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Best of the Best: Jewelry For The Troops



[h3]Exeter Jewelers, Exeter, NH[/h3]

Best of the Best logo[dropcap cap=M]ario and Eileen Ponte own the 27-year-old Exeter Jewelers in a small affluent coastal town in New Hampshire. Mario’s roots led them to specialize in Italian jewelry five years ago, and now the store represents about 40 designers.[/dropcap]

[componentheading]The Idea[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Far-reaching support[/contentheading]

Best of the Best: Jewelry for the Troops

While Exeter Jewelers was known for taking on causes in the immediate area, the Pontes wanted to do something a little more far-reaching, something that would show their support for U.S. troops in Iraq.  


Best of the Best: Jewelry for the Troops“I come from a military family, and supporting our troops is something very important to me,” Eileen says. Two years ago, she approached a local jewelry designer, Cathi Remington, who owned Bead Creative in Hampton, NH, and who is a former U.S. Marine. The pair came up with the idea of sterling silver and Swarovski crystal-bead jewelry that would benefit the troops. The result was Soldier’s Hug Jewelry — bracelets, necklaces and earrings whose purchase price included a 10 percent donation from Exeter and a 10 percent donation from Remington to the Fallen Patriot Fund. The organization was established by billionaire Mark Cuban to help families of U.S. military personnel who were killed or seriously wounded in the war in Iraq. “These people are fighting over there for us, and we can’t forget what they’re doing,” Eileen says. “This is a great way for all of us to give back by indirectly hugging a soldier.”


[contentheading]20K Pieces Produced[/contentheading]

“The concept is commendable as well as very clear and simple,” Eileen says. Designer Remington makes most pieces to order during the evening hours. Beads come in 21 colors and can feature any combination, although the patriot model is perhaps the most emblematic of the cause, with its red, clear and blue crystals. Prices for the pieces range from $50 for the earrings to $150 for the bracelet and $275 for the necklace. Each necklace and bracelet has a heart-shaped toggle clasp. Eileen says sales of the bracelet through the store’s website ( have taken off and have come from all around the world. Remington has so far produced more than 20,000 pieces of the jewelry.


[contentheading]20% Total Donated[/contentheading]


Soldier’s Hug Jewelry has attracted its share of publicity, but Eileen says it’s mainly about “helping those military families who have lost loved ones while serving our country in the Iraq War.” It has certainly had its benefits to the business as well, though. “It’s generated a lot of business buzz,” Eileen says. Soldier’s Hug bracelets have been purchased by such notables as the St. Louis Rams NFL team and musician Bono of U2. The jewelry has made good business sense, Eileen says, but “to me, this was something that’s just more far-reaching than our little area.”  — RALF KIRCHER

[componentheading]Try It Yourself[/componentheading]

It doesn’t have to be expensive. (See how popular those rubber wristbands are?)  

2. The style should be distinctive and cohesive throughout the line. 

3. Offer customization of each piece. Soldier’s Hug bracelets are made to order.  

4. Allow ordering on your website.

[span class=note]This story is from the November 2007 edition of INSTORE[/span]




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