“I love Buffalo because it is small enough that there is always a connection to be found!” – Robyn Zimmer e-mailed me after perusing my Facebook page and realizing that my boyfriend taught both her kids English in high school.

I had been put in contact with Robyn a week or so earlier when I was investigating her “Embrace The Difference®” jewelry line available at Reeds Jewelers. Since the initial contact we had been exchanging e-mails for a few days, and it didn’t take long for me to see what an incredibly successful and giving woman Robyn Zimmer is. Not to mention, a LOCAL talent.

But first, let’s talk about Embrace The Difference®! As a Board Member for danceability Inc., I am always looking for ways to help fundraise for the organization. Someone mentioned that Reeds donated a portion of a jewelry line to charities so I hopped on the site and contacted them immediately. Robyn was thrilled to have danceability Inc. join.

When I spoke with Robyn she told me more about the Embrace The Difference® line of jewelry. “Embrace The Difference® is an idea close to my heart. I came up with the idea because my son, Sam has grown up with disabilities. I realized along the way that Sam was lucky enough to have many people who accepted him for who he is. The people that have “embraced” Sam’s differences have made all the difference in his life. Everyone should have the same opportunities. I designed this jewelry to show acceptance and support no matter what difference someone has, and to help raise funds for many charities in the community.”

The original symbol for Embrace The Difference® is interlocking circles connected by a square. The square represents the difference. As Robyn said, “It doesn’t matter what difference we have, we are all linked together.” The line includes pendants, rings, earrings, bracelets, tie tacks, lapel pins and cuff links. They range in price from $95 – $175. (There are also a few all gold and diamond pieces for $795). When a piece is purchased, the buyer is asked to choose a charity from their list (currently there are 24 charities) and $30 of the purchase is donated to the charity. For the big ticket pieces, $100 is donated.

So who is the lady behind Embrace The Difference®? Robyn Zimmer, grew up in Roslyn, Long Island (alright, so she wasn’t BORN in Buffalo, but she chose to make it her home and raise her kids here so she’s LOCAL enough for me!). In 1978, she went to UB and then Buffalo State College. After graduating in 1982 she returned to NYC with a degree in design. She came back to visit a friend in 1985 and was introduced to her husband, Jeff Zimmer. After six months of dating she packed up her apartment and moved to Buffalo and has been living here since! Robyn and Jeff also have a daughter, Rachel who is 18 in addition to their son Sam, who is 21.

Robyn’s passion has always been to create products that solve common problems. She has invented many products and just signed a licensing agreement to have her first patented product manufactured and brought to the market. The product, Window OrigamiTM was featured on the television show “Homemade Millionaire” with Kelly Ripa.

Our conversations quickly turned to Buffalo, (as they do with most people I talk with for this blog) and I asked her what her favorite parts about the city are.”People from Buffalo are genuinely nice! People have good, down to earth values. When I first moved here from NYC I went into a Wilson Farms to buy a newspaper. The cashier said, “have a nice day” and actually meant it. I wasn’t used to that living in NYC!”

Robyn recently completed the Leadership Buffalo program and was amazed to learn so many new things about Buffalo. She said she can’t get enough of the architecture and historical sites, and the restaurants here are “amazing”.

Robyn’s husband Jeff is the owner of Reeds Jewelers. Reeds Jewelers and Jenns Decor combined their stores and jointly own the property. 2012 is a big year for Reeds Jewelers! The family business will be turning 100 year this!

One of the greatest parts about the City of Buffalo, to me, are the people. This blog has put me in contact with so many great people like Robyn, and I plan on sharing more of their stories throughout the coming months.

If you haven’t checked out the Embrace The Difference® line, please visit www.embracethedifference.org today! With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, purchasing a piece for a loved one will not only support a local family, but help out a great WNY organization as well.