Avid runner, mom, everyday super hero and creative artist, Melissa Gacek (Oiselle Team Elite) has partnered with Oiselle to launch a limited edition line of precious metal silver and bronze jewelry for runners, featuring the Wings Out PR Necklace (short) and Fly Necklace (long).
The original necklace, given to Melissa by her late sister-in-law Alyn Shannon, became her PR (personal record) necklace, as she wore it to the 2008 Olympic Trials and went on to hit her 2:44:10 marathon PR.
Proceeds from jewelry sales will benefit healinghaiti.org. Healing Haiti was founded by Alyn Shannon, and Melissa carries her vision forward be creating beautiful jewelry that inspire women to be free to develop their inner passions and true selves.
Read on to find out more about Melissa and our partnership for Oiselle's first jewelry collection.
Hi Melissa, you're a runner on the Oiselle elite team and a fast one at that (2:44 marathoner), how did you hear about Oiselle and when did you join our family of runners?
My teammate, Erin Ward, started racing for Oiselle, I remember being impressed with her FB photo of some sweet arm warmers. Oiselle really got on my radar when they did their Olympic Trials 2012 Fashion Show. I officially joined the team in September of 2012.
>> To read more about Melissa Gacek's running check out her Oiselle Team profile here.
How did you get started making this beautiful jewelry?
Over the past 7 years, I spent many hours hanging out with my sister-in-law, Alyn Shannon, while she worked. She eventually invited me into her tribe where she would orchestrate a pretty intense Christmas craft for several years in a row, (major artistic undertaking, not just “jam in jars” kind of thing....) during the latter of which she first had us try an infused glass and punched metal necklace designs.
From there, Alyn started working with the precious metal clay, and she became so busy she stopped the annual craft because she had such high demands for her designs. I’d help her occasionally with holiday shows or sales. After she passed away in 2010, I wanted to keep her vision alive and received specialized training with the product. Like myself, Alyn was a graphic designer by trade, and that skill set meant creating custom molds for the clay with typography and patterns was possible.
I always wished there was better running jewelry out there, so when I met Sally at Hood To Coast this past Aug, I saw a vision again for next generation of jewelry designs. Oiselle has such a strong designs and an enpowering message for women, it was love at first set; the perfect partner.
Alyn sounds like she was an amazing woman. Can you tell me a bit more about her Healing Haiti organization?
Alyn used 100% of her time, materials and profits from the jewelry to make a difference and to support her mission, HealingHaiti.org. She and her husband, Jeff Gacek, built Grace Village in Titanyen, Haiti and it opened in 2011. It is the home for 65+ orphans, a feeding center for the village, it’s the hub of the elder care program, they just opened their first school that has 265+ students. They also have supported other schools, teacher salaries and have a water truck running thru Cité Soleil.
The proceeds from the Melissa Gacek for Oiselle jewelry will support the aquaponics system that will launch in January 1, 2013. This is a tilapia farm that connects to a greenhouse structure that grows vegetables and fruits for the village (that’s my non-scientific description for it LOL). The villagers will be able to learn this trade. I love the sustainability aspect of not just feeding, but learning a trade.
Shop Melissa Gacek for Oiselle Collection: Show Your Wings