Fans of every genre can now show off their love for music while giving back to the community by buying a bracelet from Wear Your Music.
Wear Your Music is a Rhode Island-based company that reuses guitar and bass strings by making them into jewelry. Along with earrings and rings made from recycled strings, the company’s co-founder, Hannah Garrison, crafts bracelets using strings donated by musicians. Fans can buy their bracelets, and one hundred per cent of the proceeds are given to the charity of the musician’s choice.
“I was originally a jeweler and had a lot of friends who were musicians. They would hang out and play in my studio, and there were always guitar strings lying around on the floor, so I started making jewelry,” Garrison says. “My focus in jewelry was recycled materials, so I started using what I found naturally in my environment, and that is how the original idea for guitar string bracelets was born.”
The company sells three different lines of jewelry. One-size-fits-all bracelets, rings, and key-chains fall under the Strings collection, and are priced affordably for most consumers. The Rock Recycled collection features bracelets made from recycled strings that never belonged to famous musicians. The Famous Artist Bracelet collection is the core charity line, according to Garrison, with strings from some of the biggest names in music, including Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, and many others. These bracelets are sold online exclusively, and all of the proceeds are donated. To date, Garrison says that over 150 artists have been involved.
Started in 2006, Garrison runs Wear Your Music with her business partner, Steve Bernstein, who currently lives in Hong Kong. She describes their initial meeting as “kismet,” serendipitous because she stumbled upon his ad looking for a guitar string jeweler on Craigslist while looking for an apartment for her cousin. Together, they started the company just making bracelets, and it later evolved to include the charitable donations.
“It wasn’t there at the beginning when I first started making guitar string bracelets, so it’s huge. We’ve given, I would say at this point, over half a million dollars to charity, and that’s just badass,” Garrison says. “It’s just been a wild ride and the charities are wonderful. We’ve learned so much from working with all these charities, and learned so much about the different causes.”
The donations are a big part of why many musicians choose to work with the company. For many, the charities they chose had a personal significance. Blake Morgan, a singer-songwriter, producer, and owner of his own music company, donated his strings to Wear Your Music. The proceeds from all of the bracelets made from them go to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, which Morgan chose because of its connection to his mother.
“My mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s just about five years ago,” says Morgan. “So when I came on board with Wear Your Music, that just felt like a perfect and natural fit for me, and so that’s what we did.”
For others, the simplicity of getting involved is what drew them in. Terry Clark, guitarist of Carbon Leaf, calls it a “win, win, win” situation; saving strings that would normally end up in landfills, making jewelry from them, and helping a charity out in the process.
“Being able to recycle the string is really cool because we change strings a lot,” he says. Clark has played guitar for the past 30 years, and Carter Gravatt, Carbon Leaf’s other guitarist, also plays many other string instruments, including mandolin, bouzouki, fiddle, and cello. “We go through a lot of strings, so it’s nice to be able to not send them to the landfill, but to send them to a good purpose,” says Clark.
Carbon Leaf chose to donate the proceeds or their bracelets to Love Hope Strength, a foundation dedicated to using campaigns at concerts to encourage people to become marrow donors. “Their tagline is ‘Get on the List!’ They actually swab cheeks and have people fill out forms to get on the bone marrow registry at concerts. We’ve had a few matches, we’ve saved eight or nine lives from getting matches at our shows,” says Clark. “Being able to help them with some funding as well, because it’s expensive for them to get people and materials to shows, is really cool. Being able to help them while saving the planet sounds pretty good, and like I said, it’s not a lot of work on our end, so it makes it easy.”
Both Morgan and Clark agree that the best way to give back is to just start by doing something small, regardless of how small it may be. “Doing something is better than nothing,” Morgan says. “What I would say to anybody is what I try to say to myself, which is ‘Hey, do SOMETHING!’ Anything is a huge step in the right direction.” Clark says the easiest thing to do is to choose a cause, and spread information in person or through social media. “Everybody can’t do everything,” he says. “Every little thing that you could do will add up to great effect.”