May 26, 2018
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Think before you pink

By Kristen Andresen, Special to the BDN

Perhaps it’s time to rethink pink. I’m not colorist (or stylist, for that matter). Some of my best friends are pink. They’re even pinker on those first few bikini-weather days in Maine.

But when it comes to the marketing blitz that has become Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I draw the line. A few weeks ago, while strolling down the aisle at one of Bangor’s myriad big box-stores, a display of “BCA” housewares caught my eye. It jogged my memory. Last year, I wrote about “pink washing,” the practice of using the cause to sell more goods.

In all seriousness, the mother of one of my dear friends is a breast cancer survivor. For her — and the millions of other tenacious women (and men) who have battled this ruthless disease — I applaud any effort or dollar that brings us closer to a cure. But when I see pink teddy bears, vacuum cleaners — even pink ribbon toilet paper — in which “a portion of the purchase price” will benefit some charity, I don’t see pink. I see red.

I’m not saying all pink-ribbon products are bad. They’re not. And if you’re going to stock up on toilet paper anyway, why not save your proofs of purchase and send them in to TP central so they’ll donate more money to the Susan G. Komen Foundation?

Here’s my advice: When you go pink, think. If a company is donating 5 cents on a $10 purchase, that’s not exactlyreason to go out of your way to buy its BCA products. You’d be better off sending $10 to Komen or the Maine Cancer Foundation and buying a set of measuring cups that actually match your kitchen, golf balls that aren’t beribboned or the brand of yogurt you normally eat.

A few years back, Kitchen Aid launched its pink “cook for the cure” mixer. And it’s still the gold standard of pink-ribbon products — $50 of the $250 purchase price goes to the Komen foundation. Bravo.

There are BCA products out there that you’ve gotta love for their sheer “grab life by the …” — well, you know — philosophy. The “save the tatas” T-shirt line comes to mind (you can find it at Cool as a Moose in Bar Harbor or online at And even my cynical heart melted when I saw the Cancer Vixen toiletries that Glamour magazine cartoonist — and breast cancer survivor — Marisa Acocella Marchetto designed for C.O. Bigelow. You can find them at Bath & Body Works.

There are products out there that keep the money local, and I wholeheartedly endorse them. Maine-based Ann Veronica Bags donates 10 percent of all sales — not just proceeds — from the Bravery line to Maine Cancer Foundation. Visit for details.

Sea Bags, a Portland company that makes totes from recycled sails, has designed a Cure Bag for the second year running. The company will donate 50 percent of the purchase price ($100-$150) to the Maine Cancer Foundation. Last year, Sea Bags donated $15,000. Visit for details.

Maine-made ToeGoz has created an adorable pink-ribbon flip-flop. The company donates 50 percent of the $34.95 purchase price to Maine Cancer Foundation’s Women’s Cancer Fund. And if you’re interested in more products that will directly benefit MCF, visit

When the money stays in Maine, I don’t have to think twice when I think pink.

Generous — and glamorous

I’d like to extend a hearty — and stylish — thank-you to the people and businesses who donated their time, products and services to make one Bangor woman’s night beautiful. Merijane Spinney, who won the Fashion Challenge ticket giveaway, decided to use her extra ticket to bring a woman from Spruce Run. She then did everything in her power to make it a fairy-tale evening. Thank you, Merijane. And thanks to hairstylist Heather Clement of Inovations in Brewer, Heather van Frankenhuyzen of Bella Luna in Bangor and Phuc Nguyen of Beautiful Nails in Bangor who treated this woman to all the pampering, care and beauty that she deserves. As van Frankenhuyzen says, “Women need to always help other women!” I couldn’t agree more.

ShopGirl would love to hear from you! Send questions, comments or suggestions by e-mail to:, by U.S. mail to Kristen Andresen, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402-1329, or by fax to 941-9476. For exclusive online shopping tips, visit

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