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Brighton native selling wristbands for Japan

After first seeing the images of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Eric Heins didn’t set out to make “Livestrong bracelets for hipsters.”  

After first seeing the images of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Eric Heins didn’t set out to make “Livestrong bracelets for hipsters.”

But in a sense, that’s exactly what the 24-year-old has done by donating about $30,000 in proceeds from handmade leather straps with a red button to Japanese disaster relief.

“When I put them out I didn’t think of it, but a lot of blogs started calling them ‘hipster Livestrong bracelets,’” Heins said. “Bracelets are popular. They sell well and in that respect they are like Livestrong bracelets. I didn’t think about that.

“I just knew it would be the best way to hit a lot of demographics.”

Working out of his Brighton apartment, Heins makes about 500 bracelets at a time by hand, then helps his roommate hand-address packages.

“It’s really crazy,” Heins said. “I’ve been able to keep up with the demand pretty much OK till now.”

While attending the New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University a few years ago, Heins drew inspiration from Japanese leathersmiths to create his own business, Corter Leather, which manufactures wallets, belts and bags.

So after disaster struck, donating $15.50 out of every $20 bracelet to the Red Cross was the least Heins could do.

Heins doesn’t mind the good-natured hipster humor.

“It’s definitely a compliment,” he said of the Livestrong comparisons.

Nuclear rally planned

Environmental groups and public health advocates will hold a rally outside the State House in advance of Wednesday’s legislative hearing on nuclear safety focused on the Pilgrim plant in Plymouth and other facilities.

They will urge the NRC to delay relicensing Pilgrim until the plant’s owners address safety concerns exposed by the nuclear scare in Japan, including similar design aspects.

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