JILZARAH Beach Day Collection

Gift Shop Plus Spring 2023
Pops of positivity: Jewelry filling niche in specialty gift shops By Julie McCallum

In a world that can feel large and impersonal, colorful accessories seem to bridge that gap in everyday life by sparking conversations among strangers and bringing pops of positivity to wardrobes everywhere. INK+ALLOY was created to do just that.

“We’re just out here doing our part to make the world a more colorful, happy place — one handmade accessory at a time,” said Emilie Stearns, marketing manager at INK+ALLOY.


INK+ALLOY Prism Earrings
INK+ALLOY Prism Earrings

“We’ve noticed that our customers reach for their INK+ALLOY statement pieces whether they’re dressing for brunch with friends on a Saturday morning or commanding attention in companywide meetings. We always say, from ‘conference calls to concert halls and everywhere in between,’ and that seems to really hit the nail on the head,” Stearns said.

INK+ALLOY is a female-founded accessory brand with a mission to empower women through everyday, modern pieces that celebrate connectivity and make a bold statement. It sponsors Commit2Change, an organization in India that supports the housing and education efforts of marginalized young girls in India. Five percent of proceeds from every purchase go back toward this cause.

Hair accessories are a must-have in boutiques. INK+ALLOY extended its hair accessory offerings from barrettes and headbands to also include claw clips and multipurpose hatbands that can also be worn as stretchy headbands. “They seem to be really popular at shows so far this season,” Stearns said.

People who love color are the common demoninator for JILZARAH’s broad range of customers. The company was founded by Jill Manzara after starting and selling the polymer clay bead business Viva Beads.

“In 2010, I sold my interest in Viva Beads to make room to pursue a greater vision: a premium brand fully focused on bringing a new depth of art and design to polymer clay jewelry,” Manzara said. From this, the company JILZARAH was born. She now co-owns the business with her son, Rafael Manzara.

The JILZARAH target customer loves colors, patterns and texture more than sparkle and shine. “She doesn’t follow the crowd — she’s confident and knows what she likes. She wants to accessorize with interesting materials and something that stands out from the norm,” Manzara said. Every piece of JILZARAH clay has been handmade so no two are exactly alike, she added.

They have recently begun designing specifically themed carded styles that include very detailed header cards and bead art.

“We like to tell stories and deep dive into the details, such as state, city, sentiment and spiritual themes. The possibilities are endless, and we have constant requests for more,” Manzara explained.

The best-selling destination items from JILZARAH are state bracelets. Each bracelet is attached to a header card that includes original artwork highlighting a multitude of locations within the state. The back side of the card displays 10 bead patterns that also relate to the theme of the state. Each bracelet includes a state-themed charm, as well.


Retailers will find no shortage of inspiration for their customers looking for unique jewelry. From bold pieces that make a statement to artisan-inspired chains and charms meant to be layered, this category can be customized to appeal to a variety of clientele. We’ve rounded up a selection of our favorites highlighting the trends for 2023.

Julie McCallum

Julie McCallum is editor-in-chief of Gift Shop Magazine. She is formerly the editor of Museums & More and has more than 25 years experience in publishing.

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Gift Shop Plus Spring 2023
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