Local Love: Ben's Bells

We're excited to announce that we've got new (and pretty fantastic) neighbors here at MADE. Ben's Bells has opened their Phoenix location on Roosevelt Row and we couldn't be happier. Check out our Q&A to learn more about Ben's Bells.

Q: What is the story behind your brand and products? 

The story of Ben’s Bells is a sad one. 13 years ago in Tucson, Jeannette Maré’s son, Ben, unexpectedly died right before he turned 3yrs old. She and her family were completely devastated by the tragedy, but they found that the kind things that their friends and family were doing for them, like helping to care for their other son, bringing them food, and helping to clean their house, were so important in helping them to heal. Surprisingly, they found that not only did they need kindness from the people they were close to, but also from strangers. The kind acts that strangers did for them, like opening the door, letting them into traffic, and even just smiling at them, were equally powerful in their healing process. 

They came up with a design for Ben’s Bells and started making them in their back yard studio with friends. The therapeutic effect of working with clay was amazing, as was the power of being surrounded by people talking and working toward a common goal. On the first anniversary of his death, hundreds of Ben’s Bells were distributed throughout Tucson, hung randomly in trees, on bike paths, and in parks with a written message to simply take one home and pass on the kindness. From there, Ben’s Bells was formed. The community response was profound and they went on to open two studios in Tucson, one in Connecticut, and the newest one in Phoenix. 

Ben’s Bells symbolize kindness and its power in healing. We hope that they will touch others’ lives and help to make our community a gentler place to live. Our mission is to inspire, educate, and motivate people to realize the impact of intentional kindness, and to empower individuals to act according to that awareness, thereby strengthening ourselves, our relationships and our communities.

Q: How can people get involved?

There are many ways to get involved with Ben’s Bells. The Phoenix studio is open Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 10am-6pm. Everyone is welcome to stop in to help us with whatever we are doing that day- from sculpting to painting! It is a free volunteer activity, and no reservations are necessary. If you have a larger group, we host group experiences and parties at the studio as well. Please email christy@bensbells.org for more information. Our website also has tons of information about getting your school or workplace involved with our amazing kindness education programming: https://bensbells.org/kindness-education.

Q: What makes your pieces special/unique?

Ben’s Bells are unique in that each year thousands of people from all walks of life volunteer to help make the bells. Some volunteers craft the pieces of the bells from clay, others paint them, and others assemble them. By the time one bell is finished, at least 10 different people have participated in its creation. They then are hung throughout the community with a note that says to take it home, hang it, and remember to spread kindness throughout our world. A simple note with a powerful message.

Q: What inspires you?

I am constantly inspired by the incredible stories that I hear from the people who walk in our doors. Whether hearing a story about how they found a bell, or listening to them tell similar experience to Jeannette’s, or hearing how her story touched them, it is amazing to be a part of something so powerful! I encourage everyone to read some of these inspiring stories on our website.

Q: What is your favorite part about Phoenix/Arizona? 

My favorite part about Phoenix is the incredible community that surrounds us. There is so much support and creativity in the Valley and I am proud to be a part of it! We live in such a big city, yet it feels like a small town in many ways!

Q: What’s your favorite local hot spots? 

So hard to choose just one! I love the Phoenix Public Market, Cartel, MADE, Frances, Welcome Diner, The Vig, The Duce…the list goes on!

Make sure to join the Ben's Bells team for their grand opening at their Roosevelt Row location. RSVP here and help spread the word of the outstanding work they are doing!