It’s commonplace to wear your heart on your sleeve, but until recently people never thought to wear their DNA. What began as a joke among friends last summer has blossomed into a full-fledged jewelry and clothing line with tremendous potential. DNA STUFF—what stuff life is made of —is a philanthropic endeavor with the goal of spreading the word that fashion can have meaning and that you can have style and substance.
Featuring a wide-variety of jewelry, scarves, ties and jeans (“It’s in the Genes”) in an array of colors and materials, every piece of DNA STUFF merchandise has one thing in common: the double helical structure of DNA.
“The double helix is as powerful a universal symbol as the heart,” Cathy Cyphers Soref, founder, said. “There should be as many double helix pendants as there are hearts—it’s the essence of life.”
Every piece is classy, subtle, chic and priced to accommodate almost any budget. Items range from a simple silver double helix pendant ($24) to a unique double helix pendant or earrings made with your mother and father’s birthstones (prices vary). Trendier items include a Paloma Picasso-inspired brooch (sterling silver, $105; gold, $534) and a Swarovski cube crystal necklace ($325). Wholesale and bulk wholesale prices are also available.
Open in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of James Watson and Francis Crick’s 1953 discovery of the double-helical structure of DNA, the flagship store is located in the village of Cold Spring Harbor, NY. Cold Spring Harbor is the home of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a private, non-profit basic research and educational institution specializing in cancer, neuroscience, plant genetics and bioinformatics research, of which Dr. Watson is now president.
Soref, who has been a long-time friend of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, was inspired by Paul Newman’s philanthropic endeavor “Newman’s Own.” As such, one hundred percent of all DNA STUFF net profits will support research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
“I didn’t want to just sit on a committee or write a check. The beauty of this idea is that you can do it at any philanthropic level. Anyone can take any amount of money and turn it into more,” Soref said.
For Soref, that “more” is a viable business that employs people, a new source of important research funding for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and a philanthropic focus for her family.
The socially-conscious concept that DNA STUFF is founded on is most visible in two of the jewelry lines. “Separated by Faith, Joined by Genes” adds two double helices to Carl Pizzo’s original necklace, “Different Faiths, Common Origins,” which features symbols of all the world’s religions and a peace sign. This new design emphasizes the amazing and important fact that no matter where we are from or what religion we believe in, we are all 99.9% genetically identical.
Customers are also invited to “Shop With A Conscience.” This line of pins is poised to rival the ribbons celebrities wear in support of their favorite causes. The proceeds from each pin will directly support a specific researcher at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory as they work to eradicate breast, ovarian and cervical cancers, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Novelty items including stationery, children’s games and puzzles, books published by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press and glassware are also available.
“DNA STUFF is where one will always be able to find truly unique and meaningful gifts, and, at the same time, contribute to the universally significant research that is being done at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory,” Soref said.
In addition to visiting the store at 181 Main Street in Cold Spring Harbor, merchandise can be viewed and purchased at www.dnastuff.com. The store and the website are currently open for business. The grand opening will be celebrated on September 5, 2003. For more information, call 631-367-0184.
Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has shaped contemporary biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology. Home to eight Nobel Prize winners, the private, not-for-profit Laboratory employs 1,100 people including 600 scientists, students and technicians. The Meetings & Courses Program annually hosts more than 12,000 scientists. The Laboratory’s education arm also includes an academic publishing house, a graduate school and the DNA Learning Center with programs for middle and high school students and teachers. For more information, visit www.cshl.edu