Betina Wassermann now believes in karma, thanks to one altruistic gesture.
Betina Wasserman of New York.
Nearly three weeks ago, the full-time, New-York-based marketing employee and part-time jewelry hobbyist-turned Etsy seller, watched from afar as actor and fellow dog lover, Mickey Rourke, publicly mourned the loss of Loki, his 17-year-old Chihuahua, just weeks before he was scheduled to attend the Academy Awards with a Best Actor nomination. Wasserman empathized with the actor, who was frequently seen on the Red Carpet with dog in arm, because her own Chinese Crested pooch named Igor, passed just a few months back.
Wasserman with Igor.
“I’ve been a fan of Mickey Rourke for 20 yrs,” says Wasserman. “And I’ve always seen him carry around that little dog.”
Rourke and little Loki on the Red Carpet.
In an attempt to offer a bit of solace to Rourke, Wasserman decided to make one of her specialty pieces for him: a sterling silver and glass framed miniature portrait pendant—dubbed Microscope Slides—featuring a photo of Loki.
Microscope Slide pendants in silver and glass, made by Wasserman.
But just to be sure her efforts would be worthwhile and the necklace would reach Rourke, she tracked down his publicist by way of the Internet. Wasserman beamed the offer in an email to the staffer, who—to Wasserman’s shock and surprise—responded within 15 minutes. “She said, ‘Can you get it to me tonight’?” recalls Wasserman, who apparently made the offer the night before the Rourke team was set to fly from New York to L.A. for the Oscars.
So she hustled home to Queens, made the necklace, and, with her husband’s help, got the piece into the publicist’s hands back in Manhattan within a couple of hours.
The next day, Wasserman got an even bigger surprise when Rourke personally called her to thank her for the necklace. “He told me how thoughtful [the gesture] was and how much he loved it,” says Wasserman, who would have been satisfied if the experience ended there. But a week later, a friend phoned and urged her to turn on the TV to see Rourke at the Independent Spirit Awards; he was wearing her necklace. “He was pointing to it [on TV], and I was in shock,” she says. “Then I thought, ‘What if he wears it the next day [at the Oscars]?”
Now Wasserman is enjoying her self-proclaimed “15 minutes of fame,” fielding phone calls from Martha Stewart, who invited Wasserman to teach TV viewers how to make their own necklace; the New York Post, who featured Wasserman in a full-page article; and, more than 100 orders for pendants on Etsy.com. What she appreciates the most are all of the warm wishes from fellow Etsy members, and, bittersweet dog tales from new customers, who enlist Wasserman to help immortalize man’s best friend in her silver-and-glass designs. The pieces retail for $30.
Wasserman’s entrée into jewelry occurred five years ago when she started making and selling beaded jewelry. Her self-taught skills evolved, and she started doing light metalsmithing. So far, she’s only sold her wares at craft fairs and on Etsy.com (“I only had eight sales prior to this [experience],” she jokes). Wasserman maintains her day job in marketing at H&M, but has drafted friends and family members to help fill the recent influx of orders.
Ironically, her e store name is Wicked World, which reflects a pessimistic personal outlook. “The name comes from my lack of faith in society,” she says. Thankfully, that’s now changed. “I have re-gained my faith [in society] after this experience,” she says. “Karma really does happen, and I’m not so much a pessimist anymore.”
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