Monday, April 11, 2022

More Portrait Drawings with Fair Trade Jewelry

I can't stop drawing. And I can't stop sharing what I've been drawing. I found by adding Dunitz fair trade jewelry to some of my portraits, I can post them on Dunitz & Company social accounts, most notably our Instagram feed. With this blog post, I have another excuse to share some of my artwork. These drawings shown here were all created within the last several months.  In no particular order, check out how I add our fair trade designs to my drawings.


Crazy. For some reason a couple of years ago we started receiving all sorts of random magazines at the office. We received an issue of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. There are so many beautiful women on its pages that provided plenty of material for my drawing pleasure.  This woman wears our Glass Teardrop Earrings.

 

 

 

 

 

This bombshell was inspired by a cover from IN STORE, a fabulous jewelry trade publication. They always have such great covers. On this occasion, I braved up and challenged myself to drawing a hand. Then I decorated that hand with one of our embroidered rings.  (Retailers can order these on our wholesale website.) This woman also wears our Glass Triangle Dangle Earrings.

 

 

 

 

I had purchased some new wider pastel sticks (Nupastels) and wanted to give them a whirl. For this quick drawing I didn't use sharpened pencils. It seemed appropriate to decorate this woman with purple earrings. This style is quite popular and we always offer it in many different color combinations.

 

 

 

 

 

An old and dear friend of mine visited recently. She & I worked together in the 80's during my Corporate America days. Years later she & I traveled to Cuba together for a jazz festival. I snapped this pic mid-drawing. And for fun, I added our Crystal Teardrops.

 
 
Same drawing. But completed. My friend deserved roses. If you love vintage fashion, our laser cut rose earrings feature old botanical illustrations. These certainly make for fun, eco-friendly and affordable gifts.
 
 
My drawings seem to really allow me to show off Dunitz & Company earrings. In this case, my friend's ears were hidden and a long neck allowed for one of our glass pendant necklaces. I mention all the time that blue always sells better than other colors. For this drawing, a blue necklace was added.

 

 

 

 

OK - It's a bit scary, I know. This is a self-portrait. I don't wear earrings. But for this transformation, I thought I should be wearing one of our best sellers ever. No matter how many Starry Night Earrings I order for stock, they continually sell out.

 
 
This was another challenge I set up for me.  I wanted to try a portrait where I used no black. No black outlines. No black sketching. These color blocked earrings are from our Contemporary Colors collection.  Sometimes I pick school colors for these dangles. Do you know a MSU Spartan for a pair in this color combination?


 

 

 

A first for me. I zoomed to a garden in Manchester, England to draw this model, Heather. She posed nude for a few quick sketches. And then because it was cold and breezy across the pond, she covered up a bit. For her longer pose, I worked on this portrait.  If I could have decorated her ears, I would have had her actually wear these glass teardrop earrings.  The color shown her matches her red hair so well.





This close up is a crop from another Sports Illustrated swimwear mode portraitl.  These women are fun to draw since they're all young and beautiful.  I decorated this gal with a pair of our triangle shaped glass earrings.



 

 

 

Another magazine model. Her lips were so full. Maybe she uses fillers. I added some striped beaded teardrop to her portrait.

 

Sometimes I specifically look for photographs where the model is not looking straight on. I also like looking for pics with lots of shadows. This model also now wears one of our most popular round beaded earring styles.


 

 

 

 

 

Curly hair. Yes! That's what I was after. And ears. Ears to show off our long skinny glass earrings. I fondly call these our stick earrings because they are so narrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is fun! (I use that word a lot. It's what my drawing has given me.) Earlier this year the tree trimmers came to my house to....yes, trim my trees. I have one absolutely huge ficus on my property. It's a really big "tree" job. I asked a couple of the men if I could take their photo so I could draw them while they worked. At the end of they day, I gifted them my drawings.  I of course take photos of my work. This allowed me to give Carlos a faux earring for a social media post. These small glass dot studs are a super seller and very loved by our customers.

 
 
I saw a most beautiful photo of this friend of mine.  That prompted me to draw her. Hands are challenging and I went for it. I added what I call our "skinnies", little bracelets you roll over your hand. We offer this set of 5 on our retail website. You can wear them all. Or give them out as friendship bracelets.

 
A beachy girl with wild hair needed a pair of our long embroidered fringe earrings. These earrings are all one-of-a-kind and will match up with your Boho aesthetic.


Another swimsuit model. Drawing the arm and a well endowed bosom was a new challenge for me. Since her bikini top is turquoise, I thought she should be wearing some matching glass dangle earrings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I fondly refer to this model as 'big hair girl.'  What fabulous long curly waves she has. My choice for her ears? Our large embroidered teardrops made with recycled denim. I always have to reassure our customers that the denim we use, which comes from discarded pants is always thoroughly washed before using.

 

 

 

 

 

When I first started creating portraits early in 2021, I would often spend a few hours on each drawing. In recent times, I've often given myself a "30 minute challenge."  This was my first one and still is one of my favorites. I didn't have time to re-think my strokes. I just made them. This sweet model is wearing our smaller glass earrings, which are very loved by so many customers of ours. They really are the perfect accent with so many outfits.

 

 

 

So, there you have it. In another few months I'll post a bunch of other drawings with Dunitz fair trade jewelry added for fun. Want me to draw you? Send me over some photos. -ND

Monday, March 7, 2022

My Favorite Designs I Wear from Dunitz Fair Trade Jewelry

Some of you know I've been collaborating with artisans in Guatemala since 1989. Dunitz & Company has been around the block. The other thing you may not know about me is I don't have pierced ears. I've gotten lots of flack about that from everyone. You betcha. Knowing that, I thought it would be fun to share my favorite designs I enjoy wearing (not in any particular order) from my fair trade jewelry collection when I'm not actually working.

 

Glass Bib Necklace
When I dress up a bit, I love wearing our Glass Bib Necklace. It's a classic look that you can wear short or long. And it isn't heavy at all. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embroidered Rings
We sell a lot of rings to stores all around the US. Since they're not sized, it's impossible to retail them online. You can often find me wearing one our Daisy Denim Rings. These are embroidered on upcycled/recycled denim. We find old jeans at the local markets, wash them well and then cut them up to create jewelry.

 



 

 

 

Denim Floral Bracelet
I can't hide it. I'm nuts for our embroidered flowers. You'll often find me wearing one of our Denim Floral Bracelets. We also offer this design embroidered on traditional corte fabric. Want to see more? Watch this video we prepared with artisans making these gorgeous pieces.







Suede & Glass Cuff
When you don't wear earrings, you MUST wear a lot of bracelets. I've always been a bracelet gal. Our wide suede and Fused Glass Cuff is also a favorite of mine. I like it because it's handsome and not so girly.





 

 

 

World Coin Bracelet
Several years ago I designed a complete collection of jewelry using retired world coins. It was a huge success and it still sells today. I think the World Coin Bracelet on my dresser has coins from France, Mexico and Thailand. I even wore it to my niece's bridal shower recently. These bracelets jazz up all sorts of outfits. 






Vintage Button Bracelet
I can be a bit predictable. I love vintage. It absolutely makes sense that you also might catch me wearing one of our beaded designs that use vintage buttons.  And since I often wear black and earth tones, you'll find me wearing a Vintage Button Bracelet in dark earthy colors. 



 

 

 

Stacking Bracelets
Finally, you'll find me stacking some of our most inexpensive bracelets on my wrist every day. Our Beaded Skinnies come in so many colors; solid, color blocked and with a radial pattern. We have little Square Bead & Crystal Bracelets which are so fun to pair with them.




 

 

 

Pin me
Take a closer look at  my favorite things. I'm guessing something I love from the Dunitz fair trade jewelry collection will make you or your loved one happy. Yes, I know. You wear earrings and I do not. You'll find lots of amazing fair trade earrings from us too.-ND

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Karen Sparacio. The Heart and Brains behind Project Have Hope.

Karen in Uganda
It seems I'm always talking about Dunitz & Company and our fair trade jewelry collection. Over the years, it has also given me great pleasure to share the stories of some of my fair trade friends and colleagues. There is so much we can learn from their talents and experiences.  One of those people is Karen Sparacio, the heart and brains behind Project Have Hope. Thankfully for all of us reading this, Karen was a willing participant when I asked to interview her. Keep reading here to learn what she shared.

NANCY: Like many of us, you stretch yourself thin so you can make a difference. You operate an incredible fair trade business working with artisans in Uganda and you also manage to find time for wedding and journalistic photography. I'd love to know more about both. And I think people reading this blog post will as well. I'll do my best at asking you a bit about both.

Can you tell me what inspired you to get involved with fair trade? How did you come by working with artisans in Uganda?

KAREN: As a professional photographer, I first traveled to Uganda in 2005 to volunteer for several non-profits to provide them with high quality imagery for their fundraising and marketing efforts.  During that trip, I was introduced to a woman who brought me to the Acholi Quarter. I ended up spending two weeks photographing in that community and learning more about the families who had been displaced because of the war in northern Uganda.  It was there I was first introduced to the craft of paper bead making. Inspired and awed by the strength and endurance of the people I met, I simply wanted to find a way to help. In that spirit, we started the non-profit, Project Have Hope, which has been a collaborative entity in which I help find a market for their artistry and we use the profits to further educational opportunities for their children and the artists themselves.

NANCY: Tell me a few more specifics about the work you do in Uganda.  Is there a type of product that Project Have Hope specializes in?  Do you have a favorite items you sell?


KAREN: The work I do in Uganda has a lot of elements beyond products and craft-making. Although the crafts are what makes it possible to fund our work, my primary focus is helping the artisans become financially independent. Much of my work has to do with overseeing our child sponsorship, vocational training and loans programs and developing new programs that will help the artisans find ways to support themselves. Although I have many ideas, ultimately, it is the artisans and the community that knows best what they need, so it's imperative that I spend time talking and listening to them and helping to implement their ideas into living, breathing, effective programming.

Alice learned Tailoring
Project Have Hope is definitely known for our high quality, inspired, paper bead designs. We spend a lot of time developing new designs to ensure that our jewelry is on trend and fresh. With so much competition in the paper bead jewelry industry, we stand out for our high quality and unique artistry.

Over the years, our product line has greatly diversified. We invest heavily in vocational training and have trained more than 25 women as tailors.  These tailors have helped us to expand our textile offerings to cloth napkins, tote bags, aprons, oven mitts, headbands and plush animals. The most exciting part of our crafts is the collaborative process. By sharing ideas, skills and strengths, we have been able to create a versatile line of products that have been very well received.

NANCY: Is there something you feel particularly good about when you think of your work in Uganda. An accomplishment? A life you changed? I'd love to hear a story or two.

Gerard 

KAREN: Oh gosh, we're going on 16 years now, there are so many stories. I guess there is one that stands out more than the rest. It's a story of little Gerard.  I still remember when he first came to our community center for a workshop to paint peace tiles and he looked so sickly.  I asked one of the women what is sickness was. "Malaria? HIV? TB?" They responded with words I didn't understand. And then they translated. "Lack of protein." Gerard was slowly being starved to death. There's a long, ugly story around that situation, but the result was that we stepped in, got him medical treatment and found a home where he would be well taken care of. Now, more than ten years later, he is thriving and you'd never know that there was a time that no one expected he'd survive. He is my shining light. So often it's easy to think of all the things I cannot do, I cannot change. Gerard is the reminder that we all have the power to make a difference in the life of one person. And even if we accomplish nothing more, we've done well.

NANCY: Another aspect of you that I really admire is your photography work. Your Instagram feed is loaded with wonderful product shots and amazing artisan pics. Here's a technical question you might be able to answer for me. Sometimes you have background items such as flowers that help you show off a pair of earrings. The flower is a bit blurry and the earrings are crystal clear. These kind of photos always interest me. Is there a "tip" for how someone manages that effect? Answer as technically as you must.

Camera Focuses on Bracelet
KAREN: It's all about focus and depth of field. Focus on the area you want to be sharp and use a shallow depth of field to keep the rest soft. I'm old school. I don't use post-production editing tools to change the photos I intended to take.

 

 

 

 

 

NANCY: Wow. You'll need to be even more specific for me. Can you baby-sit me through the process?

KAREN: I typically use F2.8 to keep a shallow depth of field and a moderately fast shutter speed of 125. I also generally stand on a stop ladder so I'm above the subject and can tilt my camera to focus in on one specific area. This helps to naturally blur the background. 

NANCY: And your people pics are extraordinary. I adore how you've had relationships over many years with some of your artisans and their children. In many cases you document their growth. It's obvious to me they admire and trust you, allowing you to take and share these images. Can you tell me a bit more about how you've changed some of their lives?

KAREN: I think a better question is how they've changed me.  I'm exceedingly impatient; they've taught me patience, among so many other things. They've taught me the benefits of interdependence, collaboration, the importance of being still, present and truly listening. They've taught me that someone's educational level or financial status does not in any way represent their net worth and their value, nor does it lessen their impact, nor make their voice any less worthwhile and strong. (Wow! Love this!) They've taught me more than I could ever impart on them. I've been extremely fortunate to be the connector - connecting their stories and artistry to others.

NANCY: I view you as a photographer extraordinaire. Do you have any tips for a small business person when it comes to producing good photography? Go out on a limb here. You can share tips for product pics or people pics.

KAREN: Producing good photography, whether it's products or people, is all about the lighting. For product pics, even if you're not using a professional set up, you can easily get a piece of white board or foam core and position that to bounce light back into a product so the light is more even and the shadows are reduced. For people, photography skill is minimally important. It's the time you put into building relationships and the trust you develop. There are many times when being a photographer takes a back seat. There are times I'd love to just start shooting, but I know the real value comes from  being patient, making sure everyone is comfortable and respected and is able to share their voice in how their story is told.

NANCY: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

KAREN: I think I've already said too much. (said with a big smile.)

--end of interview--

Pin Our Blog Post
I hope you learned a useful thing or two by reading this interview with Karen. I know I learned quite a bit from our conversation. Project Have Hope and Dunitz & Company are both vetted members of Fair Trade Federation. That means you can feel secure and good about supporting our organizations. Definitely take a closer look at Project Have Hope's website. There you can learn more about their mission and score some great gifts. By supporting fair trade businesses like ours, you are making a positive difference in lives. -ND

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

B2B Wholesale Marketplaces - Stats from A Vendor

You think you're confused? We're all confused. It seems a few times a week my customers ask me if they should be buying our fair trade jewelry on this site or another. Or should they order direct at www.dunitz.com? They want to know how all these sites differ. Since I am not a buyer, I can't share with you how these sites operate from a buyer's perspective. I can share with you how they vary from a vendor's.

FAIRE is the market leader when it comes to B2B gift buying. Their site is the most sophisticated and their fees are the largest for vendors.  An opening order comes with a commission of 25%. Reorder commissions are 15%. Dunitz is on FAIRE. 

Technically FAIRE is the vendor. They collect money. And they pay us on the terms we agree upon with them.  FAIRE collects all resale tax information from buyers.

We choose to have all FAIRE orders paid out on Net 30. The other options for vendors is to be paid in 2 or 3 days at an additional cost of 3%.

If you can prove a relationship with a store (in the form of an invoice during the previous two years, or email communication, or registration on your back-end) FAIRE will remove the commission fee. One way to expedite this process is to upload your entire customer list to the FAIRE system. FAIRE says they don't use our lists for any reason other than to help prove prior relationships.

 

ABOUND seems to be #2 in order generation. It definitely is a smaller organization that has a more mom & pop feel about it. An opening order on ABOUND comes with a 15% commission. Reorder rate is 8%. Dunitz is on ABOUND.

Similar to Faire, ABOUND is the vendor. They collect money. And they pay us on the terms we agree upon with them.  ABOUND collects all resale tax information from buyers.

We choose to have all ABOUND orders paid out on Net 45, which really translates to Net 60. The other options for vendors is to be paid in 3 or 5 days. In this case, I believe vendors pay ABOUND higher commissions. 25% on first orders. 15% on reorders. If you're going to sell on ABOUND, double check this.

If you can prove a prior relationship with a store on ABOUND, they will wave the commissions.

 

 

MSA Marketplace is a proprietary B2B website only available to Museum Store Association members. MSA buyers can place orders on this site, which is operated by Brandwise. The marketplace collects orders. It is the responsibility of the vendor to ship, collect payment and obtain resale #s. (In our case we need to collect tax information for the State of California where we are based.)  Brandwise (on behalf of MSA Marketplace) sends us an invoice monthly to be paid of 3% of orders placed.  Vendors pay this 3% whether orders are shipped complete or not, or at all. This fee is split between Brandwise and MSA. Dunitz & Company is a proud member of MSA and our catalog is available to buyers on this portal.


FTF Marketplace is scheduled to launch in March 2022. The FTF Marketplace will be operated by Markettime. Since Dunitz & Company is a verified member, our catalog will be available on this portal. My understanding is that any bonafide wholesale buyer will be able to place orders on this B2B site. The benefit to them is they will know all vendors have been screened for their ethical business practices. Similar to MSA Marketplace, the FTF site will collect orders.  All processing, payment collections and tax data is the responsibility of the vendors featured on the site.  For this service, Markettime will bill 5% on orders written, whether they ship complete or not, or at all.  This fee will be split between Markettime and FTF. (BTW, Markettime recently purchased Brandwise. Sadly their systems currently are different. Translation: Vendors need to re-create completely new pages for each of these sites.)


Juniper is a new B2B marketplace that launched earlier this month. This site is the brainstorm of International Market Centers. That's the group that operates the home and gift shows in Las Vegas, Atlanta and High Point. Initially this portal was designed to promote the exhibitors and lease-holders at these shows. Now they are adding to their arsenal by pursuing other vendors. Yes, they are now pursuing us. Dunitz & Company over the years has exhibited at Las Vegas, Atlanta and High Point. Currently, not. 

Juniper's fee for collecting orders is 8% for those that do not exhibit at their shows. (It's 4% if you exhibit at their shows or lease showroom space in one of their buildings.)  There is no concession if a vendor has a prior relationship with a buyer. No matter what, any order collected on Juniper comes with the commission. Unlike MSA and FTF, the Juniper portal charges on orders actually shipped.  

Juniper does not collect resale numbers. It is the responsibility of the vendor to collect this information before shipping customers. For us, if we were to write an order for a store in California, we would need to collect this information in case of an audit from our State Board of Equalization.  (I confess, I'm adding this note to the blog so I don't forget this if and when Dunitz works with Juniper.)

Juniper is young and they are definitely working out some processing kinks so they can be competitive with sites like FAIRE and ABOUND that offer Net 60 payment terms for buyers.  Juniper Credit will launch soon.  What does that mean?  Juniper will take on the risk of payment on invoices for a fee. If a vendor wants to be paid in 2 days, or 30 days, they will pay 2.5% or 4.5% respectively.  Translation. For Dunitz & Company, assuming we agree to Net 30 terms as we do on FAIRE, Juniper will take a 10.5% fee on any order written for us on their site.  (3/2022 We just signed up and have been onboarded. The site is new and the process has been quite disorganized with “issues”. Staff is nice. So we will see.)

 

Tundra - Yes, here's another B2B site. Honestly, I have not researched this one completely.  My impression is my colleagues who have signed up to sell on Tundra have been less successful.  Tundra does not charge vendors commissions for collecting orders.  My understanding is a vendor must pay advertising fees to be seen by buyers that log in.  If you're reading this and you shop and/or buy on Tundra please let me know how it works for you. 





DUNITZ & COMPANY is our proprietary site we built so you can work with us directly. It is the easiest for us to manage. We can offer more options on our own site.  Managing all of the others is a bit cumbersome. Want to order a bunch of Starry Night earrings for your store? On our site you can.  On the other sites, we can only make "assortments" available. Managing special orders and back-orders is easily done when working direct. With restrictions on other sites, it is more difficult. We also have some items we offer with lower margins. Our Judaica Collection is an example. We can't afford to list these designs on FAIRE and pay 25% commission. We've also learned that with FAIRE and ABOUND, they expect orders to ship almost as quickly as they are received. We need to limit what we offer on these sites to the items we stock deep and can ship super quickly.

 

Do I think everyone, everywhere is creating a B2B buying website to snag a piece of the pie? Yes. At the end of they day, I'm thrilled to obtain new business where-ever it comes from.  It's like that old story of which credit card I prefer. Visa or Amex? Truth is it's all good. I like it all. I'm not going to eliminate one because they charge me a larger fee. Are some of these B2B sites easier to use than others? Yes. Might I prefer one over another? Yes. Am I happy to have business come in from any of them? Yes. The bottom line is no matter where you shop, I appreciate you shopping Dunitz & Company's fair trade jewelry.

Please share with me your experiences with these sites. I'd love to hear from you. And thank you for being our customer. -ND

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Christmas Windows We Adore - Now & Then

We love discovering Dunitz & Company fair trade jewelry in our client's retail stores. And this time of year, we adore seeing their Christmas windows. Here are some of our Christmas favorites. Most are from 2021. Some are from years past.

 

Eyes Gallery, Philadelphia PA


 

HumanKind fair trade, San Luis Obispo CA


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Myers Fashion etc., Alpena MI


 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Sun, Rhinebeck NY

 

Bead Wear, Towson MD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World's Window, Kansas City MO










 

LuzLuna Imports, Half Moon Bay CA


 

 

 

 

 

Flavours of Life, New London CT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Sterling Butterfly, Martinsville IN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Fort Davis TX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bohemian Rose, Bath ME 








Bay Gift Vault, Crisfield MD 












Creative Women of the World, Ft Wayne IN











Have seasonal windows we've missed? Please send me a pic and I'll gladly share your display in this post. And I'll add your website or facebook link as well. It is our pleasure to share info on our clients who support us by selling Dunitz & Company fair trade jewelry. We love you and appreciate you. -ND