sign him­self. He said he is for­tu­nate to have a lot of friends who are pho­tog­ra­phers and were able to help with the site con­tent.

JA­SON FARMER / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Corey Ware of Clarks Sum­mit holds some of the beaded wrist­bands that his com­pany, Brav­ery, pro­duces and sells. Each wrist­band rep­re­sents a dif­fer­ent char­ity.

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