Big Impacts Start Small
Nina Berenato creates a necklace to raise funds for female artists
by Arianna Jopling
Jewelry designer Nina Berenato’s roots are deeply established in making a difference. Her new grant is one of the many ways Berenato is taking strides to be a change-maker and forge opportunities for other women to do the same.
On International Women’s Day Berenato and her team launched the “Making It Together Grant” with the goal to raise funds to give $5000 grants to female artists and makers. In leading up to this idea Berenato asked herself, “What if we just create a jewelry piece and the funding goes into a grant for people?” From this simple question came a tangible way for the jewelry maker to empower women and provide an opportunity they might not have otherwise.
The designer fondly refers to the women who wear her jewelry as a family. She has seen this community support one another in various endeavors, so creating this grant opportunity was something Berenato and her team could not pass up (and wished they had done earlier). “I don’t have $5000 to give, but what I do have is the ability to bring people together to make something cool that I think people will want to buy,” Berenato said.
As someone who bootstrapped her company, she understands the difficulty of succeeding in the marketplace and has certainly heard all the horror stories of securing funding from outside investors. She wanted to alleviate the difficulty for other women of obtaining funding and backing.
Berenato believes that women thrive off of support and that it is the number one thing women need right now. “All people need sometimes is someone there, rooting them on, saying ‘I believe in you!’,” Berenato said. Her hope for what women receive from this grant goes beyond the monetary value. She anticipates that the encouragement of one person showing they believe in the recipient and what they’re doing goes much further than the money will.
Moving from New York City to Austin and selling jewelry out of a tiny trailer was the first time Berenato had face-to-face experiences with her customers. “That was the specific shift when I got to know who my customers were and got to hear the stories of how my jewelry made them feel,” Berenato said. “Now I felt like I could be intentional with it. I could start creating things that I wanted to evoke those feelings. Each piece has now become more intentional in the design.”
The empowerment that comes from a piece of jewelry is compelling. “Jewelry is such a precious thing that feels good on everybody. It is going to make you feel good even if you’re not feeling good about your body,” Berenato said. Confidence, unity and power are themes Berenato has gathered from the women who wear her pieces.
“I stopped going so big and went smaller and actually ended up getting bigger and having more of an impact person to person,” Berenato said. Wider breadths of influence and positive change begin with focusing and investing in the individual, Berenato believes and has made that idea themission behind her grants.
To shop Nina Berenato’s store, the “Making It Together” necklace, and to find more information about the grant and grant application check out Berenato’s website.