Thursday, November 12, 2020

My Favorite Things - Fair Trade Things

Dunitz & Company Fair Trade Jewelry
I thought it would be fun to share my favorite fair trade things I enjoy and use on a regular basis. First off, I must pay praise to my favorite Dunitz & Company fair trade bracelet. My embroidered floral bracelet has been worn for so long and so often, it now possesses a vintage flair. I typically add additional Boho style with a couple of skinny slide bracelets. I know there is oodles of gorgeous fair trade jewelry available. But if not for family heirlooms, You'd only see me wearing jewelry I design.

In the spirit of collaboration over competition, I am sharing my favorite fair trade things from my Fair Trade Federation colleagues.  

Dr Bronner Castile Soap
Some of my favorite fair trade things include consumable items. I consume a lot of Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Liquid Soap. I use it for hand washing dishes and washing my hands. Seriously! I dilute it for use by my kitchen sink. It cuts through grease with such ease. And I'm crazy for anything minty. My local Costco sells this soap, which makes purchasing it really easy and affordable.

Zambeezi Lip Balm
Lucky for me, I really don't suffer from chapped lips. But every once in a while, ya gotta have a good lip balm around. And this is were Zambeezi enters the picture. I particularly like their organic lemongrass beeswax balm. The scent and flavor is very subtle. But don't go with what I say. You might prefer their tangerine or wild rose flavors.

HoonArts Wood Comb
Do you use a comb? Most of  the time I use a brush. But there are times, especially after washing my mane, I prefer the use of a comb.  So, why not use the most beautiful comb available in the whole wide world? Mine comes from HoonArts and was painstakingly carved by Master Sodiq in Tajikistan. (Get out a map.) My comb was carved out of walnut. Others are made with apricot wood. This might be the perfect gift for someone who already seems to have everything and needs nothing.

Dunitz & Company fair trade mask
It's 2020, and you know what that means. #Maskup! #Maskon! Dunitz & Company offers at retail some of the most exquisite masks available. Yes Yes. I'm tooting my own horn. The thing is, I want to tell you about some other masks I love to wear too.  And I just can't do that without putting in a good word for the ones I designed with my colleagues in Guatemala. Ours use back-strap handwoven fabric that is then adorned with embroidered and beaded flowers. We offer them in several colors. Beige (shown here) is my personal favorite. Each of our masks is one-of-a-kind.

Blossom Inspirations Mask
I've only worn this gorgeous mask from Blossom Inspirations a couple of times so far. I'm totally in love with it. It's such a piece of art, I think I should be framing it!  These masks are made with the Arpillera technique you've seen out of Peru. I was told it can take seven, yes, "7" hours to craft one of these. Seriously. My Peruvian fashion statement fits quite comfortably. They make these kid-size too.

Sevya fair trade mask
Want a mask with a bit more subtlety?  You might consider Sevya's masks. They're roomy, easy on the ears and available in nice neutral colors. I'm even letting you see here how I look in mine. These have turned out to be really helpful in my office too.  I always put on a mask before I answer the door for the postman or other delivery people. These go on very easily.  Gotta guy you have to buy something for? These mask are perfect for men too. Did I call them subtle?

Seeds to Sew Enkiteng Bags
I realize that as I type this blog post, I keep calling things potential gifts, for the reader. (That's you.)  Clearly it's a November thing. Of course, I think any day can be a gift-giving day.  And that's exactly why I absolutely love Seeds to Sew International's Enkiteng bags. They're beautifully sewn with assorted fabrics with grosgrain ribbon. Drop a book, a box, or gift inside. Tie the ribbon. Voila. The prettiest and easiest gift wrap ever. (And the receiver can recycle, reuse or use them however they see fit.) These are sewn by women in Kenya, and each bag is signed by the woman who made it. Nice touch. 

New York Gift Show Snow Storm
One of my favorite fair trade things (other than all of Dunitz & Company's jewelry) comes from Guatemala where I've been working for over 30 years. And as I warmly (literally) think about it, I'm reminded of a giant storm that closed down New York City and the New York Gift Show.  Yes, I was wearing that favorite fair trade chenille scarf of mine. So for this blog post, I dug out the photo proof. That scarf is nice and long, long enough to wrap around my head and neck. (That's me on the far right.)


Mayan Hands Chenille Scarf
Don't worry. Here's a pic of my rayon chenille scarf. I actually own two. My favorite is green. The other is sort-of an eggplant purple. These are made in a cooperative in Solola where the yarn is spun, dyed and then back-strap loom woven into these magnificent scarves. One year just about everyone in my family received one as a gift. And guess what? They're available from Mayan Hands. Did I say how much I love my chenille scarves?




As I am typing my blog salutation, I can hear Julie Andrews singing "these are a few of my favorite things." (Can you hear it too?) This list is short, I know. But these ARE my favorite fair trade things. Maybe they'll become yours too. - ND

Monday, October 19, 2020

Shop Online at Museum Stores - Our Recommendations

If you're like many people I know, when you head out to a museum, you spend more time in the store than the galleries. I get it. Museum stores rock.  Did you know that Dunitz & Company is a member of Museum Store Association. We're so proud to have our fair trade jewelry offered at so many museums. Did you know many museums depend on the revenue they earn from their stores to maintain their galleries and sustain their programming? You can only imagine how Covid19 has raised havoc on our cultural institutions revenue streams. But wait, many have on-line stores. And some even sell Dunitz & Company online. Why not support some of your favorite museums this season remotely. Here are some terrific online stores we can vouch for.


Van Gogh Banks of Oise at Auvers
Detroit Institute of Art
DETROIT INSTITUTE OF ARTS - This one's for the home team. I grew up in Detroit, so I'm a bit partial to this wonderful museum. And their online store is exquisite. Of course, what I'm most excited about is all of their custom earrings that were made by Dunitz & Company.  You'll find wonderful dangles & studs showing off paintings from their collections. Definitely browse their site. I'm thinking you might fall in love with Van Gogh's Bank of the Oise at Auvers.



Corning Museum of Glass
CORNING MUSEUM OF GLASS - If you have visited the Corning Museum's gift shops, there's a good chance you've left with a piece of Dunitz & Company's jewelry. The museum is awesome and they've been a long time loyal customer of ours. Our jewelry is not currently sold on their website. But, you'll find so many other wonderful things. I think this website will be a great resource for holiday shopping.

Dunitz Fair Trade Earrings
Virginia Museum of Fine Art
VIRGINIA MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS - In store, you'll find so many cool Dunitz designs including these embroidered earrings shown here. Yeah, I snagged this image from their Instagram account. Their photography is awesome. From the comfort of your own lounge chair, check out their website. We are really impressed with their selection of puzzles. Those always make for great gifts and family gatherings.



Seurat Art Earrings
Phoenix Art Museum
PHOENIX ART MUSEUM - I'm thrilled the Phoenix Art Museum has been selling our famous art image earrings over and over.  And you will be too because you'll find them on their website! Seurat. Van Gogh. Utamaro. Log into this museum's website and find them all. Looking for something else? No problem. They have a host of amazing gifts for you to select from.





Dunitz Art Image Earrings
Peoria Riverfront Museum

PEORIA RIVERFRONT MUSEUM  - If you're in the Peoria area, check out Peoria Riverfront Museum. This image of our famous art earrings was snagged from their Instagram account.  They aren't selling these on their website at this time.  Maybe they'll offer these online soon. When they do, I'll update this blog post. In the meantime, I've spotted some great gifts you can purchase from their web store from the comfort of your home.






Dennos Museum Center
DENNOS MUSEUM CENTER - I'm dreaming those displays in this pic (borrowed from the Dennos website) are filled with Dunitz & Company's glass earrings. If you visit this museum, definitely check out their gift store. In the meantime, you can go shopping at their online store. This museum is THE place to go if you are interested in Inuit art. (When I was in college at University of Michigan, I took a seminar on Inuit sculpture and prints. This museum exhibits and sells the real deal.)



Museum of New Mexico Shops
MUSEUM OF NEW MEXICO SHOPS   - Heading to Santa Fe? If you are, I'm guessing you'll be visiting all of the local museums and their gift shops. While there, I'm certain you'll spot Dunitz & Company's bead, glass and art image earrings in the gift stores. Are you currently on the other side of the USA? Then be an armchair shopper and check out their online store.



Cummer Museum
CUMMER MUSEUM - I cut & pasted this pic from the Cummer's website. I sure hope some of those displays are showing off  Dunitz & Company jewelry. The Cummer tends to sell different things from us each season depending on what exhibition they have going on. Recently they've been successful selling our glass earrings. Not in their area, they do have a website to tease you with.



Dunitz & Company Musical Studs
Sonoma Valley Museum of Art
SONOMA VALLEY MUSEUM OF ART  - I love it when I'm surprised with ingenuity. For this blog post, I checked out many websites of  museum stores that sell our jewelry. Many have great stores online, but aren't yet selling our jewelry online. (I'm going to have to work on that!) But today's discovery resulted in new merchandising of earrings I sell.  How fun is this? When I sold these musical instrument studs to Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, I shipped them in sets. And look what they did. They made mis-matched pairs. That's so fun. Instead of two classical guitars or two electric guitars - you'll get one of each. Seeing this made me grin, big.



Dunitz fair trade jewelry
Los Altos History Museum
LOS ALTOS HISTORY MUSEUM - I had no idea that the Los Altos History Museum was selling online until I checked out their website this week. And I was absolutely thrilled to learn they are offering Dunitz & Company jewelry on their site. Looking for some steals and deals? This shop will be the ace in your pocket for gift purchases.




10 Museum Stores online
A Perfect Pin

So you can't make it to your local museum this season? You're not traveling out of town to check out others? Covid19 has you down? (I totally understand!)  Perhaps you'll enjoy shopping these online museum stores for some of your holiday gifts. Why shop Amazon, when you can make purchases that WILL make a difference? These institutions depend on us.

This just in from Museum Store Sunday today 10/22/2020. They've compiled this list of even more museum stores you can visit online.

Me? My next job is to check in with the buyers from these sites I've listed above that aren't selling Dunitz & Company's fair trade jewelry online. My color charts are ready. -ND

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Instagram Accounts You'll Want to Follow | 2020

Shop Dunitz Instagram Profile

I've been at it a long time. And I've been working the Dunitz& Company social media for a long time too. Sometimes I refer to it as a giant time suck.  I'm not sure all my efforts pay off. Being the rather stubborn person I am, I keep at it. And I dream that my endless energy promoting our ethically made and fair trade jewelry is making a difference. Are you on Instagram? The Dunitz Instagram account definitely steals plenty of my waking hours [Follow us. Hint. Hint.]. Creatively featuring our designs and mission, so as not to be too pushy and in your face is an ongoing challenge.  


What I've learned most, is in order to succeed with Instagram, you must be willing to watch, learn and engage with other brands and people. Yes, I watch my Fair Trade Federation colleagues, and I do have my favs.  And, I watch Fair Trade Federation too. Some of the most fun is when  I put on my detective hat and discover people and brands that except for this random connection on Instagram, I wouldn't have known. With this blog post, I wanted to share, in no particular order, some of my new favorite Instagram accounts I enjoy following. You might enjoy engaging with them too.

Tatty_moo - From across the pond, this account seems to inspire me with each of her posts.  The woman behind this account is innovative and environmentally conscious. She tears apart old clothing and pieces scraps from various items together to make new wholes. She designs wood-cut stud earrings that are super cute too.  And you know it takes a lot for me to say that. If this account doesn't inspire you, I don't know what account could. 


fredrika_and_the_apricots - Don't ask me how I stumbled upon Sarah the illustrator. What I do know is I have fallen in love with her aesthetic.  Her drawings are beautiful. Her presentation on her Instagram posts is perfection.This woman is so talented. 

bonniestauch - Bonnie is an amazing costume designer who has been responsible for the look of many a famous actor and actress in many films you might have seen.  She also has a wonderful IG feed you can absolutely get lost in. I haven't a clue where she discovers so many wonderful images. You'll love the fashion shots and artful photographic compositions she posts.

rosiemae27 - Rosie Mae, apparently from Brooklyn, or living in Brooklyn has swagger.  I'm partial to wall and graffiti art and she posts a lot of it. She's ethically minded and describes herself as a slow fashionista. What's not to like? And I'm certain she is drinking fair trade coffee.

sustainable.kay - I've been watching Kayla for a bit, and I'm often impressed with her suggestions for low waste living. OMG she is studying sustainability. Of course, she gives us tips on composting  and how to use less plastic around your home.  Please check her out. I know you'll get some good info that may change your life. And help our planet.

tussenkunstenquarantaine  - This account certainly doesn't need my help in obtaining followers! Clearly there is a reason this feed is so popular. You know those images you've seen from time to time with people imitating fine art? Well this feed is just that on steroids. It is so fun to watch this feed. And the reenactments come from people all over the world. Case in point, the image to the right I've featured hails from Iran.

coacoa13 - Don't even ask how I stumbled upon Colette Tucker's account. But I did. And every day this veterinary tech posts photos of cats and dogs from behind the scenes at the clinic where she works. They keep me smiling. Yes. Yes. I'm a dog person. Have you seen mine? If animals live in my house, they go by Dunitz mascot

mabeldorr - This resale shop located in Binghamton, NY actually is a client of Dunitz & Company's. They sell our fair trade jewelry there. I adore watching their IG feed because the owner, Heidi has a keen eye for fashion. Her selections and posts of luscious vintage clothing has resulted in my drooling. If you love fashion and you love vintage fashion, you must must must follow this account. I've warned you. You'll definitely find some pieces you'll want to have in your closet.

jillian.isabel - Yup, she's very far from me. Jillian is Down Under as we say. She reports from Australia. She has such a great eye with her camera shots.  I love that she posts oodles and oodles of street art photos. She doesn't know it. But I know if we were actually acquainted in person, and could walk around town together, we'd be attracted to much of the same.  I too love snapping pics of outdoor murals. If I find painted utility boxes, even better. Wait wait. That reminds me. I saw one on the way into work today. (Yes, I'm working on Saturday.) I must go back and take the shot.


racheladelicia - And finally, I had to make another shot-out to Rachel Adelicia. My pointing out her IG account is not new. I've actually interviewed her before.  I still love following her feed as much as I did when I first started. She's sassy and she has great style. She knows designers and she is crazy for thrifting. I'm sure I would have a pile of fun if I could actually ruffle through her closet and dresser drawers. This is a great account if you are into vintage fashion.

Dunitz and Company Instagram Feed
So there you have it. My current recommendations for Instagram accounts I think you'll enjoy following. While you're clicking away, don't forget to follow the Dunitz & Company Instagram account.  I promise, I don't just post pics of our fair trade jewelry. I also include travel pics from Guatemala, model shots, artisans at work and inspiration quotes.  If it wasn't our account, I'd still suggest you follow it! Thanks for reading. And if you have some suggestions for me, please let me know. - ND

Perfect Pin

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Eco Friendly. Sustainable. Green. What is the Difference?

Just recently, Dunitz & Company agreed to be part of NY NOW's upcoming Wholesale Digital Market. Participating in a virtual trade show is a completely new concept for us. (OK, it's probably new for most of you reading this too.) The on-boarding for this show has been a huge task.  It also brought up questions about words I've used so often interchangeably. But when this digital show delineated between "Eco Friendly" and "Sustainable", it made me realize there were subtleties I obviously didn't understand. Are you in the same boat? After scouring the internet, I came up with these definitions and explanations for their difference. And while I was at it, I decided to throw in the word "Green" too.

First off, so many people use the word "Green" these days.  No, not the color, green. The dictionary describes green when used in the context of this conversation as "to make less harmful or more sensitive to the environment." People tend to use this word as a catch all to describe anything that is benefiting our planet. Guilty.

Now let's talk Eco Friendly. The use of these words together isn't quite as broad as 'green.'  It means that something doesn't harm our planet.  Webster's dictionary simply says "not environmentally harmful." When it comes to fabrics, using dead-stock (not producing more) might be seen as eco friendly. Recycling or upcycling textiles and other stuff (yup, broad term, "stuff") would be the same.  We've come to realize that many people also freely use the words "eco friendly." Stop and ask them what they mean. On products, for such terms to be actually listed on their packaging, the FTC requires explanations of the whys and hows something won't harm the planet.

Environmentally Friendly Jewelry
Dunitz Eco Friendly Designs

Great. After that, I knew th
at several designs in the Dunitz & Company collection would be classified as Eco Friendly. We incorporate recycled denim we buy at the flea markets in several of our jewelry designs. (I promise we wash everything before we use it.) We use vintage Czech glass buttons which hale from dead stock. (They're super cool and really beautiful.) Retired coins. Old watch parts. These too make for great looking jewelry. Our laser cut earrings are made with particle board created from recycled eucalyptus wood.


So what is Sustainable then? Sustainability is much more precise and is measured by so many more variables. Sustainability looks to our future. It means the item or action is generating environmental, social and economic benefits, while not using up too many resources or causing pollution. According to, "sustainability includes eco friendly activities and green products, but green doesn’t necessarily mean sustainable. For instance, a product made from renewable resources is considered green, yet if a life-cycle analysis shows that it required a lot of energy to manufacture and ship to you, and if there isn’t a proper way to dispose of the product, then it’s not considered sustainable."  With this definition, we know that there are very few consumer products that would be considered sustainable. And for this reason, we decided that Dunitz & Company jewelry would not be classified as sustainable. (We sure are curious to see which of our NY NOW exhibitor wholesaler colleagues will classify their items as sustainable, and what those items are.)


Eco Friendly Explained
Perfect Pin
Our eyes have been opened a bit more. After exploring more accurate definitions of Green, Eco Friendly and Sustainable, it's clear we'll be using these words differently going forward. Our Pinterest boards have been corrected. Dunitz & Company is a verified Fair Trade Federation member and a gold certified Green America business.  You can always feel good wearing and selling our designs. And now you know that many of our designs can accurately be described as Eco Friendly. -ND

Monday, August 17, 2020

We Know You Love Blue - Why Not Own Fair Trade Blue?

If you've read some of my blog posts before, you will hear me spout time and time again that blue is the best selling color for Dunitz & Company.  We love blue. And we know most of you do too. It doesn't matter what shade of blue. Just visit your local paint store and check out all of the chips. Any shade or tint will do. And I know if I use these colors in my jewelry designs, many customers will be blissfully happy.  Recently I've posted a couple of Instagram stories asking folks if "blue was their favorite color." And consistently 50% answered YES. That's a convincing stat.

It only made sense when a few of my Fair Trade Federation colleagues and I decided to collaborate and preach colors, I should select blue.  So my question to you is - "Why not fair trade blue?"  Check out this little gift guide below showing off beautiful blue items from around our globe. See something you love? Snag it and support fair trade. Every purchase makes a difference in the lives of artisans struggling to make it. And heck, sometimes I think I'm struggling to make it too. Fair Trade is not charity. In order to work, everyone from top to bottom, from producing to selling needs to earn living wages.

So here I go. Check out these fabulous ethically made blue items.

Dunitz blue beaded dropsBead Teardrop Earrings $20 - These are from Dunitz & Company and handcrafted in Guatemala.  I had to put one of my designs first, didn't I? And one of the reasons I started with these, is I know just how loved this style is. It's evergreen - or in this case everblue!  I designed it many years ago, and every season create new color combinations. And in blue, yes yes yes!

Zulu Basket Desk Set $119 - Four beautifully created and predominantly blue wire baskets could look swell on your desk. The Zulu are the largest ethnic group in South Africa and are known for their skill and artistry in fashioning baskets. Baskets of Africa collaborates with these artisans to bring you these fabulous pieces.

Handwoven Silk & Ikat Scarf $45 - I can vouch for the beauty of these scarves brought to market by Hoon Arts from Uzbekistan. I've personally spent a lot of time touching these pretties, and they are niiiiiiice. (Yes, I meant for all of those iiiiiiii's.) If you're a textile person, you'll totally dig the beautiful ikat work. And if you love blue, this piece should be in your lane.

Ashani Hand Woven Poncho Was $69, snag it now for $49 - Now this is my sort of blue. And these ponchos from Sevya are made by master weavers in India with a special jacquard weave and handmade tassels.  These pieces are even hand-stitched at the side. You'll feel so special when you wear yours.

Like the look, but prefer scarves?

Sarvani Scarf  Was $55, now $39 - You can purchase these beauties that are created with the very same woven fabric as the poncho I featured above. A number of highly skilled artisans are involved in the making of each scarf; from spinning the yarn to setting the loom barrels, weaving, and making the tassels. And another fun fact, no electricity is used at any stage of production. Do you need to know more? Click to the Sevya website.

blue necklace from Dunitz & Company
Glass Bib Necklace & Teardrop Earrings $48 and $20 - Cobalt blue with aqua. Can you think of a better water color combo?  This fused glass comes from Guatemala and is crafted by artisans outside of Guatemala City.  These come from Dunitz & Company (that's me) and come from a collection I began designing with artisans in 2011. Because it is so different from our beadwork, I named this collection Joanie M to honor my mother. Want the cuff featured on the model. Only $28. Click this link for the bracelet.

Sterling Silver & Turquoise Earrings $90 - Rikki from HoonArts is one of the only fair traders collaborating and working with artisans in Central Asia. It's just not easy to get there! She is proud to bring you the work of Zhanyl Sharshembieva, a master silversmith from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. And what could be more perfect that silver and turquoise blue?

Shallow Bowl $45 - It's tough to tell from this photo, but this piece has a diameter of 8.25" and a height of 1.5". That's a lot of weaving skill for a very reasonable fare.  Did I mention before that these baskets are crafted with telephone wire originally found in South African scrap yards. Each is one-of-a-kind. The inventory on Basket of Africa's site is constantly changing. If you see something you love, go for it. It might not be there tomorrow.

Devaki Tunic $69 - You'll be styling in this blue tunic. Many hands touch each piece from start to finish. Fabric is first made using an ancient block printing technique. And then these tops are beautifully embroidered by skilled women. (Look at the pic to the right.) Sevya has been orchestrating amazing works in India, for you to enjoy here.

Van Gogh Starry Night
Starry Night Earrings $15 - I am convinced that Starry Night is the most loved painting in the whole wide world. And perhaps that's because it's predominantly blue. Or maybe it's just that Van Gogh was an amazing painter. Just the same, these earrings from Dunitz & Company make an incredible and affordable gift. As with all of Dunitz designs, these are made in Guatemala.

Fair Trade Designs in Blue
Styling In Blue Pin
So there you have it my 'crazy for blue' friends. Lots of choices in blue. in many different price points, from many places around our globe and all fair trade verified. Sounds like a win-win. If Dunitz & Company's experiences with color are any indication, you and your loved ones will totally dig any of these blue selections. -ND