By Duffy Zimmerman
When Andrea Heitner and Andrea Weisbach created BKeepersNYC Mask Chains back in July, they agreed that proceeds from their product should benefit charities.
“With so many people out of work, and people hungry…It’s such a dark time for so many people,” Heitner said. “To launch something and not give back in that capacity felt extremely wrong to us.”
Ten percent of BKeeperNYC’s profits are donated to a charitable organization each month. Their first donation went to City Harvest and provided an additional 570 meals to food insecure New Yorkers. BKeeperNYC has since worked with the Global Medical Relief Fund, Sharsheret and Sunrise Association Day Camps. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this month’s donation will be given to Go With Courage, a cancer research organization based on Long Island.
The idea for the BKeeperNYC came shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began recommending that people wear masks when in public or when in close proximity to those outside their household. Heitner and Weisbach noticed those around them –particularly their husbands and kids– were having trouble remembering face coverings when leaving the house.
“It was during those lockdown days when it was very critical that you get out, you did what you need to do, and get back home,” Heitner said. “They would run out and then five minutes later they would be back in the house because they forgot their mask.”
Heitner and Weisbach, who have known each other for two decades, combined their talents in crafting, retail, and sales to design the BKeeperNYC Chains. Their creation was a metallic chain, which they say is a bit of sparkle in a dark world, with clasps that attach to straps on the mask. Just as eyeglasses can be chained and worn around the neck, BKeeperNYC allows customers to wear the mask as a necklace when not used as a face covering.
The chains, which range in price from $15 to $45, come in a variety of colors and sizes for all ages. Even those who typically would not wear jewelry, like Heitner’s husband, have had a positive response to the product.
“The man hasn’t taken it off of him since he put it on,” Heitner said of her husband. “I cannot believe how weirdly life-changing this chain is.”
BKeeperNYC’s mission to “B kind, B safe, B beautiful” has stretched across the country, with retailers selling their merchandise as far south as New Orleans, and as far north as Boston. As the weather gets colder, the brand has even started selling knits hats with the promise that for every hat sold, one will be donated to The INN, a Hempstead-based organization that addresses homelessness.
The founders, while unsure of what may become of their budding, have agreed to take things one day at a time.
“We kind of feel like ‘let’s do the best we can do today, plan a little for tomorrow, but kind of see what’s needed,’” Heitner said.
BKeeperNYC products can be purchased online at bkeepernyc.com.