In an effort to support COVID-19’s at-risk populations and organizations that are battling systemic racism, roughly 50 independent jewelry, fashion, and accessories brands have banded together for an Instagram auction that raises funds for nonprofit organizations.
Jewelry designer Melissa Joy Manning, who’s based in Brooklyn, N.Y., spearheaded #TheCreativeFeedAuction initiative after feeling “powerless” following the COVID-19 lockdowns. She initially reached out to around 20 local Brooklyn brands she knew, as a way to help food-insecure individuals and communities in the wake of the pandemic. In an Instagram post, she announced that donations would go to No Kid Hungry and local food banks.
“After the lockdown, I began to notice the disparities in how COVID was [impacting] different communities…. I wanted to figure out how we could help alleviate that.” Patterning the auction after those on Still We Rise, she thought, “Can we do something similar?” She adds: “For me it was a lightbulb moment—I thought, let me tap my resources to see what we can do.”
Then George Floyd’s killing happened, and after going dark for a week on Instagram in support of Black Lives Matter and adjacent movements, Manning reopened the auction this morning with the option for bidders to also donate to the NAACP, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the ACLU, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Here’s how the auctions are structured: Sales take place daily, exclusively on @melissajoymanning. Interested bidders record their bid amount in the comments below each post.
Jewelry brands donating pieces for auction include jewelers Ippolita, Polly Wales, Lizzie Fortunato, Wwake, Pamela Love, Scosha, Love Adorned, Ariana Boussard-Reifel, Talon, and Lauren Wolf. Fashion brands include Zero + Maria Cornejo, Ilana Kohn, Mara Hoffman, and Appaman.
Manning brought a full-time employee out of furlough to run the auctions, and together they decided to eschew donation platforms, which typically take up to 20% of donations as a processing fee and often require minimum donations. Instead, winning bidders, who will be informed of their win via Instagram at 6 p.m. Wednesday, will donate directly to the cause of their choice, then send their receipt to Manning’s camp. At that stage, the brands themselves will drop-ship items directly to winners.
Manning capped the number of participating brands to 50 to make the activation more manageable—but more brands have been clamoring to participate, and she’s open to hosting future auctions on her feed.
So far, she’s heartened by the response, from both brands and jewelry fans. “It’s definitely something that’s brought people together—and feeling like they can activate change.”
Top: Scosha stud earrings valued at $235 that are being auctioned in #TheCreativeFeedAuction—the highest bid was $210 at publication time (image via @melissajoymanning)
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