Monday, September 10, 2018

15 Fair Trade Fashion Companies You Want to Know

Recently, I've read lots and lots of posts written by ethical and sustainability bloggers. It's amazing how much I've learned about zero-waste and thrift shopping. I've been pinning and tweeting left & right. I've also discovered numerable lists circulating of recommended fashion companies offering ethical and sustainable designs. Of course I'm always looking to see if Dunitz & Comany's fair trade jewelry is listed. Dunitz & Company is a long time proud and verified member of Fair Trade Federation. I'm also well acquainted with several other Fair Trade Federation member companies that you all should know about. Here is my list of 15 fashion and jewelry companies, all Fair Trade Federation members, all offering well designed jewelry, accessories or clothing. Each has a website where you can make purchases direct. Each also actively wholesales to stores throughout US and Canada.

In alphabetical order 15 fabulous fair trade and ethical fashion resources:

1. Abrazo Style - Clothing and accessories handmade in Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico. Abrazos is best known for their stunning hand-embroidered cotton blouses and dresses. (I'm embroidery crazy, and drool over there blouses.) They also offer hand woven scarves, totes and a small jewelry collection worth checking out.  https://abrazostyle.com/







2. Aid Through Trade - Seed bead jewelry ethically handmade in Nepal. Over 50 artisans create the roll-on bracelets many of you have come to own and love. Available in more colors than you can dream of.  (I also must mention that in the early 90s, Aid Through Trade and Dunitz & Company were among the very few businesses offering seed bead jewelry designs in the US marketplace. Yes, we're friendly competitors. We learned over time that many retailers sold designs from both companies.)  https://www.aidthroughtrade.com/


3. CAUSEGEAR - Offers a complete line of handbags, some leather, others made from canvas and handcrafted in India.  CAUSEGEAR not only produces fabulous products, they also aid both women and men with self-sustaining jobs which often assist these workers out of trafficking situations. Check out this company for the coolest guitar straps too. https://causegear.com/



4. Dunitz & Company - Offers some of the finest quality and fashion forward glass seed bead, embroidered & fused glass jewelry available today. Dunitz has been working with artisans in Guatemala since 1989 and their designs range from sophisticated to sassy and Victorian to ethnic. They also have a lovely fair trade Judaica kippot collection. https://www.shopdunitz.com/






5. Global Mamas - Thinking of cool batik clothing? Then Global Mamas is your answer. They've been working with and supporting women in Ghana since 2003 and offer a host of clothing options for women, men and kids. http://www.shopglobalmamas.com/



6. JOYN - Offers a full line of outstanding handbags and totes. Many with leather. Many vegan. Their creations often incorporate traditional weaving and block printing techniques. The men and women
that create this expansive line live and work in various regions of India. https://www.joynbags.com








7. Liz Alig - A fashion label producing ethical clothing from fabric to sewing. Liz Alig designs their very hip collection in the US using recycled, organic and handwoven fabrics.  They then partner with NGOs and fair trade organizations to produce the clothing in several countries in Central America and South Asia. http://lizalig.com/








8. Maggie's Organics -  Founded in 1992 based upon the premise that clothing and accessories should be comfortable, durable and affordable, and should be produced in such a way that respects and protects our planet’s resources and the lives of those who make the products. (I've always been crazy for their fun assortment of socks.) Search their site to discover ponchos, leggings, clothing and options for children. https://maggiesorganics.com/


9. Malia Designs - This handbag company works with women in Cambodia with a social mission to fight human trafficking. They offer a really cool assortment of satchels created from recycled cement and feed bags.  You'll also discover a lovely collection of wallets and clutches made with traditional ikat fabrics when you search their site.   https://www.maliadesigns.com/





 

10. muichic -  A sustainable and organic tagua jewelry collection designed in Vermont and ethically handmade in Colombia. muichic's collection is colorful, lightweight and affordable. Tagua is often referred to as vegetable ivory because it has the feel and look of ivory. (My motto is save an elephant however and whenever you can.) http://www.muichic.com/







11. MZ - MZ's goal is to perpetuate the beautiful traditions of the Zapotec artisans of Oaxaca by connecting them to socially conscious consumers around the globe. And they've been quite successful doing just that. MZ's handwoven bags combine traditional indigenous designs with modern color palettes. https://mzfairtrade.com/








12. Passion Lilie - Designed in New Orleans and ethically produced in India. The Passion Lilie collection offers a wide selection of clothing choices for both women and men. Some of their clothing designs are created with traditional block printed fabrics while others use ikat handwovens. https://passionlilie.com/








13. Raven + Lily - I'm completely wowed by the wide assortment of sophisticated offerings of this ethical vendor. You'll find cool jewelry, handbags and clothing made by women artisans from too many countries around the globe to count. Just as all other providers on this list of 15, Raven + Lily's goal is to break the cycle of poverty through equitable trade. https://ravenandlily.com







14. Sevya - I've been acquainted with the women behind Sevya for many years and absolutely adore their scarves and tunics. Their fair trade accessories are made by artisan groups in India using centuries-old craft traditions including hand-loom, block-printing, tie-dye and embroidery. Sevya designs are crafted with natural fibers and eco-friendly dyes. https://www.sevya.com/







14. Victoria Road - This company collaborates with emerging women designers and skilled craftsmen in Lahore, Pakistan to create modern, sophisticated fashion for globally savvy women and children. The collection is really sharp and you can even snag some amazing deals in their Sample Sale section. https://victoria-road.com/








So there you have it! A list of 15 fabulous designers and ethical companies, all verified members of Fair Trade Federation. Perhaps you already knew some of us. Maybe you didn't. I'm thrilled to have  planted the seeds that will encourage you to check us all out a bit more. Dunitz & Company fair trade jewelry is in such good company with all of these other vendors. -ND

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Botanicals - Fair Trade Flowers Jewelry

Botanicals. Fair Trade Flowers Jewelry. You might wonder what inspired Dunitz & Company to create and offer a new collection of affordable earrings and pins with images of flowers. Not just any flowers. But vintage images of flowers. Doesn't everyone love vintage? Well, at least lots of people love vintage. I adore vintage. You'll very often find me scouring a flea market on any given Sunday. After a successful launch of laser cut earrings with images of famous art, (think Starry Night) this seemed a natural progression.

At the recent New York Now trade show, Dunitz & Company debuted a collection of dangles, studs and pins with floral images from a host of antique illustrations.  I spent hours and hours combing the internet for just the right images of roses, poppies, tulips and just about every other type of flowers, even cacti. Trust me. It wasn't an easy task to find great images with high resolution that are also available in the public domain. I'm certain I reviewed hundreds of beautiful images pinned to Pinterest. Sometimes you click and the URL is missing or wrong. Most times you click and find a low resolution image. If you're looking for artistic images, one fabulous source is Open Access from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They've photographed and cataloged over 375,000 images from their collections available for unrestricted use.

 
Source ideas pop up in the most unusual ways. Some of you may know that we're actively posting on our 'Shop Dunitz' Instagram. (if you're not following us, you should be!) We've made lots of friends and connections using this social network. One of  our followers (who we watch too) loves vintage and suggested we check out the files shared by the Rijksmuseum. Was she ever right. This too has been a wonderful resource. (Shown to the right, bontanicals as stud earrings!)






As my searching continued, I stumbled upon luscious images of vintage wallpapers from around the world. Some are European. Others Chinese. Often floral. And then there were those with birds. Did I mention birds? You betcha. I also hunted online for as many cool avian images as I could find. Vintage birds. Yes, we debuted those too. As dangles and studs. Why? Over the years I've sold fair trade jewelry to shops such as Wild Birds Unlimited. I've also worked with many zoos with aviaries. Dunitz & Company had to offer these too:). [If you don't know, now know that Dunitz also has created these earrings with custom images for a few of our clients. We can easily do it. Low minimums. And they are super affordable.]

Dunitz has always sold lots of beaded studs and fused glass studs. My guess is many of you reading this have purchased them for yourself or for your shops. You might even be wearing a pair today. It made sense to offer our vintage images as studs, not just dangles. This wallpaper design is floral with parrots...from vintage Chinese wallpaper. How cool is that?





When I started working with the laser cut designs, we only offered earrings. I'm certain I woke up in the middle of the night with a light bulb going off in my head. Pins. Pins. Pins. It made sense to add them to our arsenal. They're pretty and very affordable. (Do you ever wake up from a deep sleep brainstorming with ideas?)



The punchline of this post? Dunitz & Company now offers more fair trade flowers! Yes, I mean in fair trade jewelry form. When I first masterminded this collection, I thought it would primarily sell to museum and botanical garden gift shops. I was wrong. Did I suggest earlier that everyone (including me) loves vintage? I've been more than pleasantly surprised and pleased with the host of gift boutiques that have ordered. The collection is new. I'm hopeful that it will sell through and my new customers will reorder. Keep your fingers crossed! Mine are. -ND

Monday, August 27, 2018

Fair Trade Wholesale Guide - Great Resources

If you're reading this, you're most likely familiar with Dunitz & Company's handmade and oh so pretty fair trade jewelry. What you might not know (but should) is we are part of a very supportive and collaborative community, Fair Trade Federation. FTF staff worked diligently to produce and launch our first collective (and hopefully not last) Fair Trade Wholesale Guide. Browse the guide to find great resources for jewelry, clothing, coffee and home decor. I can't list all of my colleagues here, but I thought I'd provide a shout out to some.

Here's the thing. Fair Trade Federation has been growing quickly as more and more wholesalers and retailers choose to be verified for their fair trade practices. Many members I'm acquainted with. Others, not. Personally, I love the offerings of many. Some companies sell items I choose not to own. Isn't that the way it goes with just about everything? In the case of the cover of the Fair Trade Wholesale Guide, I was thrilled to see Jenn Pullin's bag from Fibres of Life featured. If you've seen her booth at a trade show, you know her collection from Nepal is amazingly beautiful. And honestly, I have a soft spot for Jenn. She seems to always be sporting a pair of Dunitz & Company earrings whenever I see her.


Page 2. See that adorable model with the yellow shrug? Yes, of course you do. Look straight up and you'll see she is also wearing a pair of Dunitz & Company's fused glass earrings. (Did you know I call this collection, Joanie M after my mom? She always dreamt of owning a dress shop. When I introduced our fair trade fused glass jewelry, it seemed fitting to name it in her honor.)




I'm definitely a bit partial to all things Guatemala. After all, I've been working there since 1989. And I've hiked several times to San Antonio Palopo where the beautiful ceramics offered by Lucia's Imports are made. I've always told Teresa Hendricks, the co-owner of this company that she is so brave to be importing fragile pottery. (Did you know I first imported glass bowls from Guatemala? I still have some in my garage. Interested?)



 Are you familiar with the Zapotec handbags offered by MZ Imports and Shelly Tennyson? That's their purse on Page 3. Shelly and I have often communicated online. It wasn't until the recent NY Now-Fair Trade Federation get together that we met in person. I was thrilled that we broke bread together and shared some real face time. I confess, I grilled her for a few travel/restaurant ideas for an upcoming trip I'm taking with a friend to Oaxaca later this year. MZ's line is made in Oaxaca.



This mantel shot from the wholesale guide is an all-star! I adore Brenda Rosenbaum from Mayan Hands - and yes, she's been working with artisans in Guatemala for a long long time. Heck, she grew up in Guatemala. Need pine needle baskets? They might be the perfect resource for you. Looking for fun instruments? Then Jamtown is your number. And I can tell you from being John Hayden's neighbor at trade shows, he KNOWS his music! Lucuma Designs for Peruvian gourds? Yes! And finally, my favorite things about Manish Gupta is he, like me, is a University of Michigan Wolverine - GO BLUE! His company Matr Boomie offers lots of fabulous gift items crafted in India.



Saving one of my favorites for last. I absolutely adore Johnnie Segers and Penny Webster, the founders of Woven Promises. Whenever we've been in the same city at the same time, I've dined with these women (and taken in a few Broadway shows). I know well how absolutely dedicated they are to their artisans in Ethiopia. And the quality of their towels and napkins are the best, bar none.



So now you know the Fair Trade Federation Wholesale Guide is out for your perusal and use. You'll have fun browsing the photos and exploring which items spark your interest. And remember, you can always visit the Fair Trade Federation site and search by product category. You'll find Dunitz & Company when searching for fair trade jewelry and Judaica. (Side note: You can also search the FTF site for vendors that retail their goodies online.) Let me know if you source anything new after referring to this booklet. I'm so curious to know what new items you've discovered for your shop. -ND

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Dunitz & Company - As Seen at NY Now

I'm back home after a very good market at New York Now. While there it dawned on me that's it's been quite a long run. This is Dunitz & Company's 29th year exhibiting our fair trade jewelry at NY Now. And at twice a year, that's a lot of New York gift show face time. I always joke that when I started exhibiting, all the boys used to come flirt with me. Now they flirt with my younger booth assistant.

I've had several of you tell me you read my email blasts before you delete them. (I'm often told that my customers enjoy my dry humor.) This season will be the last time I can report that my booth is located in the rear section of Global Handmade near the BIG bathrooms! (You never forgot where my space was, did you?) If you haven't heard, now you have. The entire Global Handmade section will be relocated next season from the River Pavilion to the 3rd Floor, near Made in USA/Europe Designer Makers and Home Design. What hook will I use next time so you can find me? Keep reading my email blasts and we'll find out together.

I always joke that I'm a bit of a machine. I work really really hard.  And if there is any opportunity for Dunitz & Company to be seen, I'm going to seize it. I submitted applications for our fair trade jewelry to be considered for three specialty displays at market this time. And guess what? We were admitted to all of them!

Fair Trade Federation and World Fair Trade Organization were provided the most incredible space up front and center at Javits this season. Did you see the Fair Trade Display in the Crystal Palace? And the wonderful staff from both these organizations manned the booth for the entire show so they could educate buyers about fair trade principles and the benefits that come from working with vendors that have been screened and verified. We submitted a fused glass necklace and earrings set for the display from our Joanie M collection. Most of our clients who have brought our fused glass into their shops have reordered and reordered again. The collection is beautiful and and we're so thankful it's part of what we do.

Have you seen our new laser cut jewelry line? Perhaps you've seen it mentioned in the press? We had nods this month from Gifts & Decorative Accessories and In Store. The line debuted at New York Now and perhaps you saw it there. If  you haven't please log into our wholesale website to check it out for your shops. We're offering a wide selection of dangles and studs that boast famous (available in public domain) images of art, botanicals and butterflies. I submitted our Starry Night earrings for the Destination New display. And, yup, they were accepted. Our soft launch of this grouping in April at the Museum Store Association indicated that this new collection would be successful for us and our customers. After posting our designs on our website, we had several gift shops order...and reorder. And based on the response at NY Now, we think we've got a winner.  And better yet, we can easily do custom designs for museums or institutions that have the need.


Finally, the display that always pokes at my heart strings is the Sustainability for a Better World display. I love seeing the creative designs my many colleagues sell using recycled components or materials that better protect our earth. For this display, I submitted our Denim Daisy Dangle Earrings. Each pair is handcrafted and will vary in color. They're embroidered on recycled denim too. We scour the local markets for discarded jeans that we can pick up inexpensively. Yes, I've donated some of my own for this project. And YES, we always wash them well before we cut them apart to make our jewelry. The jury for this exhibit also consider verified fair trade producers knowing that they make a difference in making ours a more just planet. * You remember my commenting about my dry humor earlier in this blog? I just had to post this photo juxtaposition. I scurried to this exhibit at 8:15am before the show opened on the first day to check out the display. I figured if I was able to snap some photos I could brag on social media. Unfortunately the image on the left shows what I found. The next morning I returned and thankfully found things looking much better!

So as Dunitz & Company fair trade jewelry soon celebrates our 30 Anniversary, I could still very likely continue mentioning our bright green drapes at New York Now.  I'm just wondering if when I blast about the show, I should also provide directions to the best bathrooms. -ND

Sunday, July 29, 2018

What Motivates An Ethical Blogger - Kristen Gilbride

I'm always hoping that ethical bloggers and fashion bloggers will want to write about Dunitz & Company. So when they do, I'm thrilled for the attention.  If they focus on the good looks of our fair trade jewelry, I couldn't be happier. If they hone in on our upstanding ethics, yeah - awesome! Write about both, now that's the best.

I meet the (mostly) women that write about Dunitz & Company various ways. Often it's through networking on Instagram. So it's not unusual that recently on this very social network, I met Kristen Gilbride of Moral Women Blog.  She's one impressive woman, currently working on her masters degree at Rutgers University. She recently wrote about Dunitz & Company on her blog.



And then, this got me thinking. How fun would it be to interview her?  With so many people always looking for the latest cheapest new blouse or shoes or necklace, what makes a 20-something feel otherwise? Lucky me. Kristen loved the idea of us reversing roles. Now I've been able to learn more about her and what makes her tick. Here's what she shared with me.

NANCY: I'm so impressed when I see someone your age advocating for change. Was there a pivotal life experience that encouraged you to educate others about sustainability and environmental issues? Can you tell me about that?

KRISTEN: Thank you so much. A few years ago I was working as a stock girl in a luxury women's fashion store in an outlet mall in New York. There, I learned so many valuable lessons about fashion and what needs to change within the industry.  This company produced really beautiful clothes and showed two collection each year. We were told to tell customers that the clothing was made in France when it was really made in China. The way the company got away with this was there were no "Made in" tags sewn into the clothing. Some customers came in with their recently purchased clothing and showed us holes or split seams.  At the time, it was somewhat easy to shake these feelings of customer exploitation. Or maybe each event was too small on its own for me to make a fuss. But it wasn't until me and my sister, who also worked at this store, were scanning out damaged goods, did the manager tell us that some of the blouses being sold for $300 or more only cost the company five dollars. We knew this small price tag had to include material costs, labor costs and transportation costs. This was hard to shake off.

I did some light research and found that this was the norm for most fashion retailers. Companies with transparent supply chains were few and far between.  But when I found companies that were transparent, it was refreshing to say the least.  I wanted to give these companies a platform to showcase the amazing efforts they were making to change the industry.  With this knowledge I wanted to show people that they can change how the fashion industry operates by supporting companies that operate with higher morals. (Note: Kristen is building a list of ethical designers and suppliers on her blog.)

NANCY: I was thrilled when you wrote about Dunitz & Company and our fair trade jewelry line.  So obviously you're interested in promoting fair trade.  Is there a cause you're most passionate about?

KRISTEN: It was so much fun writing that piece.  Fair Trade is such an important topic to cover when it comes to many industries, including fashion.  Being Fair Trade is always my first check-mark when it comes to what I consider sustainable.  I have so many Fair Trade causes that I'm passionate about, but I think one cause that is sometimes overlooked is job security.  For so many women around the world, including America, maternity leave isn't guaranteed. Even if a policy exists, there is no guarantee that the same job will be there after you return.  Sometimes the working contracts are questionable and sometimes they are down right wrong.  Workers should be able to take a sick day or a personal day and not worry about losing their job. I believe fostering healthy work environments is important for employees and can generate creativity.  When people are comfortable and valued, it shows in their work.

NANCY: You're attending Rutgers. Are you taking or have you taken any classes that focus on ethics and sustainability?  Perhaps there was a course or a professor that most inspired you?

KRISTEN: I have not taken a class that specifically focuses on ethics or sustainability. But, I've taken several inspiring classes that have taught me things that I now apply to Moral Women (Kristen's blog.) I took a religion class that talked about Native American representation and appropriation within America. This really inspired me to look into representation in general, and as it pertains to the fashion industry.  The majority of fashion labels have limited diversity when it comes to age, gender, race and body type.  I think it's so amazing when a company incorporates diverse models.

This last semester I took a class that focused on how to engage people in local issues. This gave me so much perspective on the many ways you can reach an audience. Not only did it make me aware of the number of issues people in poverty face, but it also really got me thinking about how I could encourage engagement in issues I'm passionate about.

NANCY: Do you have any idea what you might like to do professionally after you finish university?  I'm just wondering how your interest in sustainability and the environment will continue after you finish. Have you even thought about it yet?

KRISTEN: Ah, the question that is asked the most and the one most dreaded by college students.  After college I would like to work somewhere in the fashion industry.  I'm currently getting my masters in communications and would love to be part of a communications team that values Fair Trade, is eco-friendly, promotes social change, and of course sells beautiful clothes.  Right now I can't get any more specific that that.

NANCY: It's clear you love fashion.  You and Rowan Eo take amazing shots for your Instagram feed and blog.  Do you ever think about launching your own fashion brand?

KRISTEN: Rowan is such an amazing photographer and person. I don't think I have too much of an eye for design. I'll leave that to the (design) professionals. With that said, I would love to work alongside those designers to creative a sustainable fashion line.  I think my talents are geared more toward the communication side of a business. Who knows? Maybe one day you'll be wearing Moral Women designs. (last comment clearly communicated with a smile.)

NANCY: What projects have you been involved with in school or outside of school that make you most proud? Tell me about it.

 KRISTEN: Although this doesn't pertain to fashion, I'm very proud of playing the cello.  I've been playing cello since I was 6 years old and have performed in Carnegie Hall and with various orchestras. Not too many people know this, but initially I was a music major at Rutgers before switching to communications. I still play, just not as much as I'd like to.

NANCY: Am I missing anything important?

KRISTEN: I don't think so. Your questions were great, super interesting and diverse. I'm so happy you wanted to interview me.

---     
And with this - I must say, I'm thrilled I interviewed Kristen. I was impressed with her before. Now after digesting her answers to my questions, I'm even more impressed. I know more about what motivates a young ethical blogger. It's obvious this talented moral woman will go far. Learn even more about Kristen by reading her Moral Women blog. And of course, do not miss her post about Dunitz & Company fair trade jewelry. -ND

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Thrifted Clothing Inspires Fair Trade Jewelry Colors

I've been working diligently lately on Dunitz & Company's Pinterest account. The goal. To have more active users follow, and hopefully purchase our fair trade jewelry so we can continue to sustain our artisans we've been working with for over 25 years.  And while I've been spending more time on Pinterest, I've been reading lots of blogs posted by like-minded people.  I always read articles specific to fair trade and those posted by my Fair Trade Federation colleague members. Now I'm also devouring articles on sustainability, ethical clothing brands, thrifting, repurposing & upcycling and zero waste. The blog posts available on these topics are endless. And as is courteous on Pinterest, I've learned it isn't always about you. So, in the spirit of sharing, I'm not only sharing oodles of model shots and links to Dunitz product, I'm also sharing (pinning as they say in Pinterest world) many blog posts written by others on all the topics I just mentioned.

I've always been keenly aware of my Fair Trade Federation colleagues. I know the countries they work in and the products their artisans produce. I am not as familiar with the many clothing lines that are deemed ethically and socially conscious. But, I'm learning. I've always been into recycling and thrifting. Spending more time reading about these topics has been fun. It also got me thinking about how I have always used my own wardrobe for color inspiration.  Yes, I watch Pantone projections closely. Yes, I watch New York and Paris runway shows. Yes, I'm inspired by nature. But, you know what? I'm also inspired by the colors I've always loved wearing. And yes, many of those colors are inspired by my old and/or classic thrift finds.

I adore Aqua. Doesn't almost everyone? This must be the reason I gravitated toward this beach bum man's shirt at a Jet Rag Sunday sale. Jet Rag, a Hollywood vintage store institution, stages a crazy sale every Sunday in their parking lot. The hipsters, thrifters and hoarders line up to hopefully snag something cool. Everything offered is only $1.00. I've seen some shoppers duke it out over a pair of jeans or a designer label t-shirt.  Mountains of stuff are sifted through at a furious pace while everyone dreams of finding the perfect addition for their wardrobe. (My guess is several are dreaming about the big bucks they can make reselling their discoveries online.) This, not so famous designer shirt, as it turns out has been perfect with jeans. And the colors of aqua, gold, jade, black & brown are loved by just about everyone. See that bracelet I propped on top of the shirt. That is Dunitz & Company's "Color #249"! We'll be making loads of seed bead jewelry in this color combo this season.


I've always been a nut for neutrals. And I have always been able to wear various shades of brown well. I also know that women in general love metallic colors. Gold and Rose Gold (or as we fondly call it light copper) together make spectacular jewelry. I will be wearing Dunitz & Company's "Color #236" all year long. This coming fall, I'll be pairing it with one of my OLDEST tops that is frayed at the neck and sleeves with a pair of vintage straight leg cords I found a couple of years ago at a thrift store in Chicago. No, I can't turn this cotton shirt into a cleaning rag. And - if you're from the Chicago area, you are incredibly lucky. I don't know if Chicago has the best thrift stores of any city I've been, or if the friend I was palling around with had already done her homework.


I just read an article from Pantone stating that gray is projected as the "big" color for just about everything for Fall 2019. Gray will be everywhere. On cars, home decor textiles, men's clothing and interior & exterior painted walls. It seems only last year we were hearing "Gray is the New Black." Maybe Gray just never goes out of style. It perfectly aligns itself with silver. And we know women love silver when it comes to jewelry. I dig all shades of gray when it comes to clothing.  Gray can be tinted green, blue or purple. These two pieces of clothing have been in my wardrobe forever, both having a more purple caste and are total treasures. The skirt was my mother's before me. Which means she purchased it in the 1970s! It's from Yves St Laurent. As long as I fit in it, it's not going anywhere. Fashion tip from me. If you wear a monochromatic look (top and bottom the same color) you can easily dress up any outfit with accessories of many colors. I've paired my outfit with Dunitz & Company's "Color #276" which combines gray, beige and a pale bronze. Will you be wearing gray clothing this next season? You'll be right on trend.


Now let's talk about classic style! Black & White (or add a bit of silver to the mix), is always a fan favorite. I even focused on Black & White on a prior blog entry. This color combo is such a staple that Dunitz & Company's "Color #351" was not only offered in Spring, we will once again show jewelry in this combo for Fall wardrobes.  For the purpose of this blog, I had to couple this bracelet with a pair of old seersucker pants.  I'm absolutely crazy for seersucker.  I'm not sure if these shrunk the last time they were washed. Or if I gained a couple of pounds. The thrifter in me says keep them around. Maybe they'll fit next summer!


Boyfriend Jeans. Ah, I love them. Hip and just a bit baggy so they are comfortable. I also know that the ones offered by Ann Taylor Loft (sorry, not noted as an ethical brand) fit me so well. The solution? For me, it's Ebay. When I shred my jeans up so they are no longer wearable, I look for a second-hand pair online that someone else decided to get rid of. I recently read an article from Green America that suggested buying used clothing on Ebay was a good way to help our planet. Phew. It seems almost everything matches jeans. Paired up with an old burgundy - purpleish hoodie, Dunitz & Company's new "Color #357" is a sublime coordinate. BTW, if you're in the Los Angeles area on the second Sunday of the month, check out the Rose Bowl Flea Market. There are great finds everywhere. Focused on clothing? Head to the last lot where you find mounds of shoes, jackets, hats, scarves, jeans - you name it. I'm sure this is where I found this hooded shirt.


Sometimes I recycle color combinations.  This one, Dunitz & Company "Color #79" was originally offered in 2004. This combination of olive and greenish-gold was always an all-time favorite of mine. I'm thrilled to have it in our fair trade jewelry line up for the upcoming season.  Time to drag some clothing out of the back of the closet! This skirt (part of a suit, inherited from my mom. 70's again, I'm certain.) is quite a bit brighter than my iPhone could capture. As is the army green blouse.  When I wear this ensemble, I think I'll be layering oodles of long medallion strands in this very color.




Red will be all over store shelves this fall. That's certainly the case if my study of runway shows is at all accurate.  Personally, although I have offered fire engine red jewelry in the past, I much prefer deep burgundy tones. (Ha. And I personally wear them much better too.) My projection is you'll all see a lot of brown in store too. Perfect. (Didn't I mention that I like wearing brown earlier in this post?) Out comes the varying shades of chocolate and crimson for Dunitz & Company "Color #255". Paired with a 'made in France' vintage skirt and a brown knit top. The latter, I confess was purchased at a shop in the mall several years ago. (I'm not perfect.)


Often I tweak popular color combinations. It keeps things more interesting for the shop owners who visit my wholesale booth at trade shows. And it keeps work more fun for me. Did I mention how gray seems to always be on-trend?  This season I paired a metallic gray with sapphire (very on trend) and amethyst. Dunitz & Company's "Color #355" is sure to please. And I can wear it with my purple t-shirt snagged from a Goodwill 'closeout outlet' center.  Do you have one near you? I believe there are only two or three in Greater Los Angeles. One closed. A new one opened. Typically you'll find tons of other pickers and needier folks foraging through enormous bins. Then you pay by weight. It's quite an experience.


Over the years, I've learned that any shade of brown paired with any shade of blue is typically well received.  Of course, more on-trend shades of brown and blue will produce even more winning combinations. I'm hopeful that Dunitz & Company "Color #251" will please our fans this upcoming season. Metallic gold, metallic bronze (can look a bit green when paired with green) and pale aqua blue will be great with brown, green, tan, gold.... & DENIM. Yes, denim blue. See that denim shirt I plopped in this photo? It has holes (one folded over in this image) everywhere. I absolutely cannot part with it. And I'm certain that greenish sleeveless top was another one of my Goodwill outlet finds.


Before I close, I must pay tribute to one of my very first and favorite designs. I debuted our classic twelve strand bracelet in 1990! It drips with Czech fire-polish glass crystals and is an integral part of our fair trade jewelry line. I can never retire it. Why? First, it sells. And honestly, it grounds me each season.  I create all my color combos first using this design. And if the shades and beads I select work on this design, then they follow through the rest of our line. -ND

Monday, June 25, 2018

Why the Name? Dunitz & Company

My pet peeve. A little one. The name of our business is Dunitz & Company. Many people when refering to our business abbreviate our name, offering us up as Dunitz & Co. We see it printed like this all the time. And, that's just not us.  Although a google search will find us. Thankfully.


What was I thinking when I called my newly minted operation, Dunitz & Company?  At the time I had no idea how big my business would grow. Or what my collections would ultimately grow to include. Logic inspired me to use my name. In the late 80's there was a very popular TV talk show in Detroit (where I spent my early years) on WXYZ-TV, Kelly & Company.  Emulation is the sincerest form of flattery. I loved the way co-anchors Marilyn Turner and John Kelly used the words "& Company" for their program.  Dictionary definition #2 -  "the fact or condition of being with another or others, especially in a way that provides friendship and enjoyment." And this is completely what I intended when I followed suit. The word COMPANY in Dunitz & Company has nothing to do with definition #1 - "a commercial business" at all. And we all know "Co." is the abbreviation for a commercial business!

So there you have it. When I can, and if the correction can be done easily, I politely ask people to update their business listings, blogs, event signage and badges. If the change isn't a simple one, I roll with it. Didn't I mention Google earlier? Google has our business location listed...just like I hate seeing it. Did I say we're technically Dunitz & Company, Inc.?






When I launched my operation back in 1989, I struggled to name it.  At the time I was primarily offering home decor items with a few hints of jewelry. I considered several options. And ultimately I decided to use my name. (I always joke that it's a good thing I did that. What happens if I'd incorporated as Pillows Plus? I'd sure be in trouble since we've exclusively sold fair trade jewelry for many years.) 
 

Here's another tidbit of information I learned (by chance, not planned) when I launched my business.  While I was building relationships with custom brokers, packaging vendors and component suppliers, I was told by their collections representatives that companies (that's co. companies) using their names to represent their businesses are the best credit risk. It makes sense. By choosing, Dunitz to represent myself professionally, I've definitely told the universe that I have no intent to soil my name. That sort of goes hand in hand with fair trade jewelry.

So now you have it.You now know why Dunitz & Company is named as it is.What do you think? - ND

Saturday, June 9, 2018

All About Shape for Joanie M Fused Glass

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My. Oops wrong story. Circles and Triangles and Squares, Oh My. That's more like it when it comes to our Joanie M fused glass fair trade jewelry.  This collection is all about "color" and "SHAPE".


Every season I spend a lot of time following color trends. I learn from runway shows, fashion magazines, Pantone projections and watching people on the street. This provides me lots of ideas for color combinations I'll develop for not only our Joanie M fused glass, but for our long established Dunitz & Company seed bead jewelry designs. I adore color work and planning.

Now - back at the topic at hand. It may seem simple, and perhaps it is. But the main thing that drives Joanie M fused glass sales is finding the right shapes and offering those shapes in the perfect size. Seriously! It seems for earrings, smaller is better. But, not always. The answer? Lots of trial and error.


Through trial and error, I've learned there are definitely shapes that never seem to sell well.  If it has more than 4 sides, forget it.  Pentigons. Octagons. Hexigons. No. No. No. Been there, done it. Take my advice. Or make your own mistakes. I've also learned if something is 4-sided, and the sides are different lengths, forget it. That means no to trapezoids...unless it's a rhombus. These are the rules of my fashion by geometry lesson.




Now don't think I've exhausted all the options. You'll have to stay tuned to find our what our new Joanie M fused glass earring shape (and size) introduction for Fall 2018 will be. Yes, I have something up my sleeve. And if you work at it, you might guess what that might be. Feel free to send your guess on over! 

What is the queen of all shapes? It seems in fused glass jewelry and seed bead jewelry, all fair trade jewelry, the "teardrop" reigns. Let's put a crown on her! -ND