Thursday, May 02, 2002

Newport woman's jewelry finds Hollywood audience




By Joy Kraft
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Thanks to the Web-surfing of movie and music star Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Richmond of Newport has gone Hollywood.

        At least her handmade hair jewelry has.

[photo] Designer Jessica Richmond with some of the jewelry she makes in her Newport studio
(Glenn Hartong photo)
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        Fifty of Ms. Richmond's creations will be included in the gift bags given to performers at the 50th anniversary show for Dick Clark's American Bandstand, 8-10 p.m., Friday on ABC.

        Seems that “J.Lo” stumbled across Ms. Richmond's Web site — Naugi.com (www.naugi.com; 877-796-2844) — and took a shine to her line of jeweled hair clips, brooches, earrings, bracelets and necklaces. During one of the American Bandstand show's production meetings, Ms. Lopez's manager suggested Ms. Richmond's creations be included in the bags.

        Dana Effren of Hollywood Connections, which produces the gift bags for many of the red-carpet shows, called Ms. Richmond a few weeks ago.

        “It checked out, so we decided to do it,” says the 1996 Cincinnati Art Academy graduate who grew up in the Milford-Loveland area. She crafted and shipped 50 pieces with the help of her boyfriend, David Coleman, who also designed her Web site.

        “We picked decorative pieces geared toward evening wear” — bobby pins, combs and headbands. “I decorated them with lots of Swarovski crystals, tried to make them fun and playful, something you would really wear,” Ms. Richmond says.

[photo] Ms. Richmond shows a bobby pin she made.
        “We put a lot of time in packaging, making sure our name was well represented on each piece,” she says.

        Ms. Richmond, 27, had quit her job with a Cincinnati bridal accessory designer in 1999 to work full time on her real love — abstract painting “based on color and form.”

        But soon, she says, “I realized I needed to make some money. So I started designing jewelry to wear myself — necklaces and bracelets, mostly with glass beads and Swarovski crystals.

        “People started asking me where I got them, and I began selling” — enough to warrant a Web site start-up in May 2001.

        “When I was creating the concept of the Web site, I decided to make it an inclusive bridal Web site with necklaces, tiaras, hand jewelry, combs and veils.”

        Work has progressed “very nicely” — to the point she works full time filling orders from the site. Each piece is started by soldering the floral components — leaves and flowers — to a metal frame, then sending them out for plating and adding crystals as the last step.

        Ms. Richmond is thrilled at being discovered, but success has brought back her old problem.

        “Now, I'm just recovering,” from filling the special order, she says, She's still trying to carve out some painting time.

       



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