An Auckland woman making handmade earrings and pins from home has raised more than $1000 for Women's Refuge by selling Jacinda Ardern and Dr Ashley Bloomfield merchandise.
Whatever Club owner and operator Amy Potenger told 1 NEWS she had sold about 130 pairs of earrings and pins featuring the Prime Minister, the most of any product she'd ever sold, and about 90 of the Director-General of Health earrings and pins.
Ms Potenger started making the earrings and pins about three weeks ago while in lockdown. They're made from plastic, with the print shrunk on in the oven.
"I decided to make Dr Ashley and Jacinda Ardern earrings and pins during Level 4, as I knew their presence had become a big part of the country’s everyday life," she said.
"My flatmates and I gather around a laptop to watch the 1pm briefing like how our grandparents would have gathered around the radio during wartime, I imagine."
"Tuning in to the press conferences makes me feel safe and informed and like we’re all in this together."
Ms Potenger, who has run her business from her Mount Eden home for five years, said she never expected the interest her products gained though.
"It seems like Dr Ashley’s cool, calm and collected manner has helped him to become a hero in the eyes of many. I’m less surprised about the response to the Jacinda items as everyone around me thinks she’s the best thing that’s happened to NZ in a long time and I agree."
Dr Bloomfield himself even commented on the products after Ms Potenger reached out.
"He said, 'I'm relaxed about you using my image (if people really want earrings with it on them!) and pleased to hear it is raising money for such a good cause'.
"I'm so stoked he emailed me back personally. What a sweetheart."
Ms Potenger said she was grateful for the response in people buying the products, which has helped her business stay afloat amid the pandemic, but she felt for those struggling at this time.
As a way to give back, 25 per cent of proceeds from the Jacinda Ardern and Dr Ashley Bloomfield merchandise is going to Women's Refuge. So far over $1000 has been raised.
"I feel for those whose homes are not safe and for whom this time must be extra scary," Ms Potenger said.
The products also follow a Dunedin clothing printing company which has been making good use of Dr Bloomfield’s new-found fame by selling t-shirts and tote bags with his face front and centre.
The company is also raising money for Women's Refuge, with last week's numbers about $50,000.
Ms Potenger's earrings and pins can be purchased from her website at www.whateverclub.rocks.