Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Fair Trade Judaica - New Kippot Designs

Our fair trade Judaica collection has always been a labor of love. And our artisan-made kippot have always been dear to our heart.  Most of our yarmulkes are designed to accommodate the women that wear them. Some of our designs are suitable for men. One of our favorite customers and advisors (regarding this part of our line) is Ilana Schatz from Fair Trade Judaica. She attends countless seminars where she often sells an assortment of Judaica products, our fair trade kippot among them. She always tells us ours are a customer favorite. She also always provides us with valuable feedback.  Recently she told me that some of her customers were looking for more neutral colored kippot suitable for more somber occasions. And of course, that got me thinking.  I knew it was time to introduce new designs in new colors.
Our embroidered kippot featuring embroidered flowers and leaves, with beaded accents have always been some of our best sellers.  It seemed fitting to add on to this part of our fair trade Judaica collection. Debuting at NY Now, we introduced our yarmulkes in several neutral color combinations including black, grey, charcoal, almond and an ecru-type beige. If you log into Dunitz & Company's wholesale website, you'll discover information and photos on all of our fair trade kippot designs.

Our new kippot were juried in for a special 'destination: new' display at the New York trade show and one of our designs was a candidate for 'best new product introduction'. We didn't win. We did however, sell lots of these new designs to appropriate gift shops. I'd say that makes us a winner :)!

While at the show, two Fair Trade Judaica board members stopped in at our booth. I enjoyed meeting Betsy and Regie and showing them our latest designs. We even posed for the perfect photo. (How is it I'm the tallest girl in this pic? I wasn't wearing heels and I'm only 5'6" - just saying.) Of course, they enjoyed checking out our entire fair trade jewelry collection including our designs that can be made with world coins or old Israeli coins.

Are you a buyer for a synagogue or temple gift shop? Do you choose to wear a kippa? Do you know a young woman needing a kippa for her bat mitsvah? If you said yes to any of these, you must know about Dunitz & Company's fair trade Judaica collection. Please check us out on our wholesale and retail sites. You'll be glad you did. -ND

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Community at Javits - The Solar Eclipse

We were all at NY Now - exhibitors and buyers. Many of us were captive in our booths at the Javits Center. (Yup, we were there exhibiting our fair trade jewelry.) Our booth is located in the River Pavilion, near the back where the ceiling is all glass. Glass with lots of metal supports.  We could see up to the sky. And what we saw was mostly clouds. From time to time the clouds would part and reveal the sun. Or the partial sun blocked by the moon. One thing is certain. For a short time, ours was a community of buyers and sellers most interested in what was going on in the sky above.  One customer of ours, Susan from Amistad had a pair of the much sought after safety glasses. And she was kind enough to share them with me, Elissa (our sales help) and our neighbors at Asian Eye. We were a bunch of cackling girls trying to catch snippets of the changing sun. And we did. Via cell phone, this was our view.

One place I've never been (but I've always wanted to experience) is the Javits roof.  Access is down a long hallway past the large bathrooms (near the Dunitz & Company booth) and through a double door to what I believe are building storage areas. A large group was escorted to this special place, mostly Javits employees with appropriate employee badges.  Evidently a few others were invited. I know this because our friend Ben from Fair Trade Winds is seen in this photo...on the roof. Lucky Dog. What a view, right?

And most crowded into the streets. You can only imagine how many people rushed outside of Javits to see what they might see. From our booth we have an open view to the sky. But most in the larger halls downstairs do not. I found these photos online - & there were tons of folks outside. Laughing. Smiling. Sharing Glasses. We are a community!

I'll always remember this day and the excitement we all shared. Where were you for the solar eclipse? - ND

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Featuring Dunitz > In Trade Show Press

I'm always excited when Dunitz fair trade jewelry shows up in 'Trade Show Press'.  That means that buyers and those receiving materials inviting them to any given 'to the trade' show will see a preview of our artisan made jewelry. Often buyers reach out to us because of these publications. (Their distribution lists are always larger than actual attendees.) We submit photos of our beaded and fused glass jewelry for consideration and pray trade shows use them. It is never guaranteed. This is why we're always wearing big smiles when our jewelry is featured in trade show publications. These publications aren't traditional "Trade Press". (In our industry that would be reserved for magazines such as Gift Shop, Giftware News, Smart Retailer, Handmade Business, Gifts & Dec, Museums & More among others.) And this is why we've never posted these printed highlights permanently in our website Press sections.  We do however share and boast about them on social media. Here are a few nods we managed this season. To the right our Denim Frida Necklace was a featured highlight for Las Vegas Market's nod to Handmade. See our necklace in the circle on Page #85. Yup that was a very thick book! (A little birdie tells us these Frida Necklaces might be featured for holiday in an on-the-newstand sort of publication.  Stay tuned. We don't know for sure. If they are, we'll let all of our retailers know. And, fashionistas will be able to find them directly from us as well.)

When we arrived at Las Vegas Market, they were handing out a smaller pamphlet called "First Look". This booklet clearly showed off Las Vegas Market staff designer's favorites and products they felt best illustrated current trends. Dunitz & Company made the cover! We were completely stoked when we discovered this. Have a store? We ship these Denim Frida Necklaces in several colors. This season we've even introduced a more Monochromatic version.

Las Vegas Market is great about email blasts and posting on their website.  Our new Joanie M Wide Suede and Glass Snap Cuffs also were mentioned on their website. These fair trade bracelets are already a new favorite in our collection.

California Marketplace (once known as the Los Angeles Gift Show) also produces a show preview each season. Available both in print and online, Dunitz & Company was featured twice this summer. What a coup! At least we thought so. To the right, you can see our Joanie M fused glass fair trade bracelets. We call these our Skinny Suede & Glass Bracelets. Are you a retailer that sells our line? Follow the link and order some for your shop! And if you're not a current customer of ours, now might be the perfect time to jump on board.

On another page of the California Marketplace preview our Embroidered Slap Cuffs were pictured. Yup, slap 'em on, if you must. And they will fit anyone.  No clasp needed.

 We've been lucky to have received lots and lots of visibility in 'trade show press' over the years. Tonight we're flying to New York to set up our NY Now booth for the upcoming market. Perhaps we'll be surprised and find some Dunitz fair trade jewelry in their press pages. Sure hope so!

If you are a wholesaler reading my blog, follow our lead. Send photos of your work to the press contacts at the trade shows you attend.  If they don't have your images, there's no chance of being included. -ND

Friday, August 11, 2017

Our Hollywood Neighborhood

If it weren't for these two, Stetson (left) and (Ida) right, I wouldn't get out much! I bring our two mascots to the office every day. I walk them separately. That means I get out twice a day to take in our Hollywood neighborhood. Our offices are on a busy road, Cahuenga. It's a major thoroughfare from the city side of Los Angeles to the Valley. There is an entire Wikipedia entry that addresses the history of our busy street. What I now know is that 'Cahuenga' is derived from the Spanish name for the Tongva village of Kawengna, meaning "place of the mountain". And, yes, we are located in the "hills"of Hollywood. (Note to Nancy. Write a blog with photos looking out the backside of our offices!)

Yesterday I snapped several photos from my walks with the mascots. We always meander into the residential neighborhood behind our office.  Most of the homes in this area were built in the 1920s. "Old Hollywood" is so appealing. We are always discovering new and fabulous homes and architectural features. In this snapshot, Ida & I were about to inspect this old door.

There is a huge range of homes in our neighborhood. Some are modest. Some are much grander. Check this one out. It has two stately lions guarding the entryway. Thankfully, the dogs know they're not worth barking at. Perhaps it's because they are very very still. Or very very grey!

Most of the homes in our part of the Hollywood Hills reflect the Spanish style of architecture popular in the 20s and 30s. In recent times, there have been many super contemporary designs popping up. Looking up, this is one of them. What I notice the most is that the owner of this property is patriotic.  A giant American flag is used to announce their fence!

Several times a week, I walk by this. It is the Purple Heart Wall of Hope. Funny, until today, I didn't know why this was there or what it meant. And now that I'm writing this blog entry, I performed a mandatory google search. You can read more details in the link above and this link from Viva Los Angeles blogger. An activist (or mentally ill) father who was denied the right to see his son created this tribute. I still can't figure out the whole truth.  The photo attached is how the wall looks today. Click Viva Los Angeles to see this wall and home from a different time. Crazy in Hollywood!

Another fabulous part of our neighborhood is all the vegetation. I'm always amazed by what grows here.  I remember looking up our Sunset Climate Zone years ago and learning that we were located in a small micro-zone. Now that I'm trying to find specifics, I of course cannot.  But heck, around the corner from my office there is a Banana Tree that actually produces fruit. I've never seen this in Los Angeles before. I've seen banana plants. Just not ones that fruit. Good thing I took this photo yesterday. I've been watching this tree for months. And yesterday afternoon the stalks were chopped away, not allowing the fruit to ripen on the vine.

And Apples! Who would think apples could grow in Hollywood, CA? For weeks I was walking by this tree filled to the gills with yellowish-red apples.  About a week ago I saw the owner of the home.  He told me there was a "real" name for these apples. They are "Beverly Hills Apples." Crazy, right? He told me to help myself. I've had two so far. I feel a little timid snatching apples from his tree. And guess what? They are delicious. They're similar to a McIntosh.  I expect to see citrus fruit. Lots of citrus fruit. (I even have a tangerine tree where I live.) Apples? I wouldn't expect these in my neck of the woods.

There are flowers everywhere. All types of flowers. On trees. From the ground. And, no we do NOT have tulips. We have lots of Bougainvillea in every color under the sun. Here are clusters of red, fuchsia and light orange I spotted today, yesterday and the day before. (Yes, this is a block we often walk.) You can also find it in purple, yellow, coral and baby pink.

Succulents and Cacti. Yes, we have plenty. And it seems there are more and more as many homeowners take to desert gardens that require less water. I love California!

Every neighborhood in Hollywood seems to have their own identity.  Our offices are part of the Hollywood Dell. You can find these vintage looking signs at various points of entry into this neighborhood. There isn't one on Cahuenga Blvd. Once you turn a corner into a residential area, you'll find the signs. Other area neighborhoods include Whitley Heights, Hollywood Heights and Outpost. Are you familiar with this area?

As in many neighborhoods in and around Los Angeles --> (and probably in your hood too), there are community meetings. There's one coming up. The funny thing is, it never dawned on me to attend a meeting in this area where I work.  We have similar meetings scheduled where I live - which is only 1/2 mile away.  Sometimes these neighborhood groups arrange social events. More often than not they discuss local road conditions, homeless issues and crime in the area.

Another post I could make might center around quirky things we find when we take our daily walks.  I should be carrying my camera (cell phone) every day when I walk. I almost always leave it in the office. In the spirit of fun, here is a little Hollywood Humor.  The sign on the backboard of this basketball hoop says "Notice: All activities monitored by video camera." My initial reaction was that whoever lives here better start getting his or her shot in the basket more often! -ND

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Getting the Shot. Photographing our Fair Trade Jewelry.

Every season Dunitz & Company produces a look book of our fair trade jewelry. This season was no different. Have you looked at our Fall 2017 Look Books for our new wholesale collection? Truth be told, I'm the one doing the photography. I'm not a professional photographer for sure. And I must say, after several seasons of snapping attractive models in our newest designs, I've gotten better and better at it. Here are a few tips for you.

1. Sun is NOT your friend. Shadows are NOT your friend. And Shade is your friend. I always shoot outside with available light.  When you schedule a shoot with a model, I can almost guarantee the sky will be void of clouds.  This might not be the best example. I found a great tree for a background. But darn, that sun was creeping through everywhere. In this case, I could have cropped the shadows out and brightened the photo. We chose not to use it. Too bad, huh? Great spot. Beautiful woman. Fabulous fair trade jewelry!

2. Simple backgrounds seem to work the best. I like solid walls or near solid walls. Texture is fine. Actually texture is great. I find flowering shrubbery distracting. I see lots of fashionistas snapping away in front of painted murals on Instagram. What do I focus on when I see those photos? I see the fabulous artwork, not what the blogger had intended me to study. Hey, here's a sample of that. And, yes this comes from my very own camera. Left photo-Ugh. (After I snapped this one shot, I concluded it just didn't work for me.) Right photo-Love! It's a solid textured wall! These two shots are raw from the camera. Neither has been cropped, lightened or had blemished removed. I do think you can tell which works better for showing off Dunitz fair trade jewelry!

3. I always think it's best to have your raw photos as good as they can be. I've become fairly proficient at fixing this and that in Photoshop. (Thank you, Photoshop!) But seriously, the less you have to do after the shot is taken, the easier life is. I do think having access to some sort of editing software will enhance any photos you take.

4. Find great locations. Find places with lots of walls. Lots of walls that are shielded from the sun. Or just have in the back of your mind, that you always want to avoid the sun and shadows. One of my favorite places to photograph is the world famous Hollywood Bowl. Our offices are not far. And my home is even closer. (If you watch me personally on Instagram, you've already seen that I attend a lot of shows there in the summer.)  The Bowl has a plethora of walls. Green Walls. White Walls. Grey Walls. Brown Walls. Brick Walls. Tiled Walls. Striped Walls.  If you're in Los Angeles, you might also check out Echo Park. It's fun to walk around and there is a great big grey arch there. Not near a park? Get creative. Scout your residential or business neighborhood. You're sure to find shaded walls on all sorts of buildings.

I'd love to see what you come up with. I shoot fair trade jewelry. I'm assuming you'll be shooting your models wearing something completely different. In any case, I'm sure my tips will help you create fabulous images. -ND