New WJA-PA chapter makes donation and will host events at jewelry show

Realizing the plight of disadvantaged women, five businesswomen in Chester County, Pa., spearheaded a non-profit group in 1997 in response to the “Welfare to Work” initiative. The result, “Wings for Success,” provides appropriate clothing for job interviews and new jobs, wardrobe guidance, confidence-building workshops, and mentoring programs for clients referred by social service agencies.

To help accessorize Wings’ clients (upwards of 300), the new Pennsylvania chapter of the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA-PA) collected close to 100 pieces of sterling silver and 14k-gold jewelry and watches in the first of an ongoing series of community service projects that it has dubbed “Success-ories.” WJA-PA will make its presentation to Wings executive director Laurie Todd during its first meet and greet Sept. 21, 11:30 a.m. at the Pennsylvania Jewelers Business Expo, Radisson Hotel Valley Forge in King of Prussia.

“Jewelry is the finishing touch to any wardrobe,” says Laurel Di Felice, WJA-PA vice president and committee chair for “Success-ories.” “The right outfit and jewelry can make a woman feel special. It’s an extra vote of confidence for these women who are trying to enter the workforce.”

According to Todd, Wings for Success was created to help local women, who’ve had their “wings broken,” get their lives back (www.wingsforsuccess.org).

“This donation is fantastic,” Todd says. “We rarely get the consistence and verity of jewelry at any time. Our clients — most of whom have an annual income of less than $10,000 as single heads of household with three-plus children—are working on small budgets and jewelry is a luxury. But they’re trying to blend in the business world and having jewelry allows them to feel like they belong.”

Di Felice will continue to accept donations throughout the year for similar community service projects statewide (contact 610-866-4557 or laurel@jstwebs.com).

WJA-PA is hosting a cocktail reception that night at 5 p.m., featuring keynote speaker Hedda Schupak, editorial director of JCK International Publishing Group, who will discuss the importance of societal trends and their impact on jewelry design and sales, and how jewelers can forecast trends that will help them stay ahead of the curve.

The chapter is also sponsoring educational presentations at the Expo geared to help jewelers sell more gemstones, improve their performance at the bench, and protect the jewelry, branding, and marketing they create. Stuller of Lafayette, LA will discuss gem communication in a demonstration of its software system Gemewizard, as well as gem sales tools including its Red Box and Black Box programs. Rofin-Baasel, a company with 25 years experience in laser technology, will demonstrate how laser welding has revolutionized the way jewelers are performing repair, restoration, and fabrication processes in their shops, demonstrating the sixth generation of its StarWeld. And, the law firm of Ballard Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll, Philadelphia, will share “Did You Knows” regarding copyrights, trademarks, patents, and laws of trade dress.

For more information about the WJA-PA chapter contact Gena Alulis (800-765-7111 / 610-337-9292 or superfitinc@aol.com, or PR Chairman Deborah Yonick at 717-227-9823 or daycopy@blazenet.net).