Haverford jewelry designer Marlyn Schiff wins award for rings, necklaces and big heart
There seemed to be very little need for accessories during the pandemic as special occasions dwindled and fashion stalled.
This turned out not to be the case.
The accessories kept us going. We wore hoops during Zoom calls. We put our keys, wallets, and cellphones in fanny packs as we rush through outdoor malls, big box stores, and the supermarket. Grocery stores have stopped distributing plastic bags, making reusable bags a necessity. And there was the most important accessory of all, the face mask.
So to celebrate the creators whose balls and backpacks have cheered us up and to thank them for their good work, the New York company Accessories advice honors the hero industry props on Tuesday night at its annual 2021 ACE awards. Included in the list of 13 winners – which include Carolina Herrera Creative Director Wes Gordon, and Project track judge and season four winner Christian Siriano – is a Haverford-based jewelry designer Marlyn schiff.
âI’m so excited,â said Schiff, who over the past 19 months has donated more than 50,000 surgical masks to area hospitals and tens of thousands of jewelry to essential workers through her. Fill a box, send a smile program. âI never thought we were going to win. We have learned so much from this experience. It was not easy, but we rallied. Our customers have come together and we are doing better now. “
The Accessories Council honors innovative accessory brands and fashion icons with a glitzy ACE Awards dinner, a personalized Judith Leiber mini-hanger clutch and plenty of industry cachet for 25 years. Past award-winning designers include Michael Kors, Stella McCartney and Proenza Schouler
This year, due to the pandemic, Board President and CEO Karen Giberson did ACE a little differently and recognized the brands that made beautiful accessories. and demonstrates integrity during these difficult times. âWe wanted to celebrate the beauty of the action as much as the beauty of the product,â said Giberson, who is based in New York City but lives in Margate. âMarlyn’s company was a great example.
In addition to Gordon and Siriano, Qurate Retail Group, the parent company of QVC and HSN based in West Chester, is also receiving an Accessories Council Hero award this year. Qurate will be honored for his work with Meals on Wheels, which provided healthy meals to the elderly and children facing food insecurity. Century-old fashion icon and former interior designer Iris Apfel, known for her fancy eyewear, bold styling and exquisite taste, will win the Accessories Council Superhero Award for being the true queen of accessories.
Schiff, like many entrepreneurs – especially those in the fashion industry – experienced many dark days in the early months of the pandemic.
Four months before the March 2020 closure, she opened a chic 3,800 square foot loft-style boutique in the former Mock Fox Interiors Design Building in Haverford. Schiff’s sparkly earrings, evil eye bracelets and tassel necklaces have been sold in nationwide specialty stores including South Moon Under and Nic + Zoe. Schiff’s collections of pavÃ© diamonds and sapphire diamonds were sold in the chic Ritz and Waldorf Astoria gift shops.
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Schiff employs 19 people and has a turnover of several million dollars each year. The pandemic threatened all of this.
âAt first I wasn’t sure if I was going to have a business,â Schiff said. “But then I kept quiet. I started to think. I have been to a ton of webinars. I learned to design a cleaner. I decided to make more seasonal jewelry than seasonal pieces. We needed parts that would continue, not dying. And we pushed our website.
Yet Schiff has not forgotten his philanthropy.
Schiff made thousands of fabric masks and sold them in 500 of the 800 specialty stores that carry his collection. With this money, she bought more than 50,000 surgical masks for hospitals and nursing homes.
The idea for her Fill a box, send a smile arrived about a month after the start of the pandemic. Schiff found herself affected by the plight of essential workers who suffered physically and emotionally. She wanted to find a way to give them hope. Schiff began selling pieces from his collection, including rings, bracelets, and necklaces, for $ 1 each. Customers could buy bulk jewelry packages with 50, 100 or 250 pieces. Schiff matched the purchases, so someone who bought 50 pieces of jewelry received a box of 100 and shipped the box to the group, workplace, or designated person.
âIt was so unusual to receive this lovely box,â said Barbara Klatt, nurse at Medical Center – Woods Services in Bucks County. The facility that helps people with intellectual disabilities received an anonymous notice Fill a box, send a box donation in early spring. âWe were all working really hard and trying to get through it. It just brightened everyone’s spirits.
In a recent fundraiser for breastcancer.org, 10% of sales went to the organization.
âMy mother died of ovarian cancer and I promised her that I would do something about these horrible diseases,â Schiff said.
Schiff, two of her staff, her husband and two children will attend the Tuesday night festivities. She hopes the holiday is a sign that even if things aren’t getting back to “normal” jewelry will once again be part of our daily lives.
âPeople feel more colorful the more they get vaccinated,â Schiff said. âThey want to go out again, to live a little. We have all realized how fragile things can be.