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Evelyn & Arthur prides itself on giving back to local communities, and so does its co-owner, Adrianne Weissman—a board member, businesswoman and breast cancer survivor from Jupiter.
Pashminas have a purpose at Evelyn & Arthur, a women’s clothing brand in Florida. Not only do the soft wool shawls in an array of shades accessorize an outfit, they also raise money for those in need.
Pink pashmina proceeds have helped breast cancer patients, while sales of orange ones have generated funds for those with bladder cancer. The iconic piece of couture available at each of the retailer’s 10 locations, including Jupiter and Palm Beach, have become a fashionable fundraiser for charities chosen by the philanthropic co-owner.
“I just feel like the stores are an avenue to give back,” says Adrianne Weissman, the president and proprietor of the Evelyn & Arthur brand, who took over the company for her parents (Evelyn and Arthur) with her husband, Fred, in 2007.
“It’s just having a heart,” Weissman says. “Retail is retail. Yeah, I want my ladies looking fabulous, but I also want to make other people feel good. There’s more to life than selling clothes.”
The 58-year-old gained such insight in 2013 when she learned she had breast cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy and endured rounds of chemotherapy. Weissman says she never thought she was going to die from the disease, but she credits her emotional survival to the peers who held her hand during the recovery.
“What I’ve done with that experience is I’ve helped other women go through this awful, stupid thing,” Weissman says. “You have to pay it forward. People need to do this in the world. It’s just part of life.”
The wife, mother, businesswoman and board member of The Lord’s Place, Palm Beach Habilitation Center and Susan G. Komen South Florida has made festive—and frequent—pashmina parties part of her company’s corporate mission.
She personalizes her parties by catering them to clients. She remembers organizing an event for a shopper whose granddaughter had been diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that takes over the body at birth and causes multiple behavioral disorders, most notably overeating. An evening reception took place in the little girl’s honor that benefited the Prader-Willi Classic, an LPGA pro-am tournament that pays for a research fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute.
“I think volunteering, I think giving back is so important,” Weissman says. “You feel better. I was blessed to be born into a family that had [financial security]. Not everybody has that same opportunity, so you have to give back and help those who weren’t.”
Some pashmina parties last an afternoon and include a fashion show. Others, like the one for the Prader-Willi Classic, take place at night and feature cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. The item sells for $28, and the non-profit receives 100 percent of the proceeds.
Agencies that Evelyn & Arthur champions also include Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches, which aids financially strapped parents and young children without after-school activities, and the Palm Beach Habilitation Center, which serves developmentally disabled adults. This month, the Palm Beach Gardens store is giving away 200 Lisa Todd tops and 300 pairs of Lisette Limoges pants to The Lord’s Place’s homeless clients.
“That’s just me,” Weissman says. “It’s the easiest thing in the whole world. Why not make somebody else’s life better if you can?”