Monday, May 29, 2017

DIY Display - for our Fair Trade Jewelry

I've always loved decorating and creating a lovely space in my home. I'm quite passionate about it, actually. For months I've noticed that my dresser top has been piled high with Dunitz & Company fair trade jewelry. I seem to always be bringing something home to wear here and there. Many of the designs at home are what I call "vintage".  I've been designing our jewelry line since the early 90s - & many of the pieces on my dresser are - for me - ancient.  These pieces are quite beautiful, just not part of the current line.  Others are from the season we're showing now. The thing is, with so many pieces of beaded and fused glass jewelry piled up, I don't even know what's there. And, yes, I do have a few pieces that pre-date Dunitz & Company and belonged to my mom.

What to do? I decided to create a DIY necklace board I could hang in my bedroom.  My goal was to do this without purchasing a single thing. This was my weekend challenge! The inspiration components for my project were four door handles I purchased from the ceramic artisans of San Antonio Palopo, Guatemala many many years ago. (A couple of them are actually signed by the artist that made them.) When I bought and fell in love with these knobs, I always thought they'd be perfect somewhere in my home. Until this moment, I never found the appropriate place for them.

I hunted around my home looking for other DIY components. I'm not exactly a hoarder. I do however tend to not throw away things I believe I can use later. Nearly twenty years ago, I remodeled my kitchen. At the time, the project carpenter had made some cupboard doors the wrong size. Of course, I kept them. I actually stained my kitchen cabinets green. (Yes, I did it myself.)  I mixed my stain and tested it on one of the extra doors. Voila. This became the base for my new jewelry display.  I also had several white porcelain knobs I salvaged from the old kitchen and an old bathroom.  Lots of picture frame wire, screws of varying sizes, a hacksaw and my drill... and I was ready to wing it and go!

Most of the knobs you purchase in the USA have the screws entering from the back of a door and screw into the knob. Not the San Antonio Palopo knobs. These were just the opposite. Kitchen cabinet doors are quite thin compared to room doors. I had to cute the screws with a hacksaw once I attached the knobs. For the white porcelain knobs, I hunted and hunted for smaller screws. My slightly too long screws were adequately tightened by adding nuts by the screw heads. Yes, I'm resourceful.  Finally, I wrapped some thick picture framing wire around the lowest knobs. This allows me to hang a few fair trade bracelet cuffs on my new display.

My fair trade necklaces now have a new home. My DIY jewelry display proudly hangs next to my dresser.  It doesn't quite accommodate all the necklaces I have at home. The dresser is still piled high with fair trade jewelry. Just a little less. Perhaps you should make one of these displays too. It really wasn't difficult at all. What do you think?- ND

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fair Trade Chokers - Then & Now

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Dunitz Fair Trade - Blog Name Change

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Dunitz & Company - Logo Fonts & Parents

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Did Blake Lively Inspire You to Buy That?

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

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