Sunday, December 23, 2018

Holiday Card Greetings, Always with Dogs

It dawned on me that the holidays crept up on me and I hadn't designed a new holiday card. What's a girl to do? Who would remember my terrific card from last year?  I decided to give my two doberman mascots new necklaces. Dunitz & Company fair trade necklaces, of course.  I also thought it would be fun to go through my computer and find my images from past years. In earlier times, we printed our greetings on paper and mailed them. In recent times, my masterpieces have been shared by email and social media. Here's my stroll down memory lane. I think this may be the first time I'm posting pics in "medium" size on my blog. It's either so you can see them easily without double clicking or to let you know just how much I love my dogs!

2007. Byron and the Snowman. Yes, he is wearing Dunitz & Company necklaces in appropriate colors

2008. Our mascot, Byron thinking about one of his favorite things. Yup. We made him wear reindeer antlers again.

2009. Byron was greeted by Santa that winter season.

2010. Byron was a bit more reserved with a Dunitz & Company bracelet featured as a collar.

2011. Return of the Antlers. And Byron was not too pleased.  I'm afraid at this point in the job, he had gotten quite old. I think the greeting reflected that.

2012. Stetson took over with a Chanukah Greeting.

2012. Simple, but our warm wishes are always the same.

2016. Don't ask. I haven't a clue what happened to 2013, 2014 or 2015 greetings. I can't seem to locate them.  By 2016, Ida had joined our crew.  Along with Stetson, they decided to don some Dunitz & Company fair trade kippot. Silly? Yes. Fun? Definitely.

2016. For Christmas, the mascots proudly wore Dunitz & Company necklaces. Me? I put on a Santa's helper outfit. Shall I saw I borrowed the outfit and body. Ah, the magic of Photoshop.

Seems 2017 was an oversight as well. Can't find a card in my files. Certainly our best wishes were in tow. They always are. Hey, go back to the top of this blog. And there you'll find our updated 2018 group shot. An updated version from 2016. But, heck, the dogs got new necklaces.  Happy Holidays and Best Wishes from Dunitz & Company for a healthy, happy, prosperous and fun New Year. See you in 2019! -ND

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

What I Say about Living Coral - Pantone's 2019 Choice

My color planning and choices for Dunitz & Company's fair trade jewelry for the upcoming Spring season have been long put to bed. Shades of deep orange have been super popular for Spring clothing for several years now.  And 2019 projections seem no different. Many of the designers whose names we easily recognize decked their models in vibrant variations of coral for this Spring's runway. It's no wonder that after several years, Pantone has named "Living Coral" their Color of the Year.

I have mixed feelings about this. What I've learned is our customers don't always follow trends when it comes to purchasing their jewelry. Because "Coral" was so big in clothing the last few years, Dunitz & Company chose to offer jewelry in similar shades. Check out Bev in our photo to the right. This pic is from a couple of years ago and she is, yes, outfitted in "Living Coral". She's a stunner. The jewelry is stunning. Truth be told, this color way has never been a particularly good seller for us. Why do I offer it? There's always a small group of women that adore (and purchase jewelry in) coral. Also, our customers NEED choices. Offer them coral. They'll buy the aqua blue. (Yes, "shades of blue" always win over Rose Quartz, Serenity, Greenery, Ultra-Violet, and I'm sure Living Coral.)

So, what's a jewelry designer, whose collection is based on color to do? Dunitz & Company's Spring 2019 colors were chosen and created long before Pantone made their recent announcement.  And somehow, I'm right on track. A great track, I think.  Each year we offer 12 different color ways in our seed bead and our Joanie M fused glass collections. You better believe that a majority of our offerings include various hues of jade and sapphire. Did I say blue sells?  But if you were reading, you also read that other colors sell albeit in smaller quantities. Offering many choices always our customers to reaffirm their favorites.

Guess what? Dunitz & Company is offering variants of Living Coral for Spring 2019. In our popular fused glass line we'll have some stunning pieces in what I have lovingly referred to as a dark melon shade. Perhaps I should now call it ‘Living Coral’ so I sound as if I'm in the know.  For production, I call it "Color #128". What do you think? Even without Pantone's announcement, Dunitz & Company is right on the pulse.

For our beaded jewelry, I was particularly influenced by the recent Emilio Pucci runway. Several of Pucci's fabrics combined wonderful shades of dark melon (aka Living Coral) with various shade of pink and in some cases, splashes of turquoise.  That inspiration resulted in, yes production "Color #363". I chose a strong bead that more resembles the inside of a cantaloupe and coupled it with pale nectar and the never-ending popular millennial pink. Sure hope our customers love it as much as I do.

As I was getting ready to complete this post, I received an email sharing Dayna Isom Johnson's (Etsy's trend maven) most recent blog entry.  She has anointed Etsy's Color of the Year as "Burnt Orange". Where I see her choice a bit dark for Spring clothing and jewelry, it sure follows suit. Similar color. Same family. Stay turned to the Dunitz Etsy Shop and you're sure to find some Living Coral, Burnt Orange, Cantaloupe, Melon colored options.

So there you have it. My two cents about Living Coral and Pantone's 2019 choice.  Keep your eye on Dunitz & Company's fair trade jewelry.  If you're a retailer, our Spring 2019 collections will be up on our wholesale site soon.  Looking to buy for you? You can easily do that too. We're here to help. Did you know our websites also have a store locator? Perhaps there is a retailer near you where you can see, touch and feel our jewelry before purchasing.

Tell me what you think about my thoughts on Living Coral. I'd love to hear from you. - ND

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Etsy Finds - Loved & Tested

You all know Dunitz & Company sells fair trade jewelry and kippot. I often write about the fair trade aspects of what I do. What I may not focus on enough is that our line is all handmade. We love handmade. I love handmade. I love supporting makers from the USA and other faraway places. Dunitz sells on Etsy. And I also believe in supporting other artists selling on Etsy. Here are a few of my favorites, not in any particular order. They might be your next favorite too!

1. JANELLE SONGER'S CERAMICS - I'm crazy for Janelle's ceramics. She is so talented. I discovered her years ago on Etsy and purchased a vase from her (as an Etsy guest) for a wedding gift. Soon after, I learned my niece, Helen Gotlib, also an artist, was acquainted with Janelle. Small world. Then again, they both live in Michigan, from where I originally come. I have a couple of Janelle's pieces in my home. The cup shown here, a gift from Helen, is now my favorite piece in my bathroom. I started using it to conserve water while brushing my teeth. (Don’t let that water run endlessly!)

2. IZEPH DELIGHTS, ISAIAH JOSEPH - If you know anything about me, you know I'm a world traveler. You might not know that I'm coconut crazy. Randomly I searched on Etsy for coconut edibles. This led me to Isaiah's shop. And I've been drooling ever sense. He's originally from Dominica. That means his baked offerings have a Caribbean flair. Typical fudge is creamy.  His coconut fudge has a grittier texture, something I've experienced with desserts from other parts of the world such as India and Guatemala. His fudge transports me to other places far far away from Los Angeles, where I current live. Recommended.

3. WOVENFINDS CO. - Lina from Woven Finds has been developing wonderful handbags with artisans in Morocco that are made from local palm. They're strong and fashionable. And she personally knows many of the artisans she works with since she was a kid. Her business is young. Yet she's so savvy when it comes to her new designs. She really has a pulse on what hip women want to carry. I've been toting around this small clutch when I don't need to carry the 'kitchen sink'. And I know, you know what I mean.  (Yes, that's a Dunitz bracelet I'm modeling with my purse!)

4. CRICKET N WILLOW, SUSAN PALOMINO - Are you crazy for handmade soap? Then do I ever had a great suggestion for you! Not only does Susan's soap smell great and last long, it is beautifully wrapped. (Each bar is ready for gift giving, assuming you don't keep everything you purchase for yourself, as I did!) She only uses organic and natural components when making her soap. And she has so many appealing soap choices you'll have a tough time deciding which one you want to try first. At least it was tough for me. (Yes, my bracelets again!) 

5. ALMA POTTERY, LAVINIA HANACHUIC - Lavinia has such a whimsical style. And she never rests on her laurels. She's always creating new and innovative things. The punch line: if you see something in her Etsy shop that interests you, snag it. Because next month you'll see she's creating something different. I have one of her pieces hanging out next to my stereo receiver. And every time I go to turn on my music, I can't help but smile.

6. CYNTHIA WEBB DESIGNS - I'm personally acquainted with Cynthia for many years since we "grew up" in the wholesale business together. We both sell to boutiques all over the USA. We both now also offer up our work on Etsy. Her amazing designs in pewter are sure to please, from framed wall art to 'room blessings', which to some resemble mezuzahs. I think her little tickets make the best gifts. And since mine were purchased and given away, I'm posting her photo. Who can't ever have enough hugs? Or give too many?

7. MUSTANG LEATHER SHOPPE, SANDY RACINE - When it comes to our doberman mascots, you KNOW I'm serious.  This is why when Stetson's collar fell apart this year, I was on a mission to find something handsome, unique and perfect for him. I found leather tooling expert extraordinaire Sandy from Ohio on Etsy. And now Stetson looks quite dapper as you can see in this photo. Sandy also knocks it out the park with her one-of-a-kind leather handbags. You can see more on her shop page.

8.  DUNITZ, NANCY DUNITZ - How can I NOT mention my own Etsy shop when sharing all of my other favorites?  So, once again, I ask that you visit the Dunitz Etsy page. As of this date, the earrings here have been my best seller on Etsy. I can't tell you why? Maybe my SEO for this item is perfect! And/or, as I always say, "everyone loves blue!" You could soon be wearing a pair of these beauties too. Heck, and the matching bracelet too :).

There you have it! My standout Etsy Finds - Loved & Tested. Of course I want you all to discover, love and wear Dunitz & Company's fair trade jewelry.  I also love the idea of you personally enjoying my Etsy favorites. -ND

Monday, November 26, 2018

What Inspires Color Combinations

You know I write about this often. I can't help it.  Each year I get so pumped up when I create seed bead color combinations for our fair trade jewelry collection.  I drool over the runway fashion shows and they always inspire me. This season was no different. Our Spring 2019 will be released soon. And here are some designer fashions that inspired me.

I'm a huge fan of jade and sea foam colors. I'm not alone. Typically paired with any shade of brown and I've got a score. M Missoni's recent runway show included such colors. And this was my inspiration for a new color combo. A little mint spices it up. Yes, coming soon!

Delpozo's Spring 2019 runway shows offered some fabulous styles mixing various shades of lavender with grey and white. Hey! Perfect for our beaded things. I came up with this? Not too pale. Not too bright. Very versatile.

Pink was all over the runway for Spring 2019.  And even though I'm always told Millennials adore pink, it's always been a tougher sell. Dunitz has offered shades of blush and pale pink many many times. This season, I decided to take the lead from designer, Barbara Tfank.  I chose an orchid pink which was inspired by her recent show. Hope it sells. I love that it's a bolder pink than I've ever offered in the past.

And finally, inspiration from Emilio Pucci. Vibrant Orange and Coral have always been a bit of a challenge. There are customers that love love love deep shades of citrus.  But, honestly, more don't. That left me challenged for the upcoming season. Designer clothing will be abundant in orange for Spring 2019.  I desperately wanted to offer something different that would be right on target. The Emilio Pucci collection this season was so much fun. Will you all go in for this new color combination?

As I type this, I know more of you are thinking about Christmas.  I'm obsessing about winter trade shows and my new Spring 2019 fair trade jewelry collections.  When pulling it together, I vowed I would NOT use "black" this season. Yes, there was a lot of black strutting down the Spring runways.  This year, I wanted to be...just a bit more colorful.  Are you with me? -ND

Monday, November 5, 2018

Fair Trade for Chanukah

I noticed a small uptick in our fair trade kippot sales recently. I'm sad that this may partially be motivated by the unthinkable massacre at Tree of  Life synagogue.  Those of us left behind to mourn and then worry about increasing antisemitism often choose to to wear our religion more proudly. One college student from Pittsburgh even wrote me and asked if I could offer a discount on one of our designs so she could (better afford to) stand in solidarity. (I did.) I've noticed several friends on social media proudly posting that they are once again wearing their childhood Star of David necklaces.

Heinous acts apparently motivate pride. And kindness. In the spirit of both, I thought I'd encourage everyone to support fair trade for Judaica purchases. Chanukah is coming up quickly this year, December 2-10. Why not make more of a difference?  Here are my 7 suggestions for fair trade Judaica gifts for you or your loved ones. Some are specific to Chanukah. Some not.

1. CROCHET & BEADED KIPPOT - You know I had to mention Dunitz & Company and our fair trade kippot.  Most of our yarmulkes were designed with women in mind.  Yes, we have pieces perfect for men too. I suggest you browse the Dunitz site to find the perfect style and color for you. Our designs are crochet by hand, embroidered and then adorned with Czech glass beads. We've been working with artisans in Guatemala since 1989 and Dunitz & Company is a fair trade verified member of Fair Trade Federation.

2. CHOCOLATE CHANUKAH GELT  -  Last year I had the joy of discovering Divine Chocolate's fair trade certified Chanukah gelt coins. Growing up, chocolate coins were a tradition in my home. Divine Chocolate has partnered with T'ruah, the rabbinic call for human rights to promote kosher fair trade gelt. Now you can share and eat these guilt free! (Yes, they still have plenty of calories.) You also can feel good knowing cacao farmers were paid fairly and children were not enslaved to help with the harvest.

3. STAR OF DAVID PENDANT - Seeing friends of mine post recently about their childhood Star of David necklaces definitely had me searching for a fair trade option.  Partners for Just Trade offers this simple design that will undoubtedly make a perfect Chanukah gift for someone you know.  This pendant is made in Peru of sterling silver. And since Partners for Just trade are Fair Trade Federation members, that means this pendant is fair trade verified.

4. ORGANIC OLIVE OIL - Looking for the perfect hostess gift or something special for the cook in your family? For me, Chanukah always conjures up thoughts of latkes and  fresh couscous. And for this, you need some premium olive oil. Serrv International (another Fair Trade Federation member) partners with Sindyanna of Galilee, a female-run organization that markets fair trade olive oil channeling all profits back to educating Arab women. Not only will you benefit from it's affordability, you're purchase makes a difference. Your purchase offers Arab farmers in Israel a fair price for their crops, Palestinian and Israeli women greater economic opportunity, and a rare model of Jewish-Arab coexistence. Learn more on their site.

5. HANDWOVEN CHALLAH COVER - I remember fondly making "French Toast" with my big sister during our childhood winter holidays. And in our house, it was always made with fresh challah bread. Yes.Yes. I know a challah cover is typically used on the shabbat table. But when I think of challah, I always think of Chanukah time too.  So for this reason, I'm suggesting this beautiful handwoven blue challah cover with white stars from Mayan Hands as a lovely gift. I've been acquainted with the women behind Mayan Hands for many years, and I can personally attest to the great work they're doing and the difference they make in several Guatemalan communities. Mayan Hands is a member of Fair Trade Federation.

6. CHANUKAH PAPEL PICADO BANNER - Will you be hosting a holiday party this year? Why not consider decorating with a traditional Mexican paper cut banner? Or take one to the party you'll be attending! Casa Bonampak, has been working with artisans in Chiapas, Mexico for nearly 25 years. (Now that's what I call "sustainability".) These fun adornments are composed of ten silver and blue metallic sheetsNot enough to stretch the length of your living room? Purchase 2.  You'll be glad to know Casa Bonampak is another fair trade verified member of Fair Trade Federation.

 7. FAIR TRADE COFFEE - & Finally, never ever forget the coffee. And always make your coffee fair trade. Twin Engine Coffee not only serves up some awesome beans from Nicaragua they wrap it up in some swell looking packaging. That makes for perfect gift giving. Support them this season, and take advantage of their free shipping offer for purchases over $25.  You know you and many of your loved ones will be drinking coffee. Fill your heart and mugs full, by supporting those that live by Fair Trade Federation's nine principles.

Dunitz & Company has been offering our fair trade kippot for several years. When I didn't think there was a market for fair trade yarmulkes, I was always encouraged by Ilana Schatz, who until recently served as the Executive Director of Fair Trade Judaica. Her tireless energy promoting fair trade to Jewish scholars and educators has helped build a demand for many items, including some mentioned in my list above. We all love beautiful things. Our world is a much better place when all of those beautiful things we choose to own are made by individuals who are paid fairly, treated with respect and work in safe environments.

My wish for all of you this holiday season is for peace, love and fair trade. -ND

Friday, October 19, 2018

15 Fair Trade Verified Gift Websites for Holiday Shopping

The holidays will soon be upon us and of course I hope you will purchase all of your fair trade jewelry and Judaica gifts from Dunitz & Company. If you're reading my blog, you are almost certainly interested in fair trade. Perhaps you're in the market for home goods, children's toys or aromatherapy? My Fair Trade Federation colleagues have you covered. Here's a list of 15 fabulous sites where you can almost certainly find a potpourri of amazing fair trade treasures for you and your loved ones.

In alphabetical order:

1. Awaken - Awaken is a new member of  Fair Trade Federation and I've been drooling over their hipster scarves and clothing. Their designs, handmade in Thailand are so cool. My guess is after checking them out, you might be purchasing gifts for you and your favorite gal pals at Awaken sometime soon.

2. Casa Bonampek - Are you looking for traditional Mexican banners? You won't find a better site for Day of the Dead or Holiday gear. Looking to give your seasonal party some Latin flair? Search this site for the perfect thing.

 3. Dunitz & Company - Yes, that's my business and I've been working with artisans in Guatemala since 1990! Please check out our site to find incredible seed bead, embroidered and fused glass jewelry designs. We also have the most special kippot for women. Questions, I'm always here to help.

 4. Eternal Threads - I think you'll be really impressed with the wide selection of gifts from all over the globe offered by Eternal Threads. I am. (And this site is also offering some Dunitz fair trade jewelry this season.) From sophisticated to hippy, you'll find a lot of awesome gifts for your favorite friends and family.

5.  Fair Trade Winds - If you're not familiar with Fair Trade Winds, you should be. They have an amazing website offering so many wonderful fair trade items. They know retailing well since they own and manage several brick & mortar shops too. And since they've been my (wholesale) customer for several years, I can say with confidence that they are some of the nicest people I know.

6. Freeset USA - I only recently learned about Freeset USA, even though they've been a member of Fair Trade Federation longer than Dunitz.  I'm so impressed with their long line of handbags, totes and duffels (made in India) which really have a great hip young vibe. They even offer fair trade T-shirts. I also found out that Freeset produces goods for other FTF members, private label. 

7. Kahiniwalla - Let's talk kids! Kahiniwalla offers the most amazing children's toys and accessories. I think you'll be hard pressed to find anything, anywhere available that is more precious that this collection crafted in Bangladesh. If you have tots on your gift list, you must take a look at this site.

 8. Maroma USA - This site is luscious. Maroma offers a very appealing collection of incense, luminaries, fragrance and body care, all handcrafted in India. They also have products tailored for men. 

9. Mehera Shaw - You'll have to search the Mehera Shaw site to discover all that they do. They've been working with artisans in Jaipur, India since 1999 and offer a wide selection of modern clothing and accessories. They even have Christmas stockings and ornaments for sale.

10. Mr. Ellie Pooh - Looking for note cards, photo albums, journals or other paper products? Then you absolutely need to consider Mr.Ellie Pooh's adorable line-up. Fairly produced in Sri Lanka, Ellie's offerings are made from recycled paper which is 30% comprised of elephant dung. Seriously. Click to learn more. 

11. Nativa - Nativa is all about fine Mexican clothing. If you know me, you know I'm crazy for beautiful embroidery work. I'm certain you'll also be drooling over this company's fine crafted blouses, dresses and children's wear. They even have yoga bags. 

12. One World Fair Trade - Looking for a wide range of gifts? One World's site might be the perfect one stop shop for you. I've been working with the One World team for many years (they sell Dunitz in their brick & mortar shop) and I can personally attest to their sophisticated and well designed choices. 

13. Shop With A Mission - It surprises me that I didn't know about this website until I started researching for this article. Heavenly Treasures/Shop With A Mission has been a Fair Trade Federation member since 2010 and their US offices are located in Southern California. (Gee, I've obviously been living in a bubble.) After checking out their site, I am marveled by their wide selection of fair trade gifts. You'll certainly find some great ideas here. 

14. Women's Peace Collection - The Women's Peace Collection is a social enterprise that helps women around the world by supporting their work and entrepreneurship. They currently offer jewelry, accessories (including some cold weather gloves that are super yummy), home decor and children's toys. Oh yes, and a few Dunitz designs, too!

15. Zee Bee Market - You'll love Zee Bee Market's website. It's so well designed and so easy to navigate with a wide assortment of fun gifts for just about everyone you know. And since they also operate two brick & mortar shops in Missouri, they have a great pulse on what customers want to find online. Click here to explore their site.

So there you have it!  A perfect list of 15 fabulous retail fair trade websites where you can take care of all your gift purchasing needs.  You will find great gifts and if you have time, each one of these sites shares their unique stories. Stories of how they began working in fair trade. Stories of their artisans from varying countries. Stories of how fair trade makes a difference. And with the knowledge of how all these companies are making a difference, you will have a better understanding of how your purchases are also making a difference in so many lives.

Dunitz & Company fair trade jewelry and Judaica is so proud to be part of the Fair Trade Federation family.  Our heart fills with joy because we are part of this important group of business people who care so much about human dignity and our planet. -ND