Friday, May 19, 2017

Fair Trade Chokers - Then & Now

Do you remember the show Felicity? That was late 90s! I confess, I watched it most weeks. Twice I caught a glimpse of Tangi Miller, the actress that played the character, Elena Tyler wearing our fair trade choker! Crazy right? I jumped up with my camera and snapped pictures of the television screen. (If you're reading this blog, Tangi, I am so sorry. I know the bottom image here is not the best. But heck, I was just way too excited to see our choker featured on a TV show.) At the time, we had press nods in Seventeen, Teen Magazine, Jump and others - but I rarely was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of our designs on the tube. This net choker was such a popular style back then.

Dunitz & Company was one of the very first to bring handmade beaded jewelry from Guatemala to the USA. Perhaps you've read our About Section on our website about how beading is not indigenous to Guatemala and how I collaborated with an American and a German woman living there at the time. They both created beadwork and with them, we taught Mayan women to create beadwork.  Our early designs like this one were simple. But oh wow, was this one as popular as ever. For years we offered it in every color combination under the sun. One of my favorites was the combo that Tangi is actually wearing in the top photo here. That mint/pink/burgundy combo looked like candy.  (We don't offer this design anymore. I'm certain there are importers that do.)

Here's another time I caught a glimpse of our fair trade choker on TV. Do you remember Dayna Devon sharing entertainment news on Extra? Dayna is such a beautiful woman, and I know this shot is terrible. Heck, her eyes are half closed.  Back then there was no DVR. I could not stop and rewind and stop again - snapping over and over to get my best shot.  (So, again, Dayna, if you ever see this blog, I'm sorry for the unflattering photo. Of course, I loved that you were wearing a Dunitz & Company choker.)

What goes around comes around. And we are thrilled Chokers are back in style with a vengeance. Dunitz & Company is now offering many fair trade chokers and lariats. And now more than in the late 90s, our designs are more complicated... & well, I think leaps and bounds more beautiful. We sell to many retail stores and we are also offering some great designs online.  One of our favorites and most popular is our Itsa Spear Choker. This one is created with all sorts of Czech & Japanese beads and leather cord.

Don't you think this design would be beautiful on you? If you're wearing one of our designs, please send us a photo of you modeling. We'd be thrilled to share them with our readers. And, Tangi or Dayna, if you're reading we'd love to outfit you in some our latest designs. Just let us know! -ND

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Dunitz Fair Trade - Blog Name Change

We've given our blog a new identity. Always part of the "blogger" family, our blog is now hosted at Our old address has been merged into the new URL. [If you go there, it will redirect to our new URL. Don't worry. You won't miss a thing!]  When you visit our blog, you will see links at the top that will redirect you back to (our wholesale site) and/or (our retail site.) Our blog covers many topics that relate to all different kinds of customers and people. We didn't want to pigeonhole it as a wholesale blog or a retail blog. And it is connected to both of our sites. Snagging the domain seemed to make a lot of sense for us. Why? Read on.

Dunitz & Company has been selling fashion-forward jewelry since the early 90s.  When we first introduced our collections back then, retail store buyers bought our line because it was beautiful, hip and well made. They'd never seen beadwork anything like what we were offering. We went the extra mile to differentiate ourselves from "cheap imports." Our trade show booth  and collateral materials always had a higher-end and fashionable look. Of course, then as now, many shops wanted to purchase the lowest priced goods they could find. Luckily for us, there were many interested in our well-designed pieces. And for years, this is what catapulted our sales.

In recent times, discriminating buyers have been increasingly interested in making purchases from companies they perceive as ethical. For many years as awareness increased about fair trade, I believe retail store buyers bought from us first, because our line was so attractive and second, if given a choice between a vendor that had (ethical) credentials or not, they'd opt for us, because we had them. (Dunitz & Company is a vetted member of Fair Trade Federation and a gold-certified Green America business.)  And now, in the current wholesale/retail environment, I actually think customers seek us out because they know we're a "fair trade" business. They don't even consider our beautiful jewelry line until after they've screened us for our business practices. It is for this reason, I decided our blog should include the words "fair trade". We want anyone reading our blog to know at the get-go that we have a fair trade jewelry company. -ND

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Dunitz & Company - Logo Fonts & Parents

Almost every day when I look at my logo and the font I chose to represent my business, I think of my dad. And I smile.  What could be better than that? When I've considered updating my logo, I'm always reminded of my lingering smile. And I stop considering a change. I like thinking of my dad. I know he would be so proud of what I've accomplished with Dunitz & Company.  He'd be pleased seeing my sales and receipts. My dad after-all was a businessman. He worked in real estate and finance. Yes, he had his own business. And his company logo used this very same font, Mistral. My dad died when I was in college. He never lived to see me pursue my dreams.  But, I always have this vision of him visiting my office and assisting me with my sales (and collection) calls. (OK, he probably would not have chosen pink lettering for his website!)

I started my business on a shoestring. The worldwide web did not yet exist. And printing was still quite expensive. Letraset was commonplace. When I started Dunitz & Company in 1989, a local printer, Barbara helped me pick out the most artsy Letraset available. THAT was my first logo. She provided me my first stationery and business cards.  I actually cut out traditional fabric squares to surround this logo for folders I used for sending out my first press releases. And then when the web came along the font I had chosen was nowhere to be found. I couldn't easily adapt it to different sizes or use it for multiple purposes. That's when I adopted the Mistral font. Early 90s.

In 2011, I introduced a fused glass collection, lovingly coined Joanie M. The collection is so so different from our fair trade beadwork. I intuitively knew it needed to be anointed with a different identity. I already had been thinking of my dad on most days at work (having chosen the Mistral font for the Dunitz & Company logo.) Now it was mom's turn to be acknowledged. My mother had always been a total fashion plate. She was always on-trend and looked so hip. And she had always dreamt of owning a 'dress shop' - which in her lifetime never happened. It seemed a perfect idea to name our fused glass jewelry after her. She was the first Joanie M - and now there is Joanie M, the fair trade fused glass jewelry collection. (Her maiden name was Mitchell.)  She too is beaming up in heaven knowing clothing boutiques all over the USA and other parts of the world are selling pretty jewelry displayed on earring cards or with hang-tags embossed with her name. If you look to the right, you can see the font I chose for this collection. By 2011, there were oodles of cool fonts available - and I adore this one. It actually possesses the essence of her signature which I attempted to forge and sometimes fairly well many times!

So, there you have it. Each and every day, I am often reminded of my parents, Joan (Joanie) and Daniel (Danny) Dunitz. There presence can be seen and felt at every turn. I'm even posting a photo of them here - larger than I typically post photos on this blog. Why? Because I love them now and forever.  I am because they were. -ND

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Did Blake Lively Inspire You to Buy That?

I read a lot of magazines. Mostly fashion magazines. And what I notice more often than ever is famous and beautiful actresses selling everything. They're now earning huge contracts to hawk just about everything. And when they're not being paid (and dressed) to promote makeup and water, they've been hired to doll up for fashion spreads in InStyle, Elle, Vogue and every other hipster rag. Just today I received an 148 page 'Bare Issue' from Glamour. What did I find? Blake selling Loreal. Alyssa pitching Atkins. Lupita with Lancome. Sofia downscale with head & shoulders. Priyanka modeling with Pantene. Kristin Bell selling watches and Jennifer with her smartwater. Obviously these multi-million$ companies are banking on these beauties to convince us all to use a different shampoo or purchase a different breakfast bar.

We've taken to Instagram Stories to ask our followers if they've been moved by these famous spokespeople. Does Blake influence your purchases? Will Sofia actually convince you to soap up with something different than what you've been using?  Do these gorgeous women influence your personal style? (Perhaps you should follow us on Instagram to check out our saucy comments?) I guess I'm a little jealous. I sure wish at least one of these stunning women would be inspiring 1000s to support fair trade and wear Dunitz & Company jewelry.  We've directed tweets to influential actresses. We've commented on some of their Instagram posts. No, we're not stalkers. We do get an A for effort.  We cannot afford huge advertising contracts. So, for now, in my dreams, Blake is sporting a pair of Dunitz beaded teardrops. -ND

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Pretty In Pink

Earlier today, I was thinking about pink. Yes, the color pink, not the singer, Pink. Pink is such a lovely feminine color and Dunitz & Company often chooses to showcase beaded and fused glass jewelry in varying shades...of pink. There is always a following for pink. It hasn't ever been our best seller. (Anything blue is.) This was even the case when Pantone named "Rose Quartz" color of the year. Just the same, there are those that LOVE pink and we sell plenty of it. I was reminded of this recently when one of our followers on Instagram reached out to tell us just how much she loved our pink offerings. It inspired me to post this photo seen here to our Instagram stories on our ShopDunitz Insta page earlier today. Oops it's gone. So, here it is --- so you can see it.

So what is the origin of  the expression "Pretty in Pink"? Some say it's about little girls and how we tell them they are so adorable in their favorite color.  Every little girl wants to be a ballerina. And it seemed most of the ballerinas I saw in Swan Lake, wore pink.  I don't know if every little girl would rather have a pink tutu or a pair of pretty blush toe shoes. Perhaps these memories move 'grown up' women to adore pink in fashion.

When I went online to research the origins of this expression, the thing that consistently came up was the 1986 movie starring Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy. I'm certain this expression was used before 1986. I'm certain my father told me I was 'pretty in pink'. And as a non sequitur... Did you know Molly Ringwald hated her prom dress in the movie? How terrible is that?

So there you go. This short post is only to let you know we're thinking about pink, the color. To the left is one of our oldest and most popular designs, our "coral necklace" (SKU: Ccoral1). And since the early 90's we've annually shown it in 24 colors (12 colors, 2x per year.) And you better believe, it's been offered in many shades of pink. Bubblegum, blush, champagne, rose quartz, cameo, orchid, pastel pink, baby pink, tango pink, hot pink, carnation pink, fuchsia pink, melon pink, cotton candy etc. etc. The photo to the right is from our current season. Do you want one?

Since 2011, we've been showing our Joanie M fused glass collection. And you better believe we've offered these designs in pink too. These earrings featured to the right can be found for sale on our retail website. We'll gladly outfit you with a bracelet and necklace to match. What do you say?

Yes, I've been thinking about pink.  And now that I mentioned it, do you think Pink, would wear some of our designs in pink? We'd gladly find the perfect design to match up with her hair or any outfit she chooses.-ND

Friday, April 21, 2017

Earth Day 2017 - Make A Difference

There's a lot of talk about "Earth Day". On a personal front, I agreed to volunteer with a group of New York University alums to help out at the Festival of Books which will take place at University of Southern California this upcoming weekend. It's been taking place since 1996 and is all about bringing books and people together. What better thing to do on Earth Day than to encourage our planet's people to read just a little more?

On a professional front, I thought I'd marinate on some of the small things Dunitz & Company does to save our planet.  Sometimes it isn't that obvious.  Other times it is.  Perhaps by mentioning a few here, I might influence others to make small changes.  First and mostly, we often try to use recycled components in our jewelry designs. On an ongoing basis we design using old buttons, retired coins and broken watch parts. Recently we design by recycling old traditional cloth and denim. We go to the markets to recover torn jeans. From these we create beautiful bracelets, earrings and necklaces. We're recycling and we're on-trend!
Dunitz has been wholesaling since 1990 and recently launched a retail site.  Whenever possible, our orders are shipped in a recycled box and packaged with recycled packaging materials. We do not purchase Styrofoam peanuts or plastic shipping materials. Often we receive parcels filled with these things. Sometimes we collect packing materials from neighbors before it goes to land-fill. Yes we save money by doing this. We're also saving our planet.

I'm a big thrifter. Flea markets on the weekend not only provide me hours of pleasurable hunting, I find stacks of things useful for day to day operations. One Sunday I found a pile of bins that are perfect for sorting orders and organizing jewelry. They cost me .25/each! The finds never stop. They include lined and computer paper, stickers and notepads. I could write paragraphs describing the goodies I've found and the business has enjoyed. Remember Tippy the mannequin? She was a flea market steal!

Every season we take photos of our newest designs and create posters. These decorate the walls of our trade show booths. I'm sure many of you have seen them. Our jewelry is always tastefully placed on greenery in and around our offices in Hollywood, CA.  We have a hard time tossing these images once their primary function of 'booth decoration' has passed. What do we do? The posters become wrapping paper. The delivery people and others that help us out receive their holiday gifts ---yes, wrapped in old Dunitz & Company posters.

There are always other creative ways to use things that would otherwise be put in the trash.  In our workshop in Guatemala we have what seems like 100s - yes 100s of beads in varying sizes, shapes and colors. We need to easily grab them to create our jewelry. That means we need lots and lots of open containers that will hold a good quantity of any particular color or type of bead. The perfect solution is recycling plastic food containers. Yogurt, butter and sour cream containers have been the perfect solution.

Will you do something special for Earth Day? What changes might you make to help preserve our planet? If you have some ideas for us, we'd love to hear them. -ND

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Fashion Revolution; Fair Trade and Transparency

Each year we hope more and more people change the way they make their clothing (and  jewelry) purchase choices.  More and more people are speaking about the Fashion Revolution. Do you know why this movement started?  In April 2013, the largest garment factory disaster in history took 1134 lives and injured thousands.  Does this ring a bell?  It happened at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh.  This is the incident that played out across all media in the biggest way. The photos were absolutely horrifying. It was the pinnacle of garment factory disasters that made many consumers ask "Who Made My Clothes"?

The horrors of Rana Plaza do not represent a stand alone event. Tragedies on various scales have taken place for decades. Why do you think garment factories have always been called "sweat shops"?  There has always been abuse with clothing factories.  At the turn of the century disasters also took place within our borders. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 in New York City took 146 lives because the doors were locked and the workers could not flee. (Shop owners at the time suggested they wanted to reduce worker breaks and opportunities for possible theft.)  It's only because the cost of labor has increased so much in the USA that so many manufacturers have taken their projects overseas. And because a majority of consumer want to buy as much as they can as cheaply as they can - many manufacturers and importers in their efforts to fill this demand continue to 'brow beat' third world producers into providing cost so low, they cannot offer fair wages or safe conditions for their labor force.

The "Fashion Revolution" encourages consumers to ask "Who Made My Clothes?" The question essentially demands transparency in manufacturing. This is a concept Dunitz & Company has been practicing through our commitment to fair trade for more than 25 years. At Dunitz & Company we'd like consumers to add the question specific to us - "Who Made My Jewelry?"  [Yes, I know who made my jewelry.] We believe in a world where everyone is treated with dignity and respect and our planet's environment is protected. If more and more people begin asking the question "Who Made My...fill in the blank?" and genuinely cared about the answer, our world and the people in it would be much better off.

April 24-30 has been defined as this year's 'Fashion Revolution' week.  Were you planning to shop at H&M or Forever 21? Perhaps think twice about shopping chains known for churning out the cheapest fashion at the expense of worker well being. Write a letter to their CEOs and demand information about "who made the clothing" they sell.  If enough people ask the questions and purchase from companies that provide adequate answers then many manufacturers might alter their business practices. Small changes at big manufacturers can make huge differences. Looking for socially responsible companies to purchase from? It's easy to research suppliers online. Dunitz & Company is a member of Fair Trade Federation.  You can easily review FTF's member lists and find ethical suppliers that retail clothing, jewelry and gifts. The Good Trade, a reputable blog recently published a list of clothing companies with honorable business practices. (We're waiting for them to blog about fair trade jewelry and hope they mention us!) There are lots of reputable bloggers that explore the ethics and sustainability of fashion. One we like a lot is Style Wise.

Get on board! Ask the brands #whomademyclothes? Will you? -ND