Surfrider has the honor to engage visionary women - advocates, attorneys, artists, experts in policy, teachers, surfers, beach lovers - who are dedicated to protecting our ocean, waves and beaches. Each contribution empowers our mission and inspires others to take hold of their role in protecting what we all love. We are thrilled to shine a light on jewelry designer, sculptor and business owner, Jill Platner and her latest endeavor that gives back. Recently we caught up with Jill in her studio for a one-on-one and preview of her beautiful Wave Rings, now on sale supporting Surfrider. You can get yours here and remember, 20% of proceeds are donated to Surfrider!
Photo credit: The New York Times
Surfrider: Jill, thanks for having us today. Help us set the stage. We'd love to hear about your company, your values and how sustainability has played a role.
Jill Platner: I am a jewelry designer, maker and sculptor with a retail store and production on Crosby St. in NYC. Every aspect of my professional life as an artist is influenced by my personal core values to be thoughtful about the natural environment. I have no need for a car. Walking and cycling are my main modes of transportation. I am adamant about keeping production in house, despite the pressure to outsource out of the country to reduce cost. Every design is intentional. These pieces are meant to last a lifetime, to never go out of style, to be a treasured item meant to be kept for many years. I've never been a "disposable product" kind of gal and would never want to put another disposable product into the world. Plus, we use every last bit of metal at my company. Melting down silver and gold dust and scraps to be re-used. Nothing is wasted.
Surfrider: Clearly the dedication to make the most out of every resource is a core value. How has the outdoors influenced your work?
Jill Platner: I was a water baby. I grew up on a river with days full of swimming, running around the woods or catching frogs in a local pond. My family members are all huge nature lovers so I grew up with a true love and respect for the natural world around me (and all its creatures). It is in my DNA and come through in my work.
Surfrider: Beyond your personal commitment, why is it important, as a business owner to give back?
Jill Platner: Over the years, I've spent countless hours in the ocean and walking the beach. I comb the sand, finding treasures: driftwood, stones, shells. Inevitably, I also find A LOT of plastic. Leaving my walks, mixed in with my treasures is an overwhelming amount of plastic I've removed from the beach. On one walk alone, I collected 20 balloons! I think about how much our plastic use impacts the ocean and sea life and it breaks my heart. I know we can do better. When I was introduced to Surfrider I was beyond excited to meet like-minded people who care as much as I do - people who are finding solutions, raising awareness. I want to take part in creating larger change and giving back to Surfrider through sales of my Wave Rings has given me and my company the opportunity to do so.
Surfrider: Cheers to that! We so appreciate your support and shared passion for making sure plastic doesn't enter our waterways and impact marine life. Would you say plastic pollution is the initiative under Surfrider's mission that you are most passionate about?
Jill Platner: Plastic pollution and rising water temps. In my company, we take action to eliminate single-use plastic in our production and packaging and we provide our employees with reusable canvas bags, coffee mugs, water bottles and stainless-steel straws to demonstrate that it's easy to create less waste with simple action. The production of plastic contributes to the global climate crisis and we are killing our ocean at an alarming rate for convenience. Without our ocean we will not survive. How can we knowingly enjoy it without acknowledging it is a priviledge, a gift? We must give back to protect it.
Surfrider: There is so much truth to your conviction. Thank you for the deliberate steps you have taken to positively impact your community, your company culture and your customers and ultimately our shared world. Before we wrap up, let us know any other sustainable happenings within your company with hopes they can inspire others?
Jill Platner: Oh, so many! I have asked all of my staff members to watch the film A Plastic Ocean. The film drives home the seriousness of the problem when you see it up close and personal. It's my opinion that too many of us are removed, we don't think it directly affects us. Another great program people should know about is our Melt Your Gold program. Customers can bring their old gold to us and we work wiht our refiner to melt it down and give customers credit in the store towards a new piece of jewelry. Upcycling can take all forms!
Surfrider: We agree! Thank you, Jill. We are so happy to have you on our side and hope people check out and enjoy the Wave Rings!
We're not the only fans of Jill Platner. We asked pro-surfers and Surfrider Ambassadors, Kassia Meador and Quincy Davis their thoughts on Jill's designs:
"When I put a piece of Jill Platner on I don’t take it off for years and that's my favorite type of jewelry! It almost molds to you in a way, so comfortable and beautifully made, I wear my pieces surfing always. I love the raw natural look."
"I love Jill Platner and her line of jewelry for many reasons. Jill is an incredible empowered woman and artist who turns her original art work into beautifully strong collections of jewelry. Jill is the real deal when it comes to creativity and female founded businesses and has been doing it right and tight for the past 25 years strong."