Arizona and California women are prone to wear more elaborate jewelry during the day than their Midwestern and Eastern state counterparts.
That simple marketing observation by Arline Marie Allen, a 24-year-old jewelry maker from Mesa, is one of the motivating factors behind her new and rapidlygrowing, home-based company, Lotti Dot Designs.
“Creating elaborate jewelry, especially by using lampwork beads and Swarovski crystals, is the secret of our success,” said Allen, whose one year-old company is not only accessible on the Internet but also whose works are being sold in five Valley retail outlets as well as in Texas.
“Elaborate jewelry is popular in the Valley,” said Allen.
Allen, a native of San Antonio, Texas, creates her jewelry in collaboration with her sister, Adriana, 30, who makes lampwork beads and then ships them to her sister in Mesa.
Lampwork beads are made by hand by winding molten glass around a steel rod that has been coated with a thin clay substance. Each bead is unique.
Allen combines the beads with Swarovski crystals to make necklaces, earrings, bracelets and pendants as well as other custom jewelry that range in price from $45 to $225.
Swarovski crystals, originally made in Austria dating back to the late 1800s, are relatively expensive and popular for elaborate pieces.
Allen met her husband, Adam, a Mesa native, three years ago while attending the University of Phoenix. She is working toward a degree in electronic commerce at the university.
Besides making and selling jewelry, preparing for final exams and keeping house, Allen and her husband have another point-offocus in their busy lives — their son, Austin, 11 months.
Allen learned her jewelry making skills while working with her sister in San Antonio.
“I didn’t wear jewelry in high school,” said Allen, who ran track, cross-country and was a Winston Churchill High School cheerleader in San Antonio.
“But I did a lot of research and discovered that women in New York, for example, tend to wear lesselaborate jewelry during the day than women in Arizona, California or Southwestern states.”
In Arizona, sterling silver and flashy crystals are popular, Allen said. Lampwork beads make the jewelry even more elaborate, she said.
With a Web designer’s help, Allen opened an Internet Web site and then began distributing to Valley boutiques.
In less than a year, at least five retail stores, including two in Scottsdale, are selling Allen’s original jewelry and she is expanding the number of outlets in the Valley, state-wide and in both Texas and California.
Eventually, Allen hopes to go international.