In a bid to raise money for women’s health, Josette Barrans ’21 turned to a solution that first started as little more than an ironic joke: handmade “NetID bracelets,” bands adorned with the unique identifiers issued to each member of the Cornell community.
The idea behind the tongue-in-cheek jewelry first began with a gift for a friend’s birthday, Barrans said. After the gift was met with warm reception, Barrans quickly realized the once light-hearted gimmick could serve as a charitable platform.
“I just started making more and then some people I didn’t know who just had mutual friends with me wanted them,” she said.
At the beginning of last semester, Barrans decided to upgrade her small bracelet operation into a veritable business, selling them each for a suggested donation of $3 to $5. She advertises through an Instagram page, and now primarily takes orders through both the social media account and informally through friends.
The bracelets have since made their way across campus as conversation starters. Barrans has now made around 50 to 100 bracelets, and has “donated a significant amount of money to Planned Parenthood,” an organization that reflects her passion for women’s rights, she said.
“I think they’re an organization that’s having a big struggle right now,” Barrans said, referring to pro-life activists’ call to strip the group of federal funding. “Even though this won’t make a huge impact, I feel like every little bit counts, especially in their fight for women’s rights and reproductive rights.”
Customers appreciated the charitable cause behind each bracelet. “[The contribution] doesn’t go to [Barrans], but is all donated to Planned Parenthood, which makes the endeavor all the more worth it,” said Carson Sheinberg ’21, who bought the bracelet.
Another part of the appeal of the NetID bracelets lies in the lighthearted sense of humor that led to their creation — they appeal to “that kind of ironic Cornell student humor,” Barrans said.
“It’s a funny way to embrace my Cornell-issued identity,” said Nancy Jiang ’19, one of Barrans’ first customers.
Barrans is excited to see her bracelets expand and make an even bigger impact in the future.
“I’d like the reach to grow within Cornell. Barrans said. “The larger it gets, the more donations I’ll get for Planned Parenthood,” Barrans said.