Product Review: Purple Ribbon Jewelry – A Daughter’s Hope


I am a competitive person by nature. It isn’t limited to fundraising or professional performance…I’m even competitive with myself. “It took me 15 minutes to blow dry my hair yesterday? I bet I could do it in 10 today!” It’s just the way I’m hardwired. So when I started setting up the awareness bracelets, DVDs and car magnets for the Lupus Foundation of America’s Charlotte, NC “Walk For Lupus Now” 2011, merchandise table, I was a little startled to see that there was another jewelry sales person scheduled to be placed right next to me under the same tent. Of course, I knew I was doing this for charity…I was selling for the “cause”…but as I am always determined to do with everything in my life, I was going to be the best they had ever seen.

Enter….. Purple Ribbon Jewelry

Let me pause here and say that despite the 90 degree heat, I sold some impressive raffle tickets, car magnets, DVDs and yes, even awareness bracelets…I was, and still am, proud to support the Lupus Piedmont Chapter of the LFA in all their fundraising efforts. However, that same jewelry sales person schedulde right next to me under the same tent touched me not only with her beautiful creations, but with the heart that is behind the accessories.

Julie Schoonover is the jewelry designer of Purple Ribbon Jewelry and right on her business card under her business name, she makes no mistake about her company’s purpose: “Raising Lupus Awareness”. 10% of all of Julie’s sales goes to the Lupus Foundation of America’s Piedmont Chapter…the community in which she lives and supports. Julie gives back. She most definitely walks the walk of the talk she talks…and here’s the kicker……she doesn’t have Lupus.

Julie’s mom had Lupus. I had the privilege of sitting down with Julie for lunch in one of the tents and just talking with her about her business and what brought her to creating it. There’s a smile on her face as she talks about her mom…the life she lead, the passion for making each day count even though she was in constant pain and never knew if there was going to be a tomorrow. Even though she lost her battle with Lupus, Julie creates and sells her jewelry to raise awareness and help the LFA in her own way to find a cure for the disease that took her mother.

The items Purple Ribbon offers range from bracelets, earrings, necklaces, key rings, bookmarks to Christmas ornaments. She uses quality beads and charms including purple cat’s eye, amethyst chip beads, and mixed glass beads. The bands include stretch quality, cord, cord wrap, charm style and single strand. Custom items can be requested for design. Prices range from $10 to $20 depending on the item.

The Purple Ribbon jewelry items are unique.  Each piece is uniquely crafted by Julie herself and you will not find replicas in ANY  stores.  In the days after the Charlotte Lupus Walk, I cannot tell you how many random people I had stop me and comment on my bracelet…people who had no idea what it meant.  Because of Julie’s bracelet, two people in a restaurant, who thought it was just “pretty” were educated about an invisible autoimmune disease.  That’s invaluable.

I can personally attest to the quality and beauty of Purple Ribbon items, as I bought a charm bracelet from Julie as she was setting up her table beside me that day. She only had two copies of the bracelet I bought and by the end of the day, I had people offering to buy it off of my wrist for double what I had paid for it.

Of course, I wouldn’t sell.

To me, it’s priceless.

Purple Ribbon can be purchased at


Article written by senior editor, Stephanie Kennedy

Stephanie lives in Fayetteville, NC and is the mother of 3 always hyperactive and occasionally adorable children. She was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in 2001 and in the time since, has added Scleroderma, Hashimotos, Celiac and Degenerative Disc Disease. In her day-to-day life she is a Community Relations Specialist (aka, marketing and creative hodgepodge facilitator) and a part-time blogging snarkzilla. She can always be found somewhere in social media-land causing some sort of trouble. Find her on twitter at @steph_in_nc or on facebook at Stephanie Welborn Kennedy.

  • What a great cause and its’ very impressive that each piece of jewelry is uniquely crafted by Julie herself ! In the antique world I work in we adore unique pieces so good job Julie!

  • Lee

    For a Good Cause – Send Me a link to your site and I will put in on my site – Lee

  • Your story is a beautiful story…. I understand every part of what you said from feeling to competitive against other people who sell Awareness Jewelry to realizing that there is room for everyone because we are all working towards one goal and that is to find a cure and end the suffering. I started my Jewelry business because an illness was not only taking my life it was taking over my life making the time I had left all about suffering rather than living. Starting my Awareness Jewelry Business has made me see just how many people really are out there suffering and in need of help but it also made me see just how many people understand and care about what I’m going through. I started my business because I wanted to raise money for MY cause and now I take on EVERY cause because I realize everyone needs help not just me…. it has giving me passion, purpose and hope… amd that’s a whole world away from where I started in self pity and loathing…. It really is a beautiful thing when you can fight back! @ Erinn I love the spoon theory too! It makes so much sense and explains things in a way most wouldn’t understand! I devoted a whole line of my jewelry to the spoon theory and I love it, it’s one of my most popular selling styles because so many people can relate to it… if you ever need anyone to talk to you or if you would like a way to connect with thousands of others just like you and me …. look me up on facebook… the name is Sash Jewelers and it’s not a business page just a regular page (it allows me to connect better that way) I have found more help, caring and understanding than I could’ve ever imagined just by finding people who cared about causes because they were suffering or they knew people who were suffering and care enough to do something about it even if that means just looking for someone to talk to and relate to…. they’ve even shared this page with me :)… also feel free to check my website! I do all causes and take requests for custom made items all the time! it’s …. SASH means spread awareness spread hope! and that is the motto I live by!!

  • Jenn

    Purple is also the colour used for crohn’s as well…oh, and I have purple hair too! (just got it done yesterday!)
    You can find out a lot of ribbon colours here:
    (BTW, I also need a blue for my Ankylosing splondylitis and yellow for my liver disease…I’m a colourful gal…)

  • Teresa Townsend

    Absolutely awesome!! I have not only been touched by this story but I’ve also been educated. Thank you, ladies. Many blessing to you! 🙂

  • Darlene

    The color Purple represents all ‘invisible illnesses’ when it comes to awareness; Chrohns, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Sjogrens, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and the like. I think it’s a wonderful story for you to have shared. Thank you. You are an incredibly generous woman. Happy Honeymoon! <3

  • Kelly

    What a beautiful story! Purple ribbon is also the symbol for Sjogren’s, (which I have) as well as for raising awareness for the Pagan religion (I am Pagan).

  • I thought that fibro was purple true I would love to wear something to symbolize what I go through every day. I love the spoonie therory. I think it works with everyone with chronic conditons and pain. I have lost a lot of friends and the sad part my brother thinks I am plain lazy because he doen’t understand at all what I have and has no interest in the facts or me. I only have one sibling out of four who talks to me and understands only because he was born with heart defects and understands extreme exhaustion himself. I hope to find some of my own syndrome. Thanks. I tested negative for lupus or the antibodies this week. Fibro is already so hard on me. I am so glad.

  • All it takes is just one to make all the difference. I have taught that to my daughter as she watches me battle Lupus. Very inspiring and hopeful-

  • Thank you for the great review! I will be back from my honeymoon June 14th 🙂 The Piedmont chapter does such great work, I am proud to offer my support. I don’t know what Lupus feels like but I know what it feels like to watch someone hurt and know there is nothing anyone can do.

  • steph

    Let me say for the record that Julie is getting married this weekend so please be patient with any orders placed between now and then! 🙂

  • its orange for lupus in australia…so i make orange ones…im loving the purple!

  • Karen

    That’s so awesome! Thanks for sharing. Purple is also for epilepsy awareness and I have a very close friend who makes purple jewelry for epilepsy awareness as well as green for mental illness. i think it’s an awesome way to help get out cause out for others to know.