On a beautiful Spring morning in April 2011, following a period of illness, I was walking along the beach in Holywood, County Down, and came across a washed-up starfish. I had learnt to appreciate the simple sights and beauty of life and creation so I took a photo of the wee starfish that was lying in the sand. Whilst taking the photo, I was reminded of the famous Starfish Story by Loren C. Eiseley:
“While wandering a deserted beach, I saw a man in the distance bending and throwing as he walked the endless stretch toward me. As he came near, I could see that he was throwing starfish, abandoned on the sand by the tide, back into the sea. When he was close enough I asked him why he was working so hard at this strange task. He said that the sun would dry the starfish and they would die. I said to him that I thought he was foolish - there were thousands of starfish on miles and miles of beach. One man alone could never make a difference. He smiled as he picked up the next starfish. Hurling it far into the sea he said, 'It makes a difference for this one.'"
Leaving the beach, I walked under the subway and glanced over at the graffiti art on the wall which said:
"We are not called to do and nor can we do everything, but we can do something."
It was then that I realised that we can make a difference to people's lives, starting with one, because every one matters.
And so the journey began.
What We Do
We decided to start a business using our creative talents to make handmade jewellery. We wanted our jewellery to carry positive and encouraging messages so decided to add a silver tag to each bracelet along with our signature starfish tag. We started by selling at local fairs and markets and from the outset we were determined to use the money generated from these sales to support locally based charitable causes.
Now based solely online, our product range now includes beautiful oversize scarves and our new range of distinctive costume jewellery which can be personalised by placing them on a message card of your choice, making them ideal as gifts for friends and family or as a thank you to someone special!
Our business has enabled us in the past to deliver workshops completely free of charge to selected local groups, schools and charitable organisations which has included Jordanstown School (specialist school for children who are deaf or visually impaired) and NI Children's Hospice.
As our business has grown with the help and continued support of all our fantastic customers, this has furthered our vision of making a difference in the lives of people.
In 2012 and 2013, we were able to run two successive Christmas promotions for Women's Aid, providing gifts to local women in sheltered accommodation recovering from domestic abuse.
In 2014, we were able to donate many Easter Eggs (as well as necessities) to a local foodbank, support a group going to Romania to work with some of the poorest people in Europe with the Smiles Foundation and donate £200 to the annual Poppy Appeal through sales at www.theweestarfish.com.
In 2015, we have been able to send through new clothing to the Smiles Foundation in Romania for children in need from our Christmas 2014 campaign and, in April 2015, visited Romania to help the Smiles Foundation set up a new business to help local women support themselves and their families.
We do what we do because we want to continue to help make a difference. When you buy from our online store, you are enabling us to do this.
Thank you for your support!