Monday, August 27, 2018

Fair Trade Wholesale Guide - Great Resources

If you're reading this, you're most likely familiar with Dunitz & Company's handmade and oh so pretty fair trade jewelry. What you might not know (but should) is we are part of a very supportive and collaborative community, Fair Trade Federation. FTF staff worked diligently to produce and launch our first collective (and hopefully not last) Fair Trade Wholesale Guide. Browse the guide to find great resources for jewelry, clothing, coffee and home decor. I can't list all of my colleagues here, but I thought I'd provide a shout out to some.

Here's the thing. Fair Trade Federation has been growing quickly as more and more wholesalers and retailers choose to be verified for their fair trade practices. Many members I'm acquainted with. Others, not. Personally, I love the offerings of many. Some companies sell items I choose not to own. Isn't that the way it goes with just about everything? In the case of the cover of the Fair Trade Wholesale Guide, I was thrilled to see Jenn Pullin's bag from Fibres of Life featured. If you've seen her booth at a trade show, you know her collection from Nepal is amazingly beautiful. And honestly, I have a soft spot for Jenn. She seems to always be sporting a pair of Dunitz & Company earrings whenever I see her.

Page 2. See that adorable model with the yellow shrug? Yes, of course you do. Look straight up and you'll see she is also wearing a pair of Dunitz & Company's fused glass earrings. (Did you know I call this collection, Joanie M after my mom? She always dreamt of owning a dress shop. When I introduced our fair trade fused glass jewelry, it seemed fitting to name it in her honor.)

I'm definitely a bit partial to all things Guatemala. After all, I've been working there since 1989. And I've hiked several times to San Antonio Palopo where the beautiful ceramics offered by Lucia's Imports are made. I've always told Teresa Hendricks, the co-owner of this company that she is so brave to be importing fragile pottery. (Did you know I first imported glass bowls from Guatemala? I still have some in my garage. Interested?)

 Are you familiar with the Zapotec handbags offered by MZ Imports and Shelly Tennyson? That's their purse on Page 3. Shelly and I have often communicated online. It wasn't until the recent NY Now-Fair Trade Federation get together that we met in person. I was thrilled that we broke bread together and shared some real face time. I confess, I grilled her for a few travel/restaurant ideas for an upcoming trip I'm taking with a friend to Oaxaca later this year. MZ's line is made in Oaxaca.

This mantel shot from the wholesale guide is an all-star! I adore Brenda Rosenbaum from Mayan Hands - and yes, she's been working with artisans in Guatemala for a long long time. Heck, she grew up in Guatemala. Need pine needle baskets? They might be the perfect resource for you. Looking for fun instruments? Then Jamtown is your number. And I can tell you from being John Hayden's neighbor at trade shows, he KNOWS his music! Lucuma Designs for Peruvian gourds? Yes! And finally, my favorite things about Manish Gupta is he, like me, is a University of Michigan Wolverine - GO BLUE! His company Matr Boomie offers lots of fabulous gift items crafted in India.

Saving one of my favorites for last. I absolutely adore Johnnie Segers and Penny Webster, the founders of Woven Promises. Whenever we've been in the same city at the same time, I've dined with these women (and taken in a few Broadway shows). I know well how absolutely dedicated they are to their artisans in Ethiopia. And the quality of their towels and napkins are the best, bar none.

So now you know the Fair Trade Federation Wholesale Guide is out for your perusal and use. You'll have fun browsing the photos and exploring which items spark your interest. And remember, you can always visit the Fair Trade Federation site and search by product category. You'll find Dunitz & Company when searching for fair trade jewelry and Judaica. (Side note: You can also search the FTF site for vendors that retail their goodies online.) Let me know if you source anything new after referring to this booklet. I'm so curious to know what new items you've discovered for your shop. -ND

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Dunitz & Company - As Seen at NY Now

I'm back home after a very good market at New York Now. While there it dawned on me that's it's been quite a long run. This is Dunitz & Company's 29th year exhibiting our fair trade jewelry at NY Now. And at twice a year, that's a lot of New York gift show face time. I always joke that when I started exhibiting, all the boys used to come flirt with me. Now they flirt with my younger booth assistant.

I've had several of you tell me you read my email blasts before you delete them. (I'm often told that my customers enjoy my dry humor.) This season will be the last time I can report that my booth is located in the rear section of Global Handmade near the BIG bathrooms! (You never forgot where my space was, did you?) If you haven't heard, now you have. The entire Global Handmade section will be relocated next season from the River Pavilion to the 3rd Floor, near Made in USA/Europe Designer Makers and Home Design. What hook will I use next time so you can find me? Keep reading my email blasts and we'll find out together.

I always joke that I'm a bit of a machine. I work really really hard.  And if there is any opportunity for Dunitz & Company to be seen, I'm going to seize it. I submitted applications for our fair trade jewelry to be considered for three specialty displays at market this time. And guess what? We were admitted to all of them!

Fair Trade Federation and World Fair Trade Organization were provided the most incredible space up front and center at Javits this season. Did you see the Fair Trade Display in the Crystal Palace? And the wonderful staff from both these organizations manned the booth for the entire show so they could educate buyers about fair trade principles and the benefits that come from working with vendors that have been screened and verified. We submitted a fused glass necklace and earrings set for the display from our Joanie M collection. Most of our clients who have brought our fused glass into their shops have reordered and reordered again. The collection is beautiful and and we're so thankful it's part of what we do.

Have you seen our new laser cut jewelry line? Perhaps you've seen it mentioned in the press? We had nods this month from Gifts & Decorative Accessories and In Store. The line debuted at New York Now and perhaps you saw it there. If  you haven't please log into our wholesale website to check it out for your shops. We're offering a wide selection of dangles and studs that boast famous (available in public domain) images of art, botanicals and butterflies. I submitted our Starry Night earrings for the Destination New display. And, yup, they were accepted. Our soft launch of this grouping in April at the Museum Store Association indicated that this new collection would be successful for us and our customers. After posting our designs on our website, we had several gift shops order...and reorder. And based on the response at NY Now, we think we've got a winner.  And better yet, we can easily do custom designs for museums or institutions that have the need.

Finally, the display that always pokes at my heart strings is the Sustainability for a Better World display. I love seeing the creative designs my many colleagues sell using recycled components or materials that better protect our earth. For this display, I submitted our Denim Daisy Dangle Earrings. Each pair is handcrafted and will vary in color. They're embroidered on recycled denim too. We scour the local markets for discarded jeans that we can pick up inexpensively. Yes, I've donated some of my own for this project. And YES, we always wash them well before we cut them apart to make our jewelry. The jury for this exhibit also consider verified fair trade producers knowing that they make a difference in making ours a more just planet. * You remember my commenting about my dry humor earlier in this blog? I just had to post this photo juxtaposition. I scurried to this exhibit at 8:15am before the show opened on the first day to check out the display. I figured if I was able to snap some photos I could brag on social media. Unfortunately the image on the left shows what I found. The next morning I returned and thankfully found things looking much better!

So as Dunitz & Company fair trade jewelry soon celebrates our 30 Anniversary, I could still very likely continue mentioning our bright green drapes at New York Now.  I'm just wondering if when I blast about the show, I should also provide directions to the best bathrooms. -ND