Rockville, Md.–based designer Lori Gadola of Kelim Jewelry Design has spent years vacationing in Thailand with her family. Early on, she fell in love with Thai culture, but over the course of her visits, she grew increasingly dismayed by the country’s thriving sex tourism industry.
So when Gadola met Alezandra Russell, the founder of the Thai nonprofit Urban Light Youth Center, which raises money and awareness for victims of human trafficking, the force behind the 15-year-old jewelry firm decided to help the cause. Kelim’s new Be the Light collection, which debuted at JCK Las Vegas in June, includes five matte-finished sterling SKUs featuring a star motif—the organization’s logo—and the tagline “Be the Light.”
Prices start at $56 retail. Kelim is donating 50 percent of wholesale profits to ULYC as well as providing gratis promotions, and would love to see retailers give, too, by selling the line and donating profits.
“Innocent children are being bought and sold for sex,” says Gadola, referring to U.S. State Department figures that estimate about half of the approximately 27 million slaves worldwide are younger than 18—and about 80 percent of those are forced or coerced into the sex trade.
To learn more, search for Urban Light Thailand on YouTube or check out urban-light.org. To further aid human traffic victims globally, learn more about the annual Capital City Ball (capitalcityball.org) held in Washington, D.C., which benefits three human trafficking–specific charities.
Bracelet in sterling with freshwater pearls, black onyx, and CZ; $499; Ti Sento Milano, Minneapolis; 786-763-2211; tisento-milano.com
Ti Sento Milano, a 10-year-old maker of sterling and 18k gold vermeil jewelry with pearls, onyx, Italian leather, and CZ, is taking its courtship of American retailers to a new level. After a successful test period last year (which garnered the brand upwards of 200 accounts), the Amsterdam-based firm—known for making European-style fashion jewelry ranging in retail price from $39 to $1,000—enlisted Fruchtman Marketing in Toledo, Ohio, to create and manage a digital co-op program for American retailers who carry the line.
Part one of Fruchtman’s plan includes a paid search campaign designed to locate potential customers, drive traffic to retailer websites, and raise brand awareness; a second initiative centers on Facebook advertising.
“Current statistics indicate 91 percent of searches use Facebook to locate businesses online,” says Shane O’Neill, director of digital and creative services at Fruchtman Marketing.
While past co-op programs have utilized traditional venues such as print, TV, and radio, Fruchtman believes online tools, with their powerful metrics, could boost Ti Sento Milano retailers’ business by capitalizing on the power of social media posts, custom content, promotions, and targeted messaging.
Ti Sento Milano has nearly 4,000 retail accounts in 40 countries.