All Articles Tagged "jewelry"
When Kijafa Vick, wife of Philadelphia Eagles superstar quarterback Mike Vick, and her business partner Blair Sandlain first met, it didn’t take long for the two to recognize that they shared mutual appreciation for affordable fashion. Shortly after, the pair would decide to take risks on each other and turn their passion into a business relationship, more specifically the PNKElephant, a clothing and accessories boutique located on the famed South Street in Philadelphia. Three years later, business is definitely booming as the boutique has become the ultimate destination for party girls looking for something trendy, hot and most importantly, affordable to rock for an fly evening out on the town including sequin dresses, sheer guitar style leggings and the very popular PNKElephant’s signature Girls Hustle Harder t-shirt line.
But despite their personal success and overall fun atmosphere, which can only come from a shop plastered in pink and leopard print, both women will readily admit that running a business has not always been easy. Recently I sat down with Vick and Sandlain, who spoke candidly about the learning curve, which comes from being a first time business owner, and what affect being married to one of the most controversial players in the NFL has had on business.
Hopefully I won’t offend you because I mean this as a compliment but I’m walking around the boutique, going through the racks and accessories such as the Trust No B**ch nameplate necklace and I’m like, Oh Yeah, I seen that on Love and Hip Hop and Basketball Wives: LA. So describe for me who you had in mind as a typical PNKElephant customer?
Blair Sandlain: We like to think of ourselves as the ultimate party destination where women can come and get their club outfits, cocktail/after hour outfits. If you are going to the club or going to the lounge, we like to think that when people come to us they are going to have a good time.
Kijafa Vick: And it is funny because when we started out, we started as just an accessory store, we didn’t really want to go into clothes but it was like every girl that came into the store would ask for clothes too. And we’re like, ‘okay we can’t miss out on all this money [laughter]; let’s try it out.‘ And we did. Last April, we started with just a little bit [of clothing] and the response was amazing. So we were like, ‘let’s do it, let’s sell clothes too.’
Do you do your own personal shopping for the boutique?
That sounds like a lot of fun?
Sandlain: A lot of fun? [laughter] It is a job.
Vick: No lunch breaks [more laughter]
No lunch breaks? Well how many hours do you spend in the shop?
Vick: She lives here [pointing to Sandlain]
Sandlain: Yeah, I do like 12-hour days. You know, she has a whole family, a whole situation; husband, kids, house…so I just have her on the phone with me most times -
Vick: All day long…
Sandlain: And we’ll go over numbers, everyday, every week and you know, we’ll recap. I’m in the store a lot but she is still involved. She knows the day-to-day happenings and what is going on. She knows how much money we make [laughter].
So how did PNKElephant come about?
Sandlain: Actually, I was selling jewelry out of my house. And my friend was staying with me. He is a fashion designer and Kijafa found him on Facebook. She would come up to get her clothes custom-made by him because he is a great designer. And he would always show her my accessories and I would be at work because at the time I had a full time job; I used to work for Footlocker’s Corporation office. And so, she asked him if [I was] looking for a partner because I want to get into the business. And I met her and we just kind of clicked from there.
So from concept to implementation, how long did it take to get PNKElephant up and running?
Vick: A little less than a year. When I met her and we were doing business. I just kept riding by [the location] and was like, it’s a store here. I’m going to call and see how much it is. I called and it wasn’t outrageous. And I was like, come on, let’s do this. She was a little nervous because she was working but she was finally like, alright I’m going to do it. And we opened up. I think that was like March we found a building. And we opened up June 1st .
The endearing nature of being on the come up, can really inspire creative business ideas. Harlem based designer, Nneka Green-Ingram is a city bus driver who ingeniously started a accessory fashion line out of a former snack truck. “Location is everything,” the 36-year-old told DNAinfo.
Located on 125th Street between Lenox Avenue and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, she sold metal shelves that held chips in the truck to finance a total renovation. Now, the vehicle holds her precious designs. From necklaces to eyeglasses, hand bags and rings all her pieces have an eclectic, Afrocentric feel ranging in price from $5 to $35.
Read more on StyleBlazer.com.
Malaysia Pargo is one of the stars of Basketball Wives LA, a mom of three (including a set of two-year-old twins), and the founder of jewelry company Three Beats. Though she could’ve been a stay-at-home mom, she decided that she needed to set an example for her children, both the boys and the girl.
“[W]hen my son was about four, he came and said to me, ‘Daddy goes to work everyday. Where’s your job at?’ I told him that ‘Mommy’s job is taking care of you,’ but he wasn’t really feeling that. It was at that point that I really thought about the need to show my kids all the facets of a woman beyond just mom, even though that is a very admirable and challenging role in itself,” she tells Black Enterprise.
Pargo discusses her role in designing the jewelry and the affect that the show has on her business. “It’s pretty much a free commercial,” she says.
To read more, click to BlackEnterprise.com.
I enjoy a good deal just like the next woman on a budget, but after living and learning the hard way I’ve come to accept that there are just some types of items where going cheap is just not going to get it. A lot of people have grown accustomed to asking for the generic versions of prescription medications at the pharmacy or comparing the ingredient list on a bottle of NyQuil and the drug store’s Nite Time, but going the bootleg, discount, get it for the low-low route on a lot of other things will end up costing you a whole more than you thought you saved. Think it won’t? Check out this list of products it’s better to just spend the extra cash on.
Just like the inspirations behind Jade Gedeon’s handmade We Dream in Colour jewelry line, getting the business in gear came together on a whim. What started out as school project quickly blossomed into an accessories operation that at times became too much to handle. Graduating from Pratt Institute in 2004, Gedeon’s studies in industrial design turned out to be more beneficial than expected.
“I made some horrible stuff,” Gedeon said searching to remember the first piece of jewelry she ever created. “I used a lot of recycled weird material and Shrinky Dink plastic kits; they were these huge sheets that you could put in the oven and they would shrink down three-fourths the size. I did lots of illustrations on plastic. [My first pieces of jewelry] were almost like wearing drawings.”
After finding her niche in natural, rustic styles, Gedeon soon began making jewelry — earrings, bracelets and necklaces for herself then perfecting pieces for friends and family. Teaming up with her roommate who designed jewelry using clay and glass, Gedeon officially launched a joint website in 2002.
“She was really the driving factor in turning it into a business. She said, ‘Let’s put up a website and try to push [our lines] a little bit more,’” said Gedeon.
“It’s grown in a very organic way. Until recently I had never looked for press or stories. Things have just come to me in a manageable form and I took it from there,” she continues.
Shauna Neely is the founder of Shauna Neely Jewelry, an accessories line that caters to everyday fashionistas and a growing list of celebrity clientele that include Chris and Adrienne Bosh, the Williams sisters, Alicia Keys, Beyonce and more. A proud owner of one of Neely’s pieces once called her an “alchemist” because of her ability to mold raw material into works of art.
When she’s not designing her one-of-a-kind jewelry, Shauna can be found running across town to a meeting, brokering new partnership deals in New York’s diamond district, dining with friends and/or doting on her lovely daughter.
And with such a hectic schedule, it’s no surprise that Shauna likes to keep her beauty and fashion routine simple and chic with a steady rotation of staple items and products that will never go out of style.
Here, Shauna Neely lists her top five summer essentials:
MEET Taja Lindley, the founder of the organization, Colored Girls Hustle. At 27 years old, Lindley is not just the founder of her own organization, but a well-rounded Brooklyn-bred African-American female who practices as a visual artist, performer, full-spectrum doula and as a reproductive justice activist. Combining her many passions and talents into one, Lindley uses Colored Girls Hustle as her own ultimate “hustle,” emphasizing talent and the arts to celebrate the beauty and art of women of color.
MN: You just recently co-hosted an event, along with HelloBeautiful, where you launched your inaugural handmade accessories line, Luminary Sol, for Colored Girls Hustle. What brought on this collaboration?
TL: Kelly Thomas, the founder of HelloBeautiful, is a good friend and fellow entrepreneurial artist who I respect and adore. We decided to support one another and publicize our venture through a collaborative event called the “Beautiful Hustle” Sip and See Extravaganza. The event featured a fashion show, trunk sale, and live percussion, and a dance party followed. It was a success! So many of our friends and supporters came out to buy products, network and brought positive energy and feedback to share with us. The launch event was so much fun and we decided to host monthly “Beautiful Hustle” parties this summer.
MN: Tell us more about your organization, Colored Girls Hustle, and what type of service you focus on.
TL: Colored Girls Hustle is my hustle: it’s a space where I share my art and creativity to honor, celebrate and adorn the bodies and lives of women and girls, especially in communities of color. I focus on three main expressive elements:
Adornment: a daily meditation, adornment is a practice of decorating and praising our bodies. Colored Girls Hustle produces handmade accessories to inspire women and girls to admire and revere themselves.
Workshops: in groups large and small, Colored Girls Hustle facilitates creative arts workshops and trainings for youth and adults that cover topics of body exploration, health and wellness, and self-image. Colored Girls Hustle also offers Self-Love Parties: intimate, sex-positive gatherings where participants work on a creative project that will celebrate/honor/adorn their bodies and affirm their sexual expression.
One-on-One Creative Exploration Sessions: Colored Girls Hustle works with women and girls one-on-one to explore their own creative arts practice. Engaging in these sessions help women and girls discover their artistic interests and talents, or can help them navigate healing and transformation.
“I know there are women who don’t necessarily want to wear the Basketball Wives earrings, because they’ve seen them on TV and on everybody else. Even though they’re fabulous, some people just want to make their own statement,” said Crystal Whalum, founder of online jewelry and accessory boutique STONEnyc.
With a mission that seeks to empower women to embrace a style that is uniquely theirs, Whalum spends her time scouting jewelry from independent designers that are above all, different. Showcasing jewelry and accessories of limited availability; STONEnyc’s specialty is statement pieces.
“I began to meet different designers and I’d see people on the street that would ask, ‘Where did you get that fabulous piece?’ A lot of the time I would go to indie markets and find designers,” said Whalum.
“That’s where I got the idea of featuring independent designers. Through research and taking my time everything came together. It took me a little over a year to get things together to launch.”
The Look of a Launch
Acting on a push, given by her husband, Whalum launched in 2010. Prior to STONEnyc she worked as a PR and marketing professional creating campaigns for the Food Network. The idea of opening a boutique, Whalum says, was something that was always in the back of her mind.
If you need to know anything about Nicole Richie, aside from the fact that Lionel Richie is her father, it’s that the girl can dress. Maybe that’s why she was picked to be part of the new NBC show, Fashion Star, which debuted last night. While making the media rounds to promote the show, Richie threw on some bright colors and gave us some fierce-ness all over NYC and L.A. Check out her outfits and tell us if the girl’s looks are steal-worthy, or if she should stop.
While hitting up the show “Extra” with host Mario Lopez on March 9 in L.A., Richie wore this short gold dress with a caftan-like neckline, an embroidered belt, and and some fierce, open-toe, snakeskin heels. The dress was cute and scandalous at the same time thanks to it being above-the-knee. Love the red lip, but the choppy hair? Not so much…Good work with the bangs though! Not too crazy about the look, but I wouldn’t be so quick to say stop…
You may think that Valentine’s Day is the day that lovers look forward, but it’s retailors who are rejoicing. According to Reuters, 59 percent of adults say they will celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, and the National Retail Federation estimates Americans will spend about $18 billion in celebration.
But where does the money go? The average guy will spend about $168 on the day, while women will most likely to spend half of that. The majority of people will buy a greeting card, candy and flowers. It’s no surprise that florists say Valentine’s Day is one of their biggest money drivers of the year–almost 200 million roses will be sold. Still, the floral industry can’t touch the sales made in jewelry.
“Our sales jump about 200 percent around Valentine’s Day, and — tough economic climate or not — they’ve grown in both quantity and average price over the past three years,” Josh Holland, the spokesman for Blue Nile online jewelry told Reuters.
He sees big sales for necklaces, earrings, diamond eternity rings and diamond studs, with some customers spending as much as $25,000. According to Holland, last year one person bought a $240,000 5.2 carat diamond set in platinum for his lucky Valentine.
Most people also spend their Valentine’s Day eating out. The restaurant industry makes about $3.6 billion for the night. Scott Jampol, the senior director of the reservation service OpenTable, tells Reuters that two-thirds of couples will spend more than $100 on dinner and about 10 percent will spend more than $200. Las Vegas, Miami and New York will see the most restaurant diners on the special day.
“To me, the best kind of Valentine’s gift is giving someone their favorite things, not going over the top with something extravagant that is impractical and they might not even like,” registered nurse J Lucy Boyd said to Reuters. She plans to buy her husband a $5 card and prepare a steak dinner that’ll run her about $25. In return, her husband will take her to lunch for her all-time favorite meal—Chinese food.
“It’s the little things, not the big ones, that make for a lasting happy relationship,” she said.
How much do you plan to spend on Valentine’s Day and how much do you hope your date spends on you?