How Joan Hornig targets Gen Z with empowerment jewelry that gives back


Philanthropist and jewelry designer Joan Hornig has already raised millions for charities around the world through her existing jewelry lines, including Philanthropy is Beautiful, which donates 100% of profits to organizations chosen by the buyer. Now she’s turning to Millennials and Gen Z, with a concept of philanthropic jewelry designed to empower: enter Pavé The Way.

Generation Z: “A generation to turn to”

When Joan Hornig married in her twenties, she made a commitment beyond her promise to her Harvard University lover, George Hornig. “I made a deal with myself walking down the aisle that at the age of 50 I would give 100% of what I won to good causes,” I told me. her, “I have never forgotten that commitment and this Gen Z is now reaching the same age. They are all focused on learning and inspiration; it’s a generation to turn to. “As an extension of its existing philanthropic jewelry lines, it is now targeting Gen Z and young millennials, with the goal of making philanthropy a positive habit for life from the start.

She is a strong advocate for education rather than just a donor to causes, who sees her role as “helping others to make an impact”, an idea that fits well with the socially conscious generation currently reaching its age. majority. Many young adults see social activism as an important part of their identity: “It is important to show what you stand for,” says Grace, a 19-year-old literature student, “the clothes I wear and my appearance reflect what I believe in. ” Gen Z is likely to be more educated than previous generations, according to Pew Research. They are socially aware: the majority believe that human activity is the cause of global warming (54%) and that blacks are treated less fairly than whites in the United States (66%), indicating opinions more progressive than their elders.

Empowerment jewelry

Joan designed the latest collection for Pavé the Way with this in mind. It includes Empower Tools, a continuation of the Hornig Tools for Giving concept, including pieces such as Lock in Your Superpower padlock earrings, and Key to Success studs, designed to blend and match in multiple piercings; and the Use Your Voice diamond-paved microphone and Steps for Equality necklaces. The funny pun belies the fact that the line refers to big issues like women’s empowerment and financial insecurity, creating an ambitious mix of style and substance. Customers can choose a design that speaks to their values, bring a significant part of their identity into their look, and donate to a cause that means something to them, at the same time.

And giving has never been easier. For each piece purchased from the Pavé the Way website, Hornig subtracts the labor of New York City diamond workers who make her jewelry and the cost of clean, ethical materials, and donates the profit she would have made directly to charity. chosen during the transaction by the customer. Since launching her first line of philanthropic jewelry in 2003, she has donated millions of dollars to organizations around the world, ranging from community hospitals and local charities in the United States, to the American Red Cross. and the National Domestic Violence Hotline, as well as international NGOs such as Médecins sans frontières.

“It’s about young people and the stories they will tell, a concept designed to be discussed,” says Hornig. The brand’s online magazine, They or they, features Millennials and Gen Z writers speaking to their peers, offering “food for thought around the concept of the ‘three whys’: why share, why care and why wear what represents your values.” A diverse community of resonant ambassadors – who may or may not have an existing public profile – includes actress and musician Meg Donnelly, student and activist Claira Janover, and dancers Maud and Chloe Arnold.

From the trading desk to the jeweler’s bench

The concept is simple, but it took daring to make it fly. After Harvard, Hornig started out in the banking industry as a professional fundraiser before moving into private equity and hedge funds. She loved making her own jewelry drawing on her knowledge of art history and began to notice at gala events that jewelry was often a source of conversation that could bring people together and empower the wearer, so she turned her passion into a business and found herself. designing jewelry alongside a career in private equity. “There were similarities between my business and the trading desk,” she laughs, “my word was my connection in the two. No matter who you are or what you do, delivery is what matters. ”

She launched at Bergdorf Goodman’s in 2003 and since then she’s designed for first ladies – her Philanthropy is Beautiful line is still a must-have for gifts for dignitaries visiting the United States – and her bold jewelry is regularly seen on celebrities such as Meghan Markle, Lupita Nyong’o and Michelle Obama, highlighting an intergenerational appeal that many other brands can only dream of, underpinned by her belief in building bridges. After a 20-year career on Wall Street, Hornig was successful enough that he did not need the profits from his social activist jewelry lines and never took a salary. Instead, she was honored by the United Nations Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City.

“Part of the gift is listening, not imposing,” concludes Hornig. “It’s a generation that listens and learns.” She’s also the one who’s been shown to be powerful before, and she helps recharge those superpowers by allowing them to give and do good as easily as buying a new pair of earrings.



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