Newton resident Sally Jane Waite was preparing to launch an online jewelry business with her aunt when she was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 2013, while seven months pregnant. Now the mother of a healthy toddler, Sam, Waite is cancer-free and back at work with her aunt, Sally Jane Algiere of Durham, Conn., designing pieces for — you guessed it — Sally Jane Jewelry. The jewelry is meant to be inspirational as well as beautiful.
Q. How did the partnership with your aunt come about?
A. In 2011, my husband and I returned from living in the UK and my aunt started coming to Boston more often. She knew about my dream to start a jewelry company, and then we just started talking about doing it together. We launched in the summer of 2012. Naming the company was easy, and we took baby steps to learn everything else.
Q. What products do you offer?
A. We currently have 12 jewelry pieces, including gold and silver necklaces, bracelets, and wrap bracelets, which are silk pieces of fabric with a charm that you wrap around your wrist a couple of times. They cost between $43 and $72.
Q. Do you have a signature piece or theme?
A. All of our jewelry has a bee, which is a symbol of strength against adversity. Aerodynamically, bees shouldn’t be able to fly, but they’re able to do it by flapping their wings very fast. We all have the inner strength within us to get through impossible situations.
Q. Has being a cancer survivor had an impact on your business?
A. So many people have helped, both with my recovery and the startup, that it’s impossible not to give back. With every purchase, we donate $1 to Mass. General for immunotherapy research and supportive care for patients and families. My aunt has a Jin Shin Jyutsu practice, so we also donate to an organization that researches its health benefits.
Q. What is on the horizon?
A. Each piece comes with an insert that says, “Bee courageous, bee bold, bee a survivor, just bee!” We’d like people to write their own message on the back and Instagram it to start a dialogue of wisdom and hope for people struggling with illness, divorce, bullying, and any other challenge. That alone is a gift you can give someone to remind them they’re not alone and they can persevere through it.
For more information, visit sallyjane.net.Cindy Cantrell may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.