The Life-Changing Gift: The Story of Rustic Cuff And Jill Donovan

For a store that sells a lot of bracelets, this story is about a whole lot more. It’s about giving selflessly and it starts with Rustic Cuff creator Jill Donovan.

“I think when you go outside of yourself and you do an unselfish, unexpected act of kindness for somebody else—it really—somehow, not that it changes your situation, it changes how you feel and look at your situation and that’s half the battle, it really is,” Donovan said.

The married mother of two left her career as a successful attorney to answer a calling to make bracelets.

“It just hit me . . . I’m gonna start wearing these and then when I feel led—start giving them away,” Donovan said.

The first one she gave away was to a stranger at a grocery store—despite those judgmental inner voices in her head.

“‘No, there’s a line of people, don’t do it, it’s embarrassing, yes give it to her, no,’ and so the voices were so loud in my head that I’m like, ‘stop it! You people in there stop fighting, okay I’ll do it!’” Donovan said with a smile.

For the stranger who received the bracelet, that spontaneous gift came just in time.

“And she started crying—just broke down in tears, and stopped what she was doing and she said, ‘you couldn’t have known this but yesterday I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.’ And it happened to be a pink cuff that I gave her. And she said, ‘and I asked God yesterday to give me a sign that there will be some hope for me,” Donovan said.

At that moment, Donovan declared to always listen to that voice—not in her head—but in her heart.

“You know what it’s like when it doesn’t make logical sense. And you do it and you look back and you’re like, ‘thank God I listened to that voice’ because had I not I would have been robbed of the joy of that, but not only that—they may not have received that thing that they were meant to at that moment,” Donovan said.

She continued to spontaneously gift and re-gift bracelets to strangers, including to Alex Schooley.

“I’m like, I don’t even know this woman!” said Schooley. “I can’t believe that she would be so generous to do this for me.”

Giving, has become the lifeblood of Donovan’s now highly successful company, Rustic Cuff.

“It’s like when you go to Starbucks and the person in front of you pays for your coffee. It’s a cool feeling and you just want to do it for someone else,” said employee Renee Czarniak.

Donovan stressed that giving doesn’t have to be material—it could be your time, a smile, anything.

“And so, if you stopped and just tried for one day, and said, ‘I’m going to gift of myself,’ I think you’d realize that you have so much more than you ever imagined,” Donovan said.

Rustic Cuff has five locations (including a new Dallas store at The Pavilion on Lovers Lane) and is also sold in more than 200 boutiques across the country.

To learn how Oprah played a significant role in Donovan re-gifting, which also includes a Rustic Cuff featured on the cover of O, the Oprah Magazine, click here.

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