Home / Silicon Valley / At Jenni Kayne opening, Silicon Valley elite shop for a cause

At Jenni Kayne opening, Silicon Valley elite shop for a cause

At Jenni Kayne opening, Silicon Valley elite shop for a cause



March 29, 2017

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You can’t escape congressional battles over health insurance policy on radio or TV, or even at cocktail parties, it seems. Health care was the hot topic at the grand-opening party for the Jenni Kayne store at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, an event that doubled as a benefit for Beyond Type 1, a diabetes nonprofit with ties to Silicon Valley.

“Everything that’s going on is a concern for us,” said Sarah Lucas, a Menlo Park event designer who co-founded the nonprofit with venture capitalist Juliet de Baubigny of Kleiner, Perkins Caufield & Byers. “Type 1 is an autoimmune disease, and you are insulin-dependent for life. To not have access to life-saving medication is one thing, but it’s also incredibly expensive.”

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Beyond Type 1’s other co-founders, celebrity chef Sam Talbot and singer Nick Jonas, have Type 1 diabetes, as do Lucas’ 25-year-old daughter and de Baubigny’s 9-year-old son. (Type 2 diabetes, in contrast, can be treated with diet and exercise.)

“I can’t imagine how overwhelming it would be to get a diagnosis for something there isn’t a cure for yet,” said Kayne, the founder of the women’s sportswear and lifestyle brand and a mother of two, who came from Los Angeles to show personal support. “I don’t think people understand it’s life threatening.”

As waiters proffered bite-size toasts with edamame puree and glasses of Champagne, 90 guests — pals of de Baubigny and her party co-host, Cori Bates, wife of former GoPro President Tony Bates — shopped for California casual and chic $295 cashmere jersey tank tops, $595 silk maxi dresses and Kayne’s coveted $495 D’Orsay flats.

Some 20 percent of proceeds of the March 21 event went to the nonprofit, whose website, https://beyondtype1.org, and social media outreach provide global access to information about diabetes and how to cope. “It’s a pain in the ass to manage,” de Baubigny said of the disease. “There is a community that feels alone and fragile every day.” The 18-month-old nonprofit’s app already has 14,000 users, and its Facebook page has tallied 675,000 likes.

“It’s a great way to open a store, with a story — we’re not just here to frivolously shop,” said Akiko Yamazaki, wife of Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, as she browsed with Jamie Chen, wife of YouTube co-founder Steve Chen. SkinSpirit CEO Lynn Heublein listened as Shelly Kapoor Collins, a partner at Propeller Venture Capital, chitchatted about her investments in a woman-led drone company. Just typical Silicon Valley small talk.

Later, 30 guests segued to dinner at Palo Alto’s hottest tech hangout, Bird Dog restaurant, where Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer slipped into the private room just as wood-grilled avocados with ponzu, and fried chicken with green curry were being served.

“Jenni’s lifestyle brand speaks to strength, values and purpose,” de Baubigny said in toasting Kayne, words that might have been just as appropriate for any of her accomplished tablemates. “I’m so grateful to you for everything you’ve done supporting Beyond Type 1.”

Carolyne Zinko is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: czinko@sfchronicle.com


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