Regardless of what the
nation sees in a reality show based out of New Jersey, George Press and his
wife, Cheryl, from George Press Jewelers of Livingston, N.J., discovered the
charms of their home state with their recent “New Jersey Has Charm” design
contest. This alone warrants Retail Thursday’s Retailer Spotlight honors, but
the couple also deserves recognition for hosting a contest that promotes state
pride and environmental awareness.
The “New Jersey Has Charm”
design contest, open from March 1 to 28, invited participants to submit charm
designs demonstrating a source of New Jersey pride that could realistically be incorporated
into a charm design and readily made into a piece of jewelry.
Roughly 50 entries were
submitted. Each paid tribute to a wide range of state symbols, from New
Jersey’s famed beaches and boardwalks, to the agriculture that gives the Garden
State its lush name.
But it was New Jersey’s state
flower, the violet, that featured in the winning design by Teaneck, N.J.-based Peiran
Xu, who is 20 and just completed her freshman year at Fairleigh Dickinson University. George, the
store’s president and head designer, fashioned the piece in sterling silver,
using an amethyst surrounded by diamond accents for the violet in its center.
In addition to having her charm made into actual jewelry, Xu also received a
$150 gift certificate, which she immediately used to buy a piece of jewelry for
George Press and his wife
Cheryl pose with charm design contest winner Peiran Xu of Teaneck, N.J.
As the CFO and director of marketing,
Cheryl was pleased with the results of the contest, which was mostly promoted
on Facebook. “We even gained 100 new fans,” she says.
When Xu was presented with
the finished charm, she brought in her classmates and the professor from one of
her college classes. “She made our charm design contest a class project at
school,” says Cheryl. “Classmates researched to determine if previous state
charms had been designed and looked for state-specific design elements. Two of
her classmates submitted top designs.”
Peiran Xu’s charm within a
charm violet flower design won the “New Jersey Has Charm” contest.
Cheryl and George are hoping
to host a second charm design contest next year in the same time frame. But for
the 2012 event, they’d like to incorporate environmental awareness, jewelry
restoration, and cause marketing dynamics by hosting it near or on Earth Day
(April 22), with proceeds from the sale of reproductions of the winning charm to
benefit The Land Conservancy of New Jersey.