940 Calle Amanecer, Suite F
By Eric Heinz
If you’re looking for a gift that promotes inspiration, try Gemma Raffo, based in San Clemente. The company makes small products with caring messages inscribed on them. One such gift is the passing coin, which people can give to one another as an act of solidarity.
The idea came to owner Lisa Spitzer Lawson after she went through a tumultuous time in her life.
“No one really knows, when you’re passing by a stranger, what that person is going through,” Spitzer Lawson said.
Working as a nurse, Spitzer Lawson said she searched for things to keep her connected with her family.
“We all had our St. Christopher necklaces that we would kiss every time we saw each other,” Spitzer Lawson said. “It kept us connected. At that point in time, I promised myself that I would find something or create something that always keeps people connected.”
To get her company off the ground, she initiated a Kickstarter campaign that helped fund the business.
The passing coin that Gemma Raffo makes has an inscription that reads “This Too Shall Pass.” Other items the company makes include compasses with the inscription “I Am Always Here With You,” and an amulet with customized scrolls inside a capsule named the impart locket.
On her website, Spitzer Lawson has posted inspirational blog entries as well as testimonies from people who have been uplifted by the products and have passed them on to friends.
“There’s always something about connection with the pieces,” Spitzer Lawson said. “My biggest mission is to reach out to people to send out a message of support and to help those who are going through difficult times, no matter what the circumstance may be.”
Lawson’s husband, Anthony, shapes the metal pieces and stamps them with the inscriptions. People can also request personalized inscriptions for their pieces. Anthony has his own company, J.L. Lawson & Co., which produces tops and other metal products.
Gemma Raffo is the namesake of her Italian grandmother, who Lawson said is one of the strongest people she knows.