MV Heart spreads love
Rob'n Mussell of Tisbury launched her MV Heart jewelry enterprise to help Islanders in need. After a successful first year, in which she raised $1,000 to donate to the Mebbitt Morano Scholarship Fund, Ms. Mussell is now determined to raise even more money to benefit Samantha Cassidy, an Edgartown youngster with leukemia. Proceeds from jewelry sales in 2008 will be donated to Samantha and her family in memory of Tammy Pine who died of cancer last summer.
"We would like to be able to give $2,000," said the soft-spoken but determined Ms. Mussell. "We just dream high."
Ms. Mussell, a Vineyard Haven mother of four who owns and operates Woodland Variety and Grill with her husband, Steve, is all about giving back to the community. Despite a full schedule of family and work responsibilities, she has been a cheerleading coach at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, coached girls' baseball at the Tisbury School and helps at the school store there. Struck by the suffering that she has seen friends and neighbors endure, and touched herself by the death from cancer of her friend Mebbit Morano, Ms. Mussell wanted to do something to help.
It began with truffles last Valentine's Day. Ms. Mussell created hundreds of the succulent chocolate treats and sold them to raise funds for the family of Hannah Vanderlaske, a young Oak Bluffs girl fighting leukemia. The sweets were a sell-out hit and gave Ms. Mussell confidence to launch MV Heart Jewelry. She had already been making jewelry for sale at flea markets and often donated pieces to charity events. With the help of family friend Skip Dostal, also of Vineyard Haven, she began the endeavor with the aim of contributing at least 20 percent of net proceeds each year to help a young Islander facing serious adversity. The Mebbit Morano scholarship, honoring her friend, is awarded to a high school senior who is an outstanding tennis player.
Ms. Mussell established relationships with several quality wholesalers, although she occasionally adds her own handmade pieces to the display. The jewelry offers something for every taste - Island charm pendants, earrings adorned with beads or wampum, sparkly pins, bracelets, and necklaces in styles from sweet to sophisticated. The MV Heart logo pendant is a favorite, featuring an Island charm with a tiny heart hanging above it.
The jewelry is on display at Woodland Variety and Grill and Ms. Mussell hopes to find other venues for her wares this summer. Currently, Native Cuts, a barbershop located off State Road in Vineyard Haven behind Barnes Trucking, also carries the jewelry.
As for Ms. Mussell, her heartfelt wish to help Islanders in distress has motivated her to begin a new project. She is planning to create t-shirts bearing the MV Heart logo and sell them to raise funds to assist the family of Brandy Marie Gibson, the young Island woman who was killed in an automobile accident on Jan. 29. She has fond recollections of Ms. Gibson as a cheerleader and knows that many of her friends are seeking ways to help the family with expenses.
Ms. Mussell often donates pieces to local organizations for charity fundraisers and is delighted when the groups contribute part of the proceeds back to MV Heart. "It's about giving back and helping them make money too," she said.
Ms. Mussell continues to focus on expanding jewelry sales, and said she works hard to find jewelry that is attractive and of good quality while being affordable.
She hopes that Valentine's Day will draw customers who want to spread the love around and help an Island neighbor while purchasing a pretty gift.
For more information or to view the jewelry see Rob'n Mussell at Woodland Variety and Grill, State Road, Vineyard Haven or leave a message at 508-693-6795.