Tuesday, December 27, 2016


I was preparing for a pot luck get together this holiday weekend. And I thought hard about what I should bring. I settled on a classic. Doesn’t everyone love a classic?  When I was a young girl, my mother bought me Betty Crocker’s  New Boys and Girls Cookbook.  (I recently found a copy at a flea market and snatched it up!) This book always had the best brownie recipe. Simple and perfect.  My brother and I baked it often and inhaled our masterpieces.  We loved our yummies so much that when our older sister created her own rich multiple egg brownies adapted from a famous department store’s recipe my brother affectionately named them “chocolate blunders”. Yes, my sister called them “chocolate wonders.”  So with fond memories of my childhood, I whipped up a batch of Betty’s recipe. And, this classic was in fact a hit. Score!

I’ve been designing jewelry for so many years now.  I add and retire designs each and every season.  There are only a few that have been in the Dunitz Collections since the very beginning.  These are the classics. They’ve been copied by others. Ours always remain a good seller.  The one that immediately comes to mind is our Coral Necklace. Each season I introduce it in 12 new color schemes. And every season our customers snatch them up. They are the classic in our line.  They look beautiful on women of all ages and on all necklines.  So, today – I’m also saluting a Dunitz beaded classic! -ND

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Embroidery...On Denim

I’ve been working with Guatemalan artisans forrrreverrrr.  (Yes, I did that on purpose.) Since 1989 to be exact.  The one thing many artisans do to perfection in Guatemala is embroider. Many of you may be familiar with traditional huipil blouses.  This is why I’ve so often included traditional fabric, embroidery, crochet and macramé in my designs.  For us it is not new or trendy – it is.  Sometimes fads catch up to us.  And this season may be one of those.  We’ve noticed all sorts of embroidery on jeans and jackets. We’ve seen decked out handbags in Vogue and Elle. And we’ve noticed lots of high end fashionistas sporting beautiful flowers on denim. We gotcha. This is the season Beyonce should be wearing Dunitz fair trade designs. We’ve got all sorts of hipster cuffs, necklaces and earrings. Our collection is affordable. You should be wearing it. And this season you’ll look completely on trend and like a million bucks. -ND

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Giving Thanks

Do any of us do this enough? Giving Thanks. Today is the day I hope most of you are with friends and family, those you love and care about the most, and them you in turn. I'll be with my brother's family. But in a Thanksgiving tradition, he & I will go to the movies for some "us" time before heading to our big dinner. This morning I will make an old family recipe, cranberry pie. It was my grandfather's (mom's side) favorite! I'm thankful that I have loved ones that will enjoy eating the pies. I'm thankful I won't be polishing them off solo.
Today is also a great to day to say "Thank you" to readers of this blog. If you are reading this, you've most likely sold Dunitz & Company's fair trade and handmade jewelry line or you've enjoyed wearing it yourself. Maybe both.  Because of you, Dunitz & Company has been able to sustain artisans in Guatemala since the early 90's. And sustain me too! Can you believe that? Yes, over 25 years. For this, a HUGE THANK YOU. Happy Thanksgiving.-ND

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Barter for Cookies?

Sometimes it’s tough being a little guy (or gal.) It doesn’t matter how amazing your line is (and ours is). We work endlessly to promote our business. We tweet. We post blog entries. Yes, we’re working social media.  We travel to trade shows – lots of them. We send email blasts and regularly telephone our wholesale clients.  We do all we can to keep our #fairtrade and handmade jewelry line in and on the minds of our clients.  We don’t have famous friends and family. We don’t hang out with celebrities. We just keep plugging along.  Of course, I think anyone of note should love wearing our jewelry and provide a call out. Creating more demand would result in a lot more work for our artisans in Guatemala.  Yes, yes. I know there are 1,000,000s of amazing consumer goods needing a push.
Now – here’s where I see if you’re reading.  Other than my beautiful jewelry designs, I’ve wondered what bargaining chip (no pun intended) I might have.  I’ve been famous since I was a young girl for my Chocolate Chip Cookies.  If you speak with any my high school or college friends (#goblue) - & yes, my brother, they’ll confirm this. OK influencers – I’ll trade you some cookies for a plug. You won’t be disappointed. And I promise to use fair trade morsels ;) -ND

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The First Time I was an Ass it Changed My Life…Forever.

OK, perhaps I’ve behaved badly more than once.  But I always remember the one time that changed how I do business forever.
First off, I must admit to being a flea market hound. I love the hunt and finding the deal.  I’ve also made my ‘best offers’ on eBay – sometimes to my pleasure and other times not.  The thing is in these environments, I’m typically buying from savvy sellers who know what they need to make their sales worthwhile. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose.
But let’s get back to when I was an ass, my confession and how that changed my life.  The year was most likely 1989. I had started traveling to Guatemala because I’d heard it was beautiful and replete with artisans creating extraordinary crafts.  I was working in ‘Corporate America’ and was considering jumping into the world of entrepreneurship. I did my homework ahead of my visits.  Sometimes I traveled by “chicken bus.”  Later on, I had hired a driver. (Back then there were no tourist vans, which can now be easily booked.) My mission was to visit various villages known for different crafts. I traveled to so many different places to learn about weaving, painting, embroidery and carving.  There wasn’t just one village known for weaving or painting. There were several.  And each used their own techniques.  There were (and are) several towns with craft markets.  These were the best times to find trinkets and gifts.  In most cases, you’d find stalls (or spaces) with vendors or artisans showing off piles of everything.  Everything included totes, hats, blankets and yes, lots of friendship bracelets. (Unlike now, at that time, there was no beaded jewelry. Stay tuned for that story another time.) Sometimes you’d find a single artisan standing on the street selling one or two items he or she had made. Yup, that’s the one time in my life I bargained too hard.  A sweet man was selling a small zippered change purse.  I don’t remember the specific details of the interaction.  What I do remember is feeling badly afterwards.  I’m certain he sold me the small bag for less than he wanted because he needed some money to eat or feed his family. The specifics, I’ll never know.  But to this day, my gut tells me I was wrong. And I was probably wrong over very little money. I should have been elated over purchasing a pretty handmade piece. Instead, I felt horrible.
That man will never know how he changed my life.  After that, I never again bargained with such veracity.  And when working with artisans ever since, I always remember the ‘Golden Rule.’  It was shortly after this experience that I decided to start my own business designing and wholesaling handicrafts.  I’m keenly aware that many vendors that purchase and re-sell goods bully artisans for the lowest prices possible. That one experience made a fair trader out of me. Good can come from bad. -ND

Friday, November 11, 2016

Respect Thy Neighbor

We each have a voice.  Let's try and use it for love. We each can make daily decisions that make small positive differences.  Smile more. Be interested. Pay it forward. Help a neighbor in trouble. Show respect. Be tolerant. Be more open to the views of others. Live and let live. Let kindness prevail.  I have always found that when I do something nice for someone, it makes me feel better. 
I have been operating a fair trade business for many years.  My focus has been to make sure the artisans I work with (in Guatemala) are treated with respect, earn living wages and continue to have opportunity that will support them. I've worked diligently to accomplish this. And it has always given me joy and satisfaction.
I try to live by the Golden Rule.  It's a way of life. Now (as is any time, really) is the perfect time to reflect on how we treat others and how we hope they will treat us.
After the Brexit vote in England, many people began wearing safety pins to show solidarity with immigrants and refugees. Those frightened by the changes could know that a person wearing a safety pin was on their side. A similar movement has now started in the USA. By wearing safety pins we can let our sisters and brothers know we accept them for who they are. We embrace love and reject hate. I do. -ND

Monday, November 7, 2016

Building a PDF Catalog for Las Vegas Market

Dunitz has launched a new (and I think wonderful) website. Have you checked it out?  The thing is, once we complete one thing, we're receiving requests for another. And I don't want Dunitz & Company to lose any opportunity.
We've never prepared a PDF catalog. And this season, Las Vegas Market has offered to post exhibitor's catalogs on their website. This is one more way wholesale buyers can find new resources and/or research booths they might like to visit if they are attending the market.  Their system is generated by a program called Active Merchandiser.  So, I jumped right in. I began posting photos and descriptions in Photoshop and then saved my pages as a PDF file. I was then able to upload them and create a 'flip-book' on their system. So far I've designed 4 pages.  And I don't think they're bad. I'm pretty proud of my first attempt at creating catalog pages.  You can search and visit our profile and then look at our flip book. Check them out and tell me what you think? Suggestions welcome. And if you're attending Las Vegas Market, come see us in Pavilion #1 - Booth 3019 -ND

Friday, November 4, 2016

Free Trade is NOT Fair Trade

Almost every week some one I know will refer to me as a free trader. This includes store owners, teachers, accountants and magazine editors.  It happens at parties and in email exchanges.  I have had many clients broadcast on social media about Dunitz & Company's free trade efforts.  I know in their hearts and minds, when they are saying 'free trade', they absolutely mean "fair trade"!  I always do my best to correct the mistake so it isn't made again. I'm certain that my friends and colleagues are expressing their support for businesses (such as mine) that have long term supportive relationships with artisans who would otherwise lack opportunity.  Fair Trade Federation has created an excellent graphic which I have posted here.  It simply outlines how the two are different. -ND

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Look Booking

Some of the most fun I've had lately is photographing our jewelry on models.  The line comes to life on the women I've hired to sport our newest styles.
I'm lucky. Because Dunitz & Company is based in Hollywood, CA, I encounter lots of actresses needing a bit of extra work.  I've met some adorable prospects at the dog park and eating at local restaurants. (Yes, many waitresses are also actresses. It's absolutely true.)

 I almost never leave my home or office without wearing a necklace or a bunch of Dunitz bracelets. It seems a bit brazen to ask this person or that person if she might consider modeling my line.  Of course I tell them about our commitment to fair trade principles. And - I show off whatever I'm wearing.  If you're too shy to do this, there's always Craiglist. -ND

Monday, October 31, 2016

Adopt Don't Shop

It's Halloween.  And as I was browsing Facebook and Instagram I saw lots of costumes, decorated homes and store merchandise.  What I didn't yet see was a fun photo of a Dunitz mascot.  Jump into action: Stetson our fearless red doberman. That guy will let me do anything and he doesn't complain. (Then again on this day, the art of photoshop has allowed him to coast easy.)
Stetson was adopted about five years ago. We assume he's now around 7-1/2.  My prior dog (and mascot) was Byron, a cross between a Weimaraner and a Vizsla.  He was so awesome that when the time came after his passing, I looked to adopt a similar animal.  I found Stetson on Petfinder because he was listed as a Doberman/Vizsla cross. Turns out he is pure dobie. He is the easiest, calmest and friendliest dog ever.  He is an ambassador for the Doberman breed.  Since Stetson has become part of my pack, I've become much more involved and supportive of animal rescue. If you want a big dog, little dog, old dog, young dog, puppy, mutt or pure breed - you can find a great dog (and cats too) at shelters and rescues in your area.  Information is readily available online.  I adore Stetson so much, I adopted a second Doberman, Ida. She's now 3. (She didn't wear a pumpkin today ;0.) And she too, is a very good girl.  The lesson from my experience is "Adopt Don't Shop"! Why wouldn't you? - ND

Saturday, October 29, 2016

What sells?

Blue. Any shade or tint of blue. Call it anything blue. Navy. Newburyport Blue. Capri. Baby Blue. Sapphire. Whipple Blue. Buxton Blue. Ocean. Sea. Woodlawn Blue. Wedgewood Blue. Stratton Blue.  Covington Blue. Cobalt. Teal. Sky. Blue Horizon. Stream. Creek. River.
Change it up a bit and coordinate "Blue" with grey or brown. Any shade of grey. Any shade of brown.  Years of designing with color have taught me I will always sell more baubles of blue than any other color.
How not to sell blue? When exhibiting a collection, always have Orange :).  Orange sells blue! Yes, orange sells. There are those fashionistas that MUST have an accessory of orange.  I've learned the orange offerings always increase the sales of blue. - ND

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Challenge: Wholesale vs Retail client desires

So ShopDunitz launched a few days ago. And I'm thrilled because the site is absolutely beautiful. The feedback has been great. We've even received a few orders.  Not bad since we have our work cut out for us in terms of promoting the site. Not only will we have the challenge of promoting the site, but the challenge of offering designs our customers choose to purchase.
Years ago we used to stage an annual holiday sale.  Friends and family of mine and our staff would drop by the offices to pick up a few gifts. I was always surprised that in a "retail" situation, customers often chose completely different designs and colors than my "wholesale/store owners" did at trade shows.  I never figured out how that could be.  It was never unusual for our 'holiday sale' shoppers to select items I could not place in retail stores.
Step ahead many years.  ShopDunitz is loaded up with goodies. We've offered some of our best sellers (in retail stores) and some things we think are gorgeous and didn't sell well at the wholesale trade shows.  The site has it all!  We're absolutely NOT going to tell you which is which.  What I can say is in the first orders we've received online, we've sold both.
Punchline. You'll love our site.  You'll find items that under other circumstances would not make it to store shelves. And our history shows that this is definitely a good thing. -ND

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

#ShopDunitz has launched

We've done it. And it was a long time in the making. For years I've received emails and calls from consumers from towns around the US, where Dunitz did not have brick & mortar shops offering our #fairtrade jewelry. We've tried to accommodate our fashionista followers as best we could. The truth is - it's been impossible to do so without a retail website. We've been so busy with our primary business, wholesaling our beaded and fused glass jewelry we couldn't focus on creating a retail site for our fans that can't otherwise find our designs. We knew it was going to be a lot of work creating a tasteful site that featured our goodies in a way that would make us proud. Well, we did it!  Now you can visit and ShopDunitz  - & I know you'll love what you find.  You can even use our store locator function (and possibly find a shop carrying our line in your area).  A big thank you goes out to Ross Sabes, our fearless designer.  He has an impeccable eye and visually communicated our message in a way we don't think could have been done any better.  Go to www.shopdunitz.com & let me know what you think? #shopdunitz #fairtradejewelry #360fairtrade -ND

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Do You See or Feel?

When you're looking at models wearing hip clothing and/or jewelry what do you see or feel?  Do you see the items being worn?  Do you capture the "feeling" of any given shot and note the emotions it brings out in you?  Do you long to look like or feel like you think the model feels in the photo?  As a recent photographer of models wearing Dunitz & Company fair trade jewelry, I wonder what I most want to convey to my audience.  What do they want to really see and feel?
Recently I showed some of my photography to an old time Hollywood actor friend of mine.  His initial reaction was to say that I should want people to look at the jewelry and not the models.  He was afraid that models could be too pretty and distracting.  And then I reflected on so many magazine spreads I've enjoyed that seemed to merely evoke emotions - not necessarily pitch a specific item.  What do you think? -ND

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Color Color - Blocks of Color

I've always loved colors. I've always loved pairing colors. (Will that brown shirt go with the red striped skirt?)  One of my favorite parts of creating any jewelry collection is mixing and matching colors. I can spend hours and hours creating the perfect combinations.
In recent months, I've noticed trade magazines telling "stories" by color.  Red hot looks. Summer Orange. Ocean Blue.  It only seemed right to create a new group of jewelry - fused glass from "Joanie M" - primarily based on color. Yes - Blocks of colors.  I think this new group will be a hit with our customers.  What do you think? To see more, register and login on the www.dunitz.com wholesale website! -ND

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The True Cost

Watch the documentary, The True Cost!

Two small world happenings were the catalysts for my mentioning this film today. First, a friend of mine took her daughter to a screening earlier this week at the Skirball Center in Los Angeles. Second, I was emailing back and forth with an old friend from high school (we have a reunion coming up) and she noticed and was impressed that I had liked this film on Facebook.  It turns out that her son is a childhood friend of the film’s director, Andrew Morgan.  

Do you know where your clothes come from? Have you ever stopped to think about it? Are you typically only concerned about finding the retailer with the lowest prices?  If you answered – no, no, yes to any of these questions, I recommend you watch the documentary film The True Cost.  You might find a screening near you by checking their website. You can also watch it on Netflix or download it using other streaming services. Give them a thumbs up on Facebook.

This film covers and explains the global epidemic of ‘fast fashion’ so well.  It effectively illustrates how first world consumers demanding lower prices and constant availability of new designs catapults profit seeking conglomerates into sourcing production to the lowest bidder.  This results in garment workers working in unsafe conditions and not having the ability to feed or school their families.  The director of this film, Andrew Morgan first delved into this topic after the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh in 2013 were over 1000 people were killed and many more injured.  I promise you, after you see this film, you will re-think where and how you purchase your clothing.

My business is a member of the Fair Trade Federation.  You can visit FTF website to learn more about fair trade practices.  I always go back to the golden rule. Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.  I urge you to think about how and what you purchase. Think  a little more about where things are made.  We need to carefor all of our world’s citizens. -ND

Thursday, April 28, 2016

New Logo for Fair Trade Federation

Fair Trade Federation unveiled a new logo a few days ago at the annual FTF conference. 

Why now?  FTF has been working fearlessly to distinguish what members do differently - beyond what many participating in fair trade do. FTF developed the 360° fair trade message to capture FTF members' deep, long lasting and holistic partnerships with artisans and farmers.  Our prior logo didn't adequately reflect the depth and richness of 360° fair trade. 

Why this design? The new logo reflects the very essence of 360° fair trade. The circular mark created by four interdependent hands powerfully communicates the holistic cooperation, across cultures and geographies, that defines FTF membership.

Look carefully. You will see the four hands swirling in a circular movement. Each is decorated differently.  I must confess, when I first looked (and look) at the logo I saw the blank space in the center which appears like swimming snakes.  I've been re-educating my brain to see the hands first.

You will find FTF member using this logo on their websites, social media and other marketing materials.  Some of us hang the logo proudly in our trade show booths.  With our old logo, it had to be presented as black text on a white background.  We can now present the new and current logo with black or white text - on different color backgrounds.  The attached photo illustrates the flexibility members will have going forward when they present the logo. - ND

Friday, March 18, 2016

Music Feeding the Soul

I had dinner with my 20-something niece the other evening.  She mentioned that she bought a turntable and was now collecting LPs.  (I still have mine from the day and told her to come rifle through them.)  Our conversation reminded me of how much I enjoy listening to music and playing DJ in my own home. I put one song on my turntable and another ready to go on the CD player. Sometimes I listen to the same song 5 times before I move on.  Note to self: Play DJ more often.
Dunitz & Company is getting ready to exhibit at the Boston Gift Show, April 2-5.  As I was doing some last minute prep work, I started thinking about songs that remind me of Boston. Two immediately came to mind. Please Come to Boston by Dave Loggins (1974) and Dirty Water from the Standells (1966). [I remember my older sister playing and singing along to this '45' when I was a tot.]  And then there is Rock and Roll Band from, yes, Boston and Massachusetts, an oldie but goody from the Bee Gees. Dare I ask? What songs remind you of Boston? - ND

Monday, February 22, 2016

We Have That Look

I read what seems like zillions of fashion magazines.  I watch the fashionistas on Instagram. Trust me, I'm on top of the fashion pages in print and online.  So often I see something and think "We have that look."  And then the thought disappears. It dawned on my this week that I SHOULD be make the comparisons for our customers.  So, here is a new beginning.
While browsing Instagram this weekend, I noticed that Alexa Chung , actress, model and Vogue editor donned a huge flower on her blazer at London Fashion Week. Voila. Dunitz has that look in all sorts of colors with our jumbo #fairtrade Peruvian flowers (SKU: JO-P5).  We're on trend with this!
On Sunday, it was hard to miss a story highlighting various earrings in the Image section of the Los Angeles Times.  Staring back at me were beaded & wire earrings from Thai importer, Nakomol.  The article mentioned that their earrings are selling at Neiman Marcus.  You betcha. Dunitz has the look. We're showing ours (SKU: ARW82) in twelve different colors this season. I already knew they were winners. This just confirms the look is right on the mark. - ND

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Good Things Come in Small Packages

Good things come in small packages. It seems this adage applies to the Dunitz jewelry line as well.  Every season we design what I believe to be new spectacular necklaces and earrings.  Our customers ooooo and ahhhhhh.  And then, what to do they buy in huge volume?  The smallest earrings we have to offer.  Is this a never-ending design trend?  Now my challenge each season is what can we design - that is smaller than last season.  Spring 2016 results.  Our super tiny JoanieM glass studs (SKU: JM-ER35) and our tiny Dunitz beaded flower earrings (SKU: ARduoflor1).  Very inexpensive - & yes, flying off our shelves.  Based on history, these small items will be a success for our customers as well.   Any thoughts on this trend?  When will "big" earrings return with a vengeance? -ND

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Legal Gambling

I'm soon heading off to Las Vegas for the Las Vegas Market.  Dunitz & Company will be located in Pavilion 1 - Booth 2615, otherwise noted as "The Temps".  Whenever I'm heading off to Vegas, friends & customers always ask if I'll 'hit the tables'.  Truth is, I NEVER win at black jack. And I certain don't win money hanging out with the one arm bandits.  My response usually is - exhibiting at trade shows is my legal gambling.  And it is.  We all prepare endlessly for the shows.  And it costs a whole lot of money to set them up. Dunitz exhibited last season at Las Vegas Market and it was a very disappointing show.  The heating & cooling had not been figured out in the new Pavilion space and we were all sweltering. The buyers didn't want to enter and/or stay in the building.  Even free ice cream couldn't persuade them to 'work the room.'  Even with the, ok, bad show, I still saw potential with this market.  Some of the few buyers that did walk the temps, were quality buyers. I saw several museum buyers.  In fact, Stuart Hata, the buyer from the deYoung Fine Arts Museum brought his colleagues by our booth on a Museum Store Association tour of the hall. (He chose 9 booths to highlight and we were one of them.) Show attendees came from all over the country.   Bottom line. We're rolling the dice again. We'll be in Vegas this weekend - doing our legal gambling at Las Vegas Market. - ND