• OurWholeHeart Jewelry {A Hoboken-Based Brand for a Cause} + Giveaway

    During the summer of 2015, Danielle Kohn started having stomach problems. Fast-forward to Thanksgiving of that year, she had just finished the Philadelphia Marathon and was having more blood work done due to the pain, when her doctor noticed that her heart looked a bit enlarged. He suggested she go to a cardiologist, and she was quickly diagnosed with a heart murmur and Atrial Septal Defect, a congenital {at birth} heart defect that had gone undetected for over 20 years. Danielle had surgery in April of 2016 to correct this issue, and during that time, the concept for jewelry line, OurWholeHeart jewelry was born. Here’s more about this local Hoboken-based jewelry company founded by a local entrepreneur that not only makes beautiful pieces, but also gives back to Congenital Heart Defect Research:

    danielle kohn our whole heart

    The Story

    Right after Danielle had finished the Philadelphia Marathon, after months of discomfort in her stomach area, she went to the doctor for one last-ditch effort to see if they could find something. The scan came up perfectly clean, but when looking at her abdomen, the radiologist also caught the bottom of her heart. “He noticed my heart looked a little enlarged and recommended that at some point I should get it checked out. So a few days after Christmas I saw a cardiologist who was the first person to tell me I had a heart murmur.” They did a few other tests and diagnosed Danielle with an Atrial Septal Defect, also called a “hole in the heart”. An ASD is a congenital heart defect where the top two lobes of your heart (the atria), don’t form properly during birth, aka creating a hole. It causes the heart to be terribly inefficient. “Every time it tries to pump out clean blood, it pumps some out, but some goes through the hole and gets recirculated back through our heart. We were shocked to say the least, after all I had just run my 3rd marathon and thought I was perfectly healthy.”

    The start of 2016 brought countless doctors appointments. Danielle started seeing an interventional cardiac specialist in NYC who would hopefully be able to close the hole with a minimally invasive procedure. If left open, the hole would continue to cause more problems: massive shortness of breadth, difficulty performing everyday tasks [like walking], early stroke, and eventually heart failure. They performed a transesophageal echocardiogram which would tell them how large the hole was, and if they’d be able to complete the minimally invasive procedure. “The results were devastating – instead of having a smaller hole as was originally thought, the hole was 3.9cm, or about the size of a golf ball. Where I was supposed to have two atria, I virtually had one. Open heart surgery was my only option,” Danielle recalled.

    The Surgery + Silver Lining

    Two weeks after her 24th birthday on April 14, 2016, Danielle had her surgery. She spent two nights in the cardiac ICU before returning home to Pennsylvania with her parents. “I live in Hoboken, but because of the recovery I wouldn’t be able to take care of myself. It was on my 6 weeks of short-term disability that I started OurWholeHeart!”

    Never having been able to sit still and watch TV all day, Danielle was going stir crazy. “Making jewelry has always been a passion of mine and creating little pieces was really therapeutic.”

    OurWholeHeart Jewelry

    To come full circle, for each piece with a heart, OWH donates money back to congenital heart defect research! “My favorite part is selling those items with a heart — whether it be heart bracelets or necklaces. Those items are the ones where we donate back to congenital heart defect research – the whole reason why this business started!” See more of the heart bracelets here.

    On the Name

    “I am truly the embodiment of every person who has helped me get to this point today.” While she primarily runs OWH, there’s a whole network of family and friends who help make it happen. “Just as my family and friends were by my side during that rocky stretch, they also gave everything to help me with this business,” Danielle fondly recalled. “My mom helps with financials, my aunt does inventory, my boyfriend will help bead, my friends work trunk shows, my cousin Jenna has even taken it upon herself to join me as my jr. partner! She helps create new designs, fulfill orders, and works on wholesale accounts for new boutiques.” The company sells both wholesale to boutiques in the tri-state area {and even beyond}, as well as online {find their Etsy shop here}. “This is an endeavor entered into by an entire family, and therefore it’s truly what we’ve created with OurWholeHeart.” 

    “I lived in the city for one year after college and then moved here! I absolutely love it and won’t be moving anytime soon. My aunt opened her boutique in NJ 13+ years ago, so it only seemed fitting that we start from the same place.”

    Some of the jewels for you to peruse:

    our whole heart jewelry hoboken

    The hearts were easy — Danielle wanted to make a heart the symbol for OurWholeHeart, since it’s an item that gives back to charity.

    “Other items naturally fell into place, such as the puzzle piece where we also give back to Autism research. After that, many things came from customer requests!” Hamsas, evil eyes, pineapples, crosses, skulls, unicorns, and clovers are some of the most popular items from Our Whole Heart. They’ve also made a New Jersey opal which quickly became one of their flagship pieces {and now a red one — perfect for Rutgers and Stevens students!}.

    our whole heart jewelry

    The pieces are dainty and adorable — kind of like having a more delicate version of a charm bracelet. OWH completely customizes things to your taste – making bracelets smaller, larger, and with three different finishes {sterling silver, gold-filled, and rose gold-filled depending on what you’d like}.

    On Fan Favorites

    Danielle’s quest to give back has transcended on her customers. “For bracelets – I’m so happy to say that our mini triple heart bracelet is our #1 seller [this is one of the donation bracelets]. That is quickly followed by our mother of pearl clover, opal hamsa, opal elephant, and Swarovski bracelet. For necklaces – we sell a ton of New Jerseys and crescent moons.”

    Plans for the Future

    While OWH is just a side job for now {Danielle works full time doing market research for tech companies), though it takes up nearly all of her free time. “I’d love to expand our wholesale business even more and get into as many boutiques as possible. We’re also looking to create an entire ‘give back’ line.” Instead of just hearts and puzzle pieces as donation items, OWH is looking to add more shapes that represent specific causes. “What we’ve been able to accomplish in a year on Etsy has been absolutely crazy, but phenomenal. OWH is so much work but so so worth it, and I can’t wait to see where the journey takes me.”

    *THE GIVEAWAY*

    February is a month of love, giving, and also a month dedicated to something very near and dear to 1 in 100 people’s hearts {including our EIC}: Congenital Heart Defects. So we’re teaming up with Our Whole Heart jewelry for a very special giveaway on Instagram  {@HobokenGirlBlog} to win some jewels for yourself! Click here to head to our Instagram and enter to win a $50 gift card to OWH!

     

    Find OurWholeHeart on Facebook here, and on Instagram here — and of course, make sure to head to Etsy to shop the jewels there! 

    Want something custom? Email Danielle at ourwholeheart@gmail.com.


    Written by:

    Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of HobokenGirl.com. She started the site to discover the wealth of fun things happening in Hoboken and Jersey City and surrounding Hudson County areas. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event or #HobokenGirlHelps volunteer project, she can usually be found shopping at local boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her French bulldog Pierre, or watching some really bad {but oh-so-good} reality TV and ordering takeout with her husband.


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