The Ripple Effect

August 21, 2019

Heather Nashelle found her outlet when she took a metalworking class in college. As an Alaska-raised artist, she always sought out new paths. From snowboarding and skateboarding to art and traveling, she ultimately landed on jewelry as the ultimate form of connection.

“I fell in love with the expression. Working with my hands and expressing myself felt really liberating.” The rest is history. Twenty years ago, Heather started Nashelle as a one-woman jewelry brand attending craft shows and making each piece with her beloved metalworking techniques. Today, Nashelle employs some 25 people and has hit its stride as a brand with a purpose. “This year, we’ve hit 1 million meals. That’s significant, my heart is completely built around giving back to people in need.” Beyond the brand’s close partnership with Feeding America, Heather has a hands-on approach that has the potential to impact the entire world by acting locally. She explains, “I go into schools and teach the ripple effect—how something I do, kind or hurtful, is going to ripple all the way around the world. In our workshops, we make two pieces, they keep one for themselves and they give one away.”

Providing a million meals is an incredible feat, and it seems to be possible due to the same ripple effect Nashelle teaches. “Six-ish years ago we started the initiative; it started very organically and has grown legs over the last few years. Initially it was a portion of the proceeds, then a meal for every piece sold, and now ten meals for every piece sold. And now Feeding America is on a meal-matching initiative with Tony Robbins, so it’s really getting amplified.”

Thanks to a lot of hard work and compounding generosity, Nashelle is now in a position to partner with Feeding America and NeighborImpact, a local food bank in the brand’s hometown of Bend, Oregon. The proceeds are split between the two charities and combine to have a meaningful impact on hunger in America. “Our aim is to act locally and reach across the US. The people who join our team gravitate towards Nashelle because of the giveback—in this day and age we need so much kindness and love.”

Asked how she balances so much ambition and compassion with raising six kids alongside her husband, Heather explains, “In order for me to run my business and be a good mom, my kids have to be independent, strong willed, vocal, confident—they are very comfortable speaking their minds and stating their needs, which is so cool to see. I was raised to stay quiet and out of the way, so it’s very special to see them express themselves and know that our next generation is going to be that way.”

John is the managing editor at CAUSEBOX and a traveling writer who lives on the road with his dog, Hank.