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Go Ask Mom

Made by Mom Gift Guide: Little Inspirations jewelry helps raise awareness of diseases, causes

Posted November 23, 2011

It's been nearly a year since we last heard from Melinda Hawkins, creator of the Little Inspirations jewelry line. We're catching up with her because she is part of our Made by Mom Gift Guide

Hawkins makes a variety of custom-made jewelry, but survivor and awareness pieces are a specialty. The jewelry brings attention to or honors those who suffer or died from a specific illness or issue. Hawkins creates jewelry for a wide range of causes and diseases - from specific kinds of cancer or mental health issues to sexual assault and stillbirth. They come in the colors of the various causes - purple, for instance, for domestic violence, or gray, for instance, for brain cancer. Melinda Hawkins Grandmother's illness inspires Raleigh mom's business

In the past year, she tells me, sales have doubled.

Hawkins has been busy adding awareness lines and new kinds of jewelry. New awareness lines include red and blue pieces to recognize congenital heart defects for children who are born with heart defects; teal and white for cervical cancer; and pink and blue for SIDS awareness. She's also expanded to include awareness purse and zipper pulls; bronze and copper jewelry; a Christian jewelry line; kids jewelry; and other bracelets and jewelry sets.

"I have been trying to include a mix of more affordable designs, as well as keeping some of my more intricate pieces going since the economy has been not so great for people," she wrote me. "I've even added a new technique for wire-wrapped jewelry to my list, which is a technique I've been working on for a while, but finally felt comfortable enough to add a few pieces to the website that I am really happy with."

She also has been working with nonprofits to design custom jewelry for them, including a nonprofit in Scotland that helps families with children with special needs.

And she continues to be involved in efforts to bring awareness to Aplastic anemia, a rare blood condition that took her grandmother's life. A bracelet she made to raise awareness of the condition eventually led to the creation of Little Inspirations.

Aplastic Anemia Awareness Week is the first week in December, she tells me. A new Aplastic anemia support group will begin in Raleigh soon.

"I'm excited to see how I can be a part of it," she tells me.

Learn more about Hawkins and her jewelry on her website and Facebook page. Watch my interview with her from earlier this year.

Hawkins is part of our Made by Mom Gift Guide. The guide features a dozen local moms and the products they create. Check back every Monday and Thursday through mid-December to learn more about them.

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