Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Taste of Judaica


I've been asked time and time again to create some attractive beaded Judaica designs. Women from various temple gift stores have visited my trade show booth and asked. Friends with bat-mitzvah age daughters have asked. Fair traders have asked. I was asked for jewelry and yarmulkes for women. The trick for me was to create designs that were tasteful and weren't viewed as "religion" in your face.
When I was young I desperately wanted a Jewish star necklace that didn't look like the same necklace that was worn by all the girls I went to Sunday school with. One day I saw a silver star (with six points) that looked like a shooting star. It was in a jewelry store owned by a friend's dad. He agreed that he could cast one similar for me in gold. It was very subtle and I very much liked that about it. One of my nieces is now the proud owner of this necklace.
The point of mentioning this necklace from my childhood is to reflect on its subtle religious overtones. The beaded jewelry Dunitz will introduce in January 2011 is subtle in the same way. Absolutely any woman whether Jewish or not, would enjoy wearing the new cuffs. The Star of David is there... but it is far from gaudy. We'll be showing coordinating skinny bracelets, necklaces and earrings. And yes, they will be available in twelve new color combinations!
I'm also very excited about our new collection of yarmulkes for women. I'm not discriminating. Men can wear them too. However, my hunch is only women will want to wear these beaded beauties. We'll be showing 4 different designs....crocheted & beaded in twelve color schemes. Stay tuned. And, please share the good news about these fresh designs with your temple & synagogue gift shops. -ND

Monday, October 4, 2010

Giving Back. Puerta Abierta.

It's hard to believe that I've been working with the same group of women (and a few men) for over twenty years. These hard working people from Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala are absolutely amazing. They're determined, talented and kind. Many are parents and like most parents anywhere, they hope for a better and easier life for their children.
Approximately 75% of the indigenous population of Guatemala cannot read. In order to advance in life and living, the ability to read is a must. It is for this reason that I am so attracted to a children's library, Puerta Abierta that has been founded in and for the community in which I work. I'm thrilled that my donations can make such a difference in the lives of so many. (I must also add, that Puerta Abierta also has literacy classes for adults.) Please look at their website & blog to learn more. If you can, consider a donation to this worthy cause. It's wonderful to know that Puerta Abierta provides free classes and activities for so many children that would otherwise never have any extracurricular activities. - ND

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Questions about Social Media



As I was tweeting this morning, I started to question various aspects of Social Media. I have a personal "Facebook" page...which is 100% personal. I have a business "Facebook" page which I use to communicate with Dunitz & Company clients and fans of Dunitz jewelry. I tweet. My Twitter account (profile: @nbdobd) represents me. My tweets include those of personal interest and many that relate to my business. The lines on Twitter are blurred. However, I don't tweet about anything that doesn't reflect on me in a way I wouldn't want to be seen. I have found it an excellent way to solidify relationships with people I work with. (I do have a few "colleagues" that use Twitter.)
What I've come to realize is I LOVE LOVE LOVE having new Twitter followers and new fans (thumbs up folks) attached to my business Facebook page. I confess, It's an ego boost. They don't come easily. The more I tweet, the more people follow me. This same relationship does not apply to business Facebook pages. And, the more I tweet, even though I occasionally tweet about the Dunitz Facebook page, tweeters don't give us the thumbs up on Facebook. I do realize that many of the people that follow me on Twitter are curious about what I have to report. Cynical me believes most people who decide to follow me are hoping I'll follow back -- just so they can increase their follower numbers. This has never been my Twitter strategy. I tend to follow business' I support, topics I'm interested in and my customers, if I can find them.
Facebook works the same for me. Nancy (personal FB page) gives the thumbs up to all retailers (that have biz FB pages I can find) that buy Dunitz jewelry for their stores. For me it is fun to watch what they report. Occasionally, I post something on their page. It seems that 92% of the time, the retailers don't follow the Dunitz Facebook page. This is always curious to me. I cross promote when I can. Whenever I can get pics from my retailers, I post their photos and assorted links on the Dunitz page. So- if any Dunitz retailers are reading this blog. EMAIL ME YOUR PHOTOS OF DUNITZ JEWELRY DISPLAYS and I promise to give you a plug - both on Facebook & Twitter. Hey maybe one or two of you will follow or give the thumbs up today...which will result in a (small) ego rub. More to come on this topic...for sure! - ND

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Short & Sour"

I'm finally ready to give my feedback on my experience with Foursquare.com! In one word, "disappointing." In a second word, "why?" With my best foot forward, I jumped in and gave this newer social media vehicle a valiant effort. I had been challenged a few weeks ago to see if Foursquare might be good way to communicate with customers and fellow 'fair trade' advocates. The perfect tester would be at the Fair Trade Futures Conference I attended last weekend in Quincy, MA. Nearly 800 people participated in this event.
Before traipsing off to Boston, I signed on to Foursquare & loaded their app into my Droid. I wanted to learn the mechanics of the program. I found a few Facebook friends and Twitter-mates that were already Foursquare members and asked them to connect with me. And - yes, I only found a "few!" (Now, I know why!) I was told by users that if you check into certain restaurants and/or stores, you might receive discount coupons. I was told it was a good way of letting your friends know where you were. (or perhaps burglars?) I was told if you check into a place several times...& you visit that particular place the most, you become the "mayor" of that place.
My 1st week, I checked into "Dunitz & Company" nine times. I never became the mayor of Dunitz & Company. (Heck, who else would be mayor of Dunitz & Company?) I checked into several eateries, the local drug store, bank, Petco, the US Post Office, Staples, the grocery store, the vet hospital and the airport en route to Ft. Lauderdale. No coupons were offered. The software advised me that I was earning points for all of my "checking in." (I later read that these points are meaningless. They do nothing other than let the user think they are working towards something...) I did however earn several "badges". The "local" badge because I had been to the same place 3 times in a week. (Must be Dunitz & Company!) The "swarm" badge because there were '50' people at the airport when I checked in. The "explorer" badge because I had checked into thirty different locations.
Having the basics down.... I headed off to the Marriott Quincy where the fair trade conference was held. The entire time I was there, only one other person "checked in" on Foursquare. Hmmmmm - so much for communicating with my Foursquare friends and/or finding others at the venue I was attending. It definitely wasn't a way to learn if Bob N. or Lori S. might be attending the meeting on 'the future of fair trade commodities' or the one on 'using social media to promote your fair trade business' :)!!
I was just about to give up. I checked in one last time at Boston Logan on my way home. Voila - "a special opportunity"... an offer for a discount coupon! WOW. Click. Foursquare advised me I needed to email the "mayor" of the airport to obtain my coupon. Punch line? I emailed the mayor.... and you might have guessed it. NO RESPONSE! I think my Foursquare days are behind me now! I leave you with the two words I started with... "disappointing" and "why?" - ND

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Yet....another social networking site!


Carmen Iezzi, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Federation has "tweeted" the challenge! But am I up to it? I've hardly mastered Facebook and Twitter! I've struggled to recruit fans and thumbs ups to the Dunitz & Company Facebook page. (We have 254 as of this post date!) And it was only a few weeks ago that I, Ms. nbdobd was encouraged to tweet all I could at the Chicago Gift Show...in an effort to win the elusive iPad. (I'm almost certain I tweeted the most at market. I however did not win the iPad. The odds had to have been in my favor.) The newest challenge - sign up for Foursquare.com! Learn it. Use it. Review it. It has been suggested that foursquare.com may be an excellent communication tool at the upcoming Fair Trade Futures Conference taking place in Boston Sept 10-12! Does this mean I have one more reason to keep my nose pointed at my telephone?
Mmmm. I guess the challenge is on. I've signed up and I'm about to look for the Droid app. Do you want to be my friend? You can check out foursquare.com too :) -ND

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Before & After....


We're in the midst of trade show season. I've been barreling through shows from Los Angeles, Chicago, New York.... and soon Fort Lauderdale. It never ends. Once you set up and tear down a booth you're in the next city doing it all over again. When you attend and walk the various trade shows you see all types of exhibits. Large. Small. Well designed. Not designed. Low budget. High budget. The challenges of booth display always rely on time, money and man power. Our booth usually takes one full day to set up. In some cases, we show up two days before an event and set up what we consider the booth infrastructure. Yup - the infrastructure usually consists of lots of drapery, tables & posters. Check out our "before and after" photos from the Chicago Gift Show & NY Gift Shows this year. Look at what we see when we show up in the exhibition hall. And ...see what we later present our customers with. Let me know what you think! -ND

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Inspiration....


I recently read a blog entry from my friend Caroline Kennedy, the editor-in-chief of Gifts & Decorative Accessories magazine. In this blog, she mentions "clearing" your brain by going out for a walk sometimes allows inspirations and ideas to emerge. I agree that "brain clutter" is distracting. I make lists to keep my thoughts organized. This way I don't need to review things over and over and over...so as not to forget. Sometimes inspiration comes my way in the middle of night. It wakes me up....resulting in a sketch or another list. Our long fringe necklace on leather resulted from a midnight dream (SKU: LC3A). This design also was a fabulous seller this season. You can expect it back for Fall 2010 in a host of darker rich color combinations. - ND

Monday, May 3, 2010

Just....an Update.


I recently returned from Guatemala where I was working on our Fall 2010 collection. Sometimes the design process doesn't flow as easily as other times. However, I'm thrilled to report that the Dunitz line will be replete with loads of new designs (in all price points) in twelve fabulous color combinations. We've added to our new "huipil" collection. Stay tuned for new designs using recycled and repurposed clothing. A new necklace, brooches and.... a cell bag are in order. We also snagged some old denim and we've crafted these into some of our new designs. Here's a peak at some of the season's new colors. For you our readers, you'll have to wait on a peak of new designs. Don't forget to check out our regular postings on our Facebook "LIKE" page! And don't forget to give us your "LIKE" vote! - ND

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Spy something..... Dunitz!

Do you remember the game I Spy? I can remember long driving trips with my family and playing this game to pass the time. I spy something green. I spy something bumpy. And today.... I'm still playing. I spy something beaded. I spy something coral color. I spy something with Czech crystals. Must be Dunitz & Company jewelry. I've got a new game going. And my most recent finds are posted on our Facebook "Fan" or...now "Like" page. Recently I found our jewelry photographed and shown on our client Island Passage's Facebook pages. I spy a big BLUE arrow pointing at lots of cool bracelets. My hands should look so perfectly manicured. Stay tuned for more I spy discoveries. -ND

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sorry for dropping out.....


Wow. I guess I dropped out for a while. I certainly haven't dropped out of the day to day operations of Dunitz & Company. However, as far as this blog goes, I have been remiss. As of today, Dunitz has been seen at five (that's 5!) major trade shows this year. Accessories, The Show NY... Los Angeles Gift.... Chicago Gift....New York Gift.... and WWIN Las Vegas. I head to Boston on the 19th to exhibit at their regional gift show. The shows have been going fabulously well. I'm thrilled to report that sales at these shows have been up from the last couple of years. What a big relief. Unfortunately there have been cancellations after people have realized they've spent too much $ - or committed to spend too much $. This is always a disappointment. Over all, I'm thrilled with how the season is looking. Posted here for your viewing pleasure are a few booth pics. - ND