Tiffany Schwartz-Weidman is like most women: She loves jewelry -- costume jewelry to be exact. A few years ago, she saw some cute cell phone charms on the Internet and a light bulb went off in her head. After searching for a manufacturer to help her out, she started up her home-based business in Texas -- Trinkies -- which specialized in cell phone charms, straps and antenna ring charms. In other words, accessories for your mobile phone.
While Schwartz-Weidman, 37, doesn't physically make the cell phone jewelry herself, she does create the designs and sells the finished products via the Internet and local craft shows. She recently took her time from her busy schedule as a work-at-home mom of six children to chat with LoveToKnow Cell Phones about Trinkies.
A Gem of an Idea
How did you get started making cell phone jewelry or cell phone charms?
"I saw some online and thought they were the cutest things. I've always been more on the tomboy side so, I thought if I thought they were cute, others would surely love them. It took several months and I was able to find a factory to make them for me."
Do you make any other kind of jewelry?
"Not at the time."
What type of jewelry-making technique do you use?
"Sadly, I don't make them. I get the factory to do that. I just send in designs and they will make me whatever it is that I like."
How long have you been doing this?
"Since April of 2005, close to three years."
What types of beads, gems, wires, etc. do you use?
"I always request crystal as it "sparkles better than glass."
It's What Women Want
Women are the targeted buyers of cell phone charms, and according to Schwartz-Weidman, will change these accessories as often as they change handbags or shoes.What are your biggest sellers? "Palm trees, kitty cats and recently, the rubber ducks are topping the chart."
Do your styles of jewelry change as phone styles change?
"Yes, I started out with only antenna rings but after the phones like the Motorola Razr came out, I added the dangle phone charms to our line."
Why do you think cell phone jewelry is popular?
"I think it's a way to personalize your phone. A little bit of fashion and if you have many of the same phones in your home due to having the same plan, then a Trinkies would serve to tell them apart. On top of that, they sparkle and I've had dozen of customers tell me how they are so cute, they just make you happy."
I know this is popular among women, but do men ever order any certain style?
"I have never had a man order any. The men I have talked to about the charms said they didn't care how "manly" I made them that they couldn't see putting them on there phones so I won't be doing anything for them I guess."
'''Do customers change charms to match their purses or shoes?"
"Yes, and not only do they change them based on handbags, they change them according to their mood."
The Internet: The Number One Marketplace for Moms
Where do you sell your jewelry? "Ninety percent online, the other 10 percent would be from craft fairs or local word of mouth."
Do people buy more than one kind of charm?
"Yes, Trinkies has many repeat customers."
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
"Trinkies has been a great business for me. I'm a work-at-home mom, and it's allowed me to be here for my children. My children have, in my belief, also got the benefit of seeing how a business works. I always wanted to be a stay at home mom but with Trinkies I'm over the top happy. I have done and accomplished more then I ever thought I would. I'm also grateful for my friends and family that help me out with Trinkies and take up the slack when I'm in mommy mode. They have been an awesome support system."