HOPKINTON WOMEN TEAM UP FOR GIFT-GIVING BUSINESS
By Helen Krispien
Fri May 22, 2009, 10:17 AM EDT
HOPKINTON - It did not take very much coaxing for two Hopkinton businesswomen and acquaintances, Trish Kozub of iDazz jewelry and Karen O'Neil of FrumUs - a group gift collection link, to team up together and make gift giving much more fun and easy.
A fan of iDazz jewelry, O'Neil recently became familiar with Tricia's entrepreneurial husband, Mike, and began conferring on different potential business collaboration opportunities. This one seemed like a win-win, she said.
"By offering her customers a chance to easily collect money to buy an iDazz creation, Trish provides a service to her customers and it helps her customers to the Website," said O'Neil.
The iDazz jewelry collection is very popular these days and is the brainchild of Kozub, who has a degree in mechanical engineering and, she says, this background helps her with some of her jewelry designs.
"My family was living in La Jolla, California in 2000," she said. "I had a teenager coming to visit us and I thought it would be fun to take her to a local bead store…On that day I designed my first piece of jewelry and I became instantly addicted."
She added, "I went there every day for four months. By the end of four months and our return to Hopkinton, I had all my Christmas presents made for friends and family. I also had a lot of goodies for me. I started wearing all my creations and people would ask where I got them. When I told them I made it, they asked if I could make one for them."
As a result of an invitation to present her jewelry at a house party, she started to build a clientele, and has a very large database of customers that she will create custom pieces especially for them. But now, instead of house parties, she sets her sights on artisan markets, outside open markets, craft shows, and corporate shows.
All that 'dazz': Hopkinton company sparkles with home and Internet sales of jewelry
By Bob Tremblay / News Business Writer
HOPKINTON -- For jewelry designer Trish Kozub, what began as a pastime turned into a passion that turned into a business that now turns a pretty profit.
In a metamorphosis that would shame a butterfly, Kozub has transformed a hobby into a business that annually sells more than 1,000 pieces of homemade, custom-designed jewelry from homes and, since June, on the Internet.
Her company, iDazz, as in "I dazzle," has been doing just that to its clientele with its wide array of baubles, bangles and beads ever since its opening in 2000. Customers now number more than 1,500 and business has experienced double-digit growth every year, she says.
What they come for are Kozub's creative designs and quality materials.
"What people comment on is they like my color combinations," says Kozub. "They also love the clasps I use. I don't spare any money when I buy clasps. To me, that's what makes the piece."
Customer service is a key component as well. "I have a policy that if you lose an earring, I'll replace it free of charge," says Kozub. "I'll re-string items -- make them bigger or smaller -- free of charge. If anything goes wrong, I'm there to take care of it. I stand behind the product 100 percent. It should last for a long, long time."
Kozub says she's never had to advertise her business. Home parties, the Internet and particularly word of mouth do the trick. For that reason, she has adopted a sales philosophy where simply selling a piece of jewelry to a client isn't enough. Selling the right piece of jewelry is.
"I don't mislead people," she says. "If someone puts something on and I don't think it's the right color for them, I'll be very honest.... My business grows because people wear my jewelry. The last thing I want for them to do is buy something that doesn't look good on them, that they're not going to wear. They're going to get home, look in the mirror and realize it isn't working. It's going to sit in a jewelry box. People aren't going to see it and your business doesn't grow that way."
The origins of iDazz began when Kozub and her family moved from Hopkinton to La Jolla, Calif., in January 2000. She went to a beads store there and got to know the manager who taught her how to make jewelry.
"It became an addiction," says Kozub, describing her foray into jewelry making. "I just couldn't stop. That was four years ago, and I'm still beading every day. I rarely stop."
When her family returned to Hopkinton six months later, Kozub started wearing the jewelry she had made in California. She also started to receive compliments about it. "People kept asking me, 'Where did you get that?' And when I said I made it, they'd ask, 'Can you make one for me?' And they kept asking, and I thought, 'Well, maybe I'll do just a little open house.' I made a bunch of things and invited 100 friends and I sold everything I made. So I thought I'd do another one and it just kept growing. Another person said, 'Can you do a home party in my house?' It grew that way."
While Kozub still does home parties, she sees the Internet as a tool to further boost the company's sales. "We started iDazz.com because it was getting hard to keep up with the demand of the home parties. I was doing about one a week," she says. "Also, a lot of my customers who had moved to other parts of the country were asking me to send them things. This (Web site) gives more access to more people. To order online is another dimension."
iDazz.com includes such features as HusbandAlert, where wives fill out a wish list, which is sent to their husbands who then order from the list; iDazz Zoom, where potential customers get a very close picture of the jewelry for sale; and Virtual House Parties, where interested individuals choose and buy a package of items, host their own home show and receive a percentage of the sales.
With the Web site, potential clients can buy iDazz jewelry without booking an appointment for a party. Kozub credits her husband, Mike, for the Internet push.
What iDazz offers are watches, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rosary beads, cross necklaces, ankle bracelets and rings. Materials include sterling silver, abalone shells, freshwater pearls, rubies, sapphires and hand-blown glass beads. Kozub acquires these at gem shows, over the Internet and from vendors and artisans.
One of iDazz' hottest items is its mother's bracelet. It includes the names of the owner's children in sterling silver letters with up to five strands possible. The bracelet also contains Swarovski crystals and can be made with 14-karat gold fill. Kozub wears one herself, showcasing the names of her children -- Caroline, Michael and Andrew, aka Drew, aka Drewsie.
Prices range from $18 for earrings to $158 for a four-strand mother's bracelet. The average cost for iDazz jewelry is $68.
For Kozub, iDazz represents an ideal situation. She can operate a business and remain a stay-at-home mom. A mechanical engineer who graduated first in her class at Union College, she worked as a sales engineer at IBM before launching her career as a mom.
"I find this very relaxing," she says of the creative process. "When I buy my raw materials, I don't have any preconceived notion of what I'm going to make. I'll like the ure and the color. Then I'll come home and spread it all out on the table and just start playing around with combinations. I love seeing things together with different ures.
"As a stay-at-home mom, I tend to wear black turtlenecks and jeans or khaki shorts and a white top so this jewelry you can wear as your stay-at-home uniform and put on a fun necklace or bracelet to feel updated. A lot of people in the working world wear it, too. It goes from very casual to very dressy."
Kozub describes the jewelry as "sassy, fun and affordable."
For the the future, in addition to solidifying its Internet presence, iDazz is in the process of adding to its staff of one.
"I'm training two people right now in the hopes of having more in 2004," she says. "I'd like to start some manufacturing by teaching others to put the jewelry together based on my designs. They can take the materials home and work there."
Consider it just another example of iDazz spreading its wings.
The company holds its fourth open house at Hopkinton Country Club, 204 Saddle Hill Road, Dec. 5 and 6 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Owner and founder: Trish Kozub
Company background: Based in Hopkinton, iDazz designs, creates and sells handmade jewelry. Its Web site is www.idazz.com.
Local mother finds time to dazzle
Wednesday, November 26
In early 2000 Trish Kozub of Hopkinton had no idea that agreeing to move her family to La Lolla, California would lead her into a double life.
Yet, today the mother of three is a jewelry maven, designing custom jewelry under the iDazz(tm) label for clients across Eastern Massachusetts and, increasingly across the US.
The company offers custom creations including watches, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, anklets and pendants crafted from sterling silver, fresh water pearls, Swarovski crystal, Lampwork glass beads and semi-precious stones.
In January 2000 Trish reluctantly agreed to her husband's plan to move to LaJolla but only on the condition they not sell their Hopkinton home of almost 10 years.
In La Jolla Trish quickly adjusted to every-day sun and 70 degree weather. Between daily trips to the beach with her children, golf, and frequent visits to LegoLand, Seaworld, and the San Diego Zoo, Trish managed to spend increasing amounts of time in the local bead store.
When visiting family and friends asked where she bought the creations she was wearing, they were floored to learn Trish made them herself. Soon Trish was giving jewelry as gifts. Not long after, they were offering to pay for the items.
Six months later the internet bubble burst and so did the Kozub's La Jolla "vacation". Back home in Massachusetts, Trish found it near impossible to say no to requests for more "creations".
By fall of 2000, her business had grown by word of mouth and ever-increasing home parties all over eastern Massachusetts.
As customers moved to other parts of the country, they brought Tricia's creations with them. Trish's products were moving to Tampa, Chicago, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, San Francisco and countless other communities.
Soon, demand was so high, she and her husband turned to the internet to help keep up. They named their new Website iDazz.com.
The site allows people across the country to host "jewelry parties" where women browse the Website for jewelry and place their orders online.