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Pewter Dezigns

Nov 1, 2007
by Judi Perkins

Pewter Dezigns was born from co-owner Ann McNally's fascination with symbology. She and her husband, Richard, started the company as an opportunity for her to expand her research, which began with a school paper on Egyptian symbolism. "I kept coming across different pieces of jewelry that featured symbols. The more I looked at it, the more I thought it would be a good way to provide the different symbols in a medium that I could easily warehouse," said Ann.

Four years ago Pewter Dezigns began as a retail company. Their first market was eBay buyers, and eventually Ann and Richard branched into craft shows and art festivals to achieve better sales volume. But, it seemed every weekend they were somewhere other than home, which did not seem conducive to raising a family, so they went wholesale.

"Now we work mainly from one location. Our main source of advertising is wholesalecentral.com and WebWholesaler. Being on the internet has allowed us to stay closer to home with the family, and allow the family to be involved as well," said Ann. With the business that comes from their advertising and both online presences, Pewter Dezigns needs everyone involved in order to run smoothly. Having five children aged eight to nineteen, there is a job for everyone, from packaging to graphics and product photography, to updating the site.

Because Pewterdezigns.com is the catalog, keeping the site current is important. Presently it shows 150 products, but that number is always increasing as Ann creates new designs and new lines. "We may add a product a week for two or three weeks, and then add about fifty products when a new shipment comes in." An extensive line of earrings is in the works, as well as dangling pewter body jewelry. Although there are 95 pendants on the site now, the company carries about 250 designs.

By contrast, there are only six bracelet designs, although ten are available. "We are in the process of working on new designs for that line," Ann said. "We have about fifteen we should have after the first of the year." Ann said they had planned to have them finished by Christmas, but ran into some problems when their new, delicate design bent too easily when worn.

"We are all about quality. I want to make sure that whatever products we present to our customers, they are something that I personally would feel good about wearing, and that I feel I can stand behind. These designs are coming from my family, and I want them to reflect our values. I want my children to see that you have to have integrity in business."

For this same reason, one issue of paramount importance to Ann in choosing a producer for her creations, was their ability to certify that all products were nickel and lead free. "Some of the pendants that you get from suppliers have a high lead content, and that is not good, especially in light of all the problems that we are having lately with things coming out of China." She hastens to add that while some of her products come from overseas, none are from China.

Ann's attention to quality includes the site. Customers say it is simple and easy to navigate, but this has always been important to Anne. "One of the commitments I made early on is that a customer would never have to go more than three levels down to find the products. Once you get beyond three levels deep, people start to lose interest."

Another commitment Ann has made is to keep prices reasonable. Ann pointed out, "There are vendors that sell similar pendants for five or ten dollars wholesale, but we want our customers to make a decent profit, and they want their customers to come back. If they have repeat business, I have repeat business."

Buyers are primarily mom and pop shops, some of whom buy multiple design themes and some of whom buy based on the origin of the symbol. Shops with a religious or Wiccan focus buy designs that reflect the store's subject matter. Some resellers opt for individual packaging and the enclosed card explaining the symbol's meaning, still others find that unnecessary.

For resellers who want to test the products, there is a fifty piece sample pack. "We pull a random sampling of our products. We want customers to take a look at our products and see the quality." The assortment allows the reseller to see which designs they like and which designs sell best. Because there is a minimum 120 piece order, Ann does not want a reseller to have to order ten of an item, only to find they do not like it or it does not sell.

If part of the sample pack does not sell? "Our policy has always been if it is within thirty days, we will take it back. We do not do refunds on that, but we will exchange it for another product that is moving better."

The most important factor for resellers to know about Pewterdezigns.com is that to receive wholesale pricing, as well as opt-in to the newsletter, they must create an account. On the home page, in big bold letters, there is a directive to do exactly that. The visible pricing is retail, and Ann has it that way for a purpose. "We do that to ensure the integrity of the pricing for our wholesale customers. They have some protection from their customers seeing what they are actually paying for it."

For resellers such as eBayers who do not want to stock product, Pewter Dezigns drop ships. Ann said they can do custom designs, as long as it does not infringe on a trademark. "If someone wants a specific Egyptian symbol or a specific type of pendant, we can do that."

For more information, contact:

Ann McNally
Pewter Dezigns
762 Highlander Point Drive, #285
Floyd's Knobs, IN 47119
Tel.: 877-923-GIFT (4438)
Fax: 812-923-0718
Website: www.pewterdezigns.com

Topic: Company Profiles

Related Articles: pewter 

Article ID: 396

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