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Unlikely Earrings in the Cards

Women With a (Re)Purpose: In Greeley, Julie Koenig makes earrings from old gift cards


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A little can go a long way. In Greeley, Julie Koenig makes earrings from old gift cards. "Even though this is a small amount of material," she notes, "it helps change public perception."

Koenig, who recently completed a graduate degree in music at University of Northern Colorado, started selling her earrings on Etsy in 2016 as Karma Card Jewelry.

Her boyfriend works at Starbucks and collects spent cards from customers and seasonal cards when they are retired. Friends and family also send old cards. "I have a huge bin of them," Koenig says. "A lot of times they just get thrown in the trash."

After diverting the cards from landfill purgatory, Koenig cuts them up with scissors, files the edges and combines them with beads and scrap vinyl to make one-of-a-kind earrings. One card can be good for up to four pairs of earrings; Koenig has sold hundreds of pairs through Etsy and a store in her native Ohio.

She's working as a music teacher but also eager to grow Karma Card Jewelry and is talking to a few local boutiques. "This is definitely a side gig I want to keep up," she says.

This article is part of a series called Women With a (Re)Purpose, which covers the enterprising women in Colorado that are transforming the waste stream into a supply chain for a wide range of products, while reshaping public perception in the process. 

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Eric Peterson

Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com

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