Monday, January 26, 2009

north of the border

Just back from a road trip to Toronto, about a 3.5 hour trip for us. We had absolutely no wait at the Lewiston Bridge crossing and zipped into the downtown area on Sunday, where we went to the Convention Centre to check out the "By Hand" show.

The show was quite small, compared to the "One of a Kind" shows we have attended twice in Toronto, but everything was handcrafted, so that was a plus. We met several jewelry artists whose work we liked, and picked up literature from them all. This was strictly a scouting trip and I told myself I wasn't ordering from anyone. We had a second show to attend and I wanted to see what was there before making any decisions.

But first we went up to the Westin at the airport, our hotel of choice for the night. We got a great deal - one night, free parking (normally $14/day) and right down the street from our second show. Imagine my surprise and delight when the front desk clerk told me I had been randomly selected as the General Manager's "Guest of the Day" for our stay. We were upgraded to a 3-room suite on the top floor - big king bedroom, huge flat screen TV, living room with couch, coffee table, 4 chairs, another giant TV and a dining room that seats 6. The bathroom was snazzy, with a double-headed shower fixture. At turn down, we were left chocolate-covered strawberries and a bottle of wine. All of this for $135 plus the various Canadian taxes. How fun is that???

After the shock of being tagged Queen for a Day, we went over to the Mode Accessories show, where our good friend and very popular JOOLZ artist, Lisa Ridout, was exhibiting. Lisa had encouraged us to attend and we were glad we did. It was important for me to experience the different types of wholesale shows, to learn what works for me and what doesn't.

Apart from Lisa and only a couple of other artists, the accessories show wasn't for me. It's big, spread out throughout the Doubletree Hotel, and features jewelry, handbags, hats, scarves. etc. Very little of the merchandise is handmade, most of it is imported, and the quality of a lot of it is very sketchy. Many of the booth staff people were either totally pushy or totally ignored the shoppers, chatting among themselves. Not a good presentation and not how I like to do business.

After the show we took Lisa to dinner at Olio, a very nice restaurant featuring Mediterranean-flavored selections. Even tho we had a late reservation, our server was pleasant and attentive, and we all enjoyed our dinners. We finally said goodbye to Lisa around 11:45pm and returned to our lovely suite. Poor Lisa had worked the show all day, had to drive home, fall into bed and get up again this morning and do it all over again. We, meanwhile, slept in, left around 10am, stopped on the way home for hot chocolate, tea and muffins and had another quick border crossing.

All in all, a good trip north of the border - an unexpectedly luxurious hotel experience, freezing (13 degrees) but snow-free weather, easy border crossings, a good learning experience at the shows...and best of all, a nice visit with Lisa.

Monday, January 19, 2009

the american president

One of my all time favorite movies is The American President, starring Michael Douglas and Annette Bening. I love the story, the scenery, the costumes (and especially that killer dark blue evening gown Annette wears to the State Dinner) - just all of it. And it turns out that today it's featured on the blog, Hooked on Houses. Head over there to see shots from the movie and behind the scenes info about the movie and its spin off (another favorite), The West Wing.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

inauguration weekend pearls

As we watch the Inauguration Weekend festivities and take note of Michelle Obama's clothing choices for these very important public appearances, we'll be checking out her choices of joolz, too. Will we see big brooches? long, dangling earrings? pearls, pearls and more pearls?

It's probably too late in the game for Michelle to wear pearls from our collection here at JOOLZ, but it's not too late for you...

Freshwater and Tahitian pearls with 18K yellow gold beads by Jane Bohan

Neverending Necklace with freshwater pearls, gold-filled tubes

and sterling silver mesh by Anat Basanta

51" necklace of freshwater pearls, amethyst, malachite

and chalcedony by Judi McCormick

Monday, January 12, 2009

planning for the new year

Alrighty then...resolutions for the New Year:

  • bungee jump from a REALLY high bridge
  • eat sushi at least once a week
  • give up Tivo
  • give up orange juice
  • give up chocolate

For those of you who know me, I hope you're laughing with disbelief...cuz you're right, it ain't gonna happen! Just wanted to see if you were paying attention.

What is going to happen is that I am thinking about opening an online store with a selection of our wonderful JOOLZ jewelry. I have heard from so many customers and yet-to-be customers that they would like to be able to buy our joolz online. I've talked with my web guy and have a few more folks to consult, but I do think it's a strong possibility. I'd be interested to hear what thoughts you all might have.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

glittering glass

One of our most popular artists is Jane Barthelemy of Portland, Oregon. A retired opera diva who has fallen in love with Italian glass, Jane has an eye for both color and design. She then couples that eye with the craftsmanship of Venetian glass artists to create glittering glass beads. The beads are made under Jane's direction in Italy, shipped to her studio in Portland and then incoporated into necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

Our customers find Jane's work to be colorful, luminous and very wearable, for any season. Have a look at several pieces we currently have available:

Lights of Venice, 18" Extravagant necklace

Scarlet Leopard, 18" necklace

Rigoletto, 18" necklace