What problem does Ciao Bella solve?
The Go Gray Collection was created to support the lack of funding for research, treatment options, and assistance to caregivers for people living with brain cancer and brain injury. After being personally affected by brain cancer when her husband, Michael VanBibber passed away from a Glioblastoma brain tumor in July of 2020, Michelle VanBibber gathered inspiration after overcoming so many of the obstacles her family was dealt. She wanted to do all she could to be of service to other families in the same situation.
The Go Gray Collection, featuring accessories for men and women of all ages, allows you to keep an important cause close to your heart while helping those in need. Proceeds from each piece sold go directly to the VanBibber Service Legacy to provide funding for research, treatment options, and financial support for caregivers of individuals living with brain cancer or brain injury. Rather than Go Gray in May for brain tumor awareness month, Michelle is asking everyone to Go Gray every day and wear their handcrafted Go Gray accessories with pride.
Tell us about the founder. What is their background?
Michelle VanBibber began her small business in 2008 with Ciao Bella Jewelry wholesale manufacturing, providing artisan-made, personalized jewelry, accessories, and decor to museums, gift shops, national and state parks, historical sites, and more. At the start of the COVID pandemic in 2020, wholesale manufacturing rates were down due to shops and site closures, so Michelle chose to transition to retail products as well. She now owns and operates both the wholesale manufacturer, Ciao Bella, and the retail market, Michelle Marie Boutique.
Headquartered just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ciao Bella Jewelry and Michelle Marie Boutique are members of the Museum Store Association and are SWAM (Small, Women, and Minority-Owned Business) certified businesses. All of their designs are handmade in the USA by Michelle and her staff. She works to employ women, mothers, and individuals living with disabilities in the local community and began offering work-from-home options for further accessibility during the COVID pandemic.
How did they come up with the idea?
After receiving an invitation to attend a red carpet luxury gifting suite for the 2022 Oscar and Grammy Award nominees, Michelle contemplated on what message and products she wanted to take to Hollywood and share with such a large audience. She instantly knew that this would be the perfect opportunity to bring brain cancer awareness to a bigger platform. Michelle used her artistic eye to create a resin art design with a silver and black swirl to represent the message of Go Gray. She added a splash of sparkling gold to represent hope for a cure to brain cancer.
How can this transform the world or our day-to-day lives?
These products can assist in transforming brain cancer awareness, help to fund cutting-edge research for new treatment options and provide much-needed finances to families in need of assistance caring for brain cancer patients in advanced stages. The VanBibber Service Legacy also supports funding for trained service dogs to aid those affected by brain injury. The VanBibber family had raised money for a service dog for Michael to aid with his mobility issues after his Glioblastoma diagnosis. After Mike’s passing, his dog, Mushu was gifted to another person in need of his specialized training and assistance. Mushu now lives with another family who can fully utilize his training and serves as a mascot for fundraising efforts for the VanBibber Service Legacy.
What do customers love most about the product?
Customers love all of Ciao Bella and Michelle Marie Boutique’s products for their attention to detail and quality craftsmanship. Each piece is handmade and customizable, allowing customers to collaborate with Michelle and create something truly unique and cherished for years to come.
Customers are especially excited about the Go Gray Collection because of the message of resiliency and service to others. By wearing a piece from this collection, not only are you directly helping others in their fight, but you are raising awareness for the cause.
Where can people get this product?
Wholesale and fundraising products can be purchased on CiaoBellaWholesale.com
Products are also available on VanBibberServiceLegacy.com