Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Years Sale from Chic Gems Designer Jewelry

Chic Gems New Year's Jewelry Sale
from Sarah Radford-Chic Gems Jewelry

Enjoy 40% off all Jewelry at Chic Gems Online!

Use Coupon Code "NewYear" at checkout

Sale includes all jewelry, take an additional 40% off all sale merchandise.

Bonus 1: $15 Gift Certificate to Chic Gems with any purchase

Bonus 2: Free matching earrings with any necklace purchase

Bonus 3: Be entered to win a $100 Gift Certificate to Chic Gems with any purchase over $50.

Offer valid only at Chic Gems Online or by phone at 888.801.8265

Use Coupon Code "NewYear" for 40% off, until January 2, 2009 at midnight EST.

Offer cannot be combined with other offers, not valid at independent boutiques that carry Chic Gems, no cash value, not valid on gift certificates.

Happy New Year!


Sarah Radford


Chic Gems, etc.

Designer Jewelry for Professional Women

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Make a Statement with these Stone Pendant Necklaces by Chic Gems Jewelry

Chic Gems Model wearing Black Onyx Wavy Statement Pendant

Click here to buy this Pendant Necklace now

Chic Gems Black Onyx Statement Pendant Necklace
Click here to buy this Pendant Necklace now

Stand out in any crowd with this chic statement pendant necklace by

Chic Gems, etc. Jewelry.

Wear these stylish gems at work or out on the town.

This necklace is carefully handcrafted by Chicago designer, Sarah Radford.

The chain is sterling plated and approximately 22 inches in length. Easily adjustable.

Statement pendant Necklace also available in these stones:

Cherry Quartz
Rose Quartz
Clear Quartz
Lodon Blue Quartz
Citrine Quartz

Use coupon code "blog" during checkout to receive 25% off all gems at ChicGemsEtc

All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Chic Gems, etc.
Designer Jewelry for Professional Women

Monday, December 15, 2008

Meet Tami from TamTam Design Studios, Review by Sarah of Chic Gems

Click here to visit Tam Tam Design Online

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Tami Rasmussen of Tam Tam Designs.
She is an amazing woman and I wanted to share her Entrepreneurial Story:
From Hallmark Cards Designer to Entrepreneur

-From the Desk of TamTam-
Background information/How TamTam Started:

I grew up in Chicago and knew I wanted to be a greeting card designer in elementary school.
I set my sights high on landing my dream job at Hallmark Cards while in school and moved to Kansas City 3 months after my college graduation. I designed Boxed Christmas Cards at Hallmark - which was so perfect since it's still my most favorite occasion to design for!
Eventually I got the itch and the never-stop-moving-and-growing side of me was begging for a new adventure. So what's a girl to do? This one picked up and moved to Dallas, Texas. I spent the next year in Texas and I can honestly say that after just 4 short months of being there I knew I wanted to: A. Move back to Chicago and B. Start my own greeting card company. TamTam Design Studio opened shop on Sept. 27th, 2008. I moved back to Chicago on May 14th, 2008. TamTam came home with me and the rest is history. I sure miss my Margarita's and 80 degree January's - but there really is no place like home! I have never been happier.

Why you started your biz/ About TamTam:

A greeting card to me represents one of the smallest, simplest pleasures in life. How exciting is it to open up the mailbox and find a cute little colored envelope inside with your name on it! That's what TamTam is all about! What's interesting to me is that when you send a card it's both an expression of feelings - to who you are sending it to - and it's also an expression of self- what have you decided to send? I wanted to create a line of cards that would help today's style conscious consumer not only their personal thoughts- but also be able to share their exceptional taste with one another, as well. My hope is that TamTam Greeting Cards always offer creative and imaginative solutions that do both!

Of course the real reason I started my own business is so that I could do everything my way! Haha, I'm only kidding. But what I did want to do was contribute to the American economy by producing and assembling only here in the States and to manufacture only the highest quality products utilizing only environmentally friendly materials and processes. Because of this - our papers are always at least 30% post-consumer recycled, we print using only soy-based inks - all in the U.S. of A! That is something that I am extremely proud of!

Challenges Faced:

I can honestly say that I have never worked so hard in my life! But again - I have also never been happier. That's not to shabby of a bad trade-off, in my opinion. Even if the hours don't get to me though, the business side of business for an artist - is umm... challenging to say the very least. I'm learning something new everyday though - somedays its about accounting, somedays it's about myself. I also struggle with living up to the expectation that I am creative 24/7.
I'm not! Shhhh.....

Overcoming those challenges:

One of my new secret passions is buying motivational posters! Self-help wall art- I suppose! Haha. My current favorites say "Home is Where the Art is" and "Keep Calm and Carry On." When I'm fried- I can just glance up and refocus. Other things I love to read: Sark, Desiderata, and Domino. Seriously, the combo is a killer motivational cocktail.

Another way to combat the "new business blues" is to surround yourself with those that share your passion and network, network, network. Your setting yourself up for success both financially and mentally if you can achieve these two things. The work/life balance is a little different when it's your own business - but remember your in charge and it's up to you to make it happen. The reward and satisfaction of that should far outweigh the obstacles you face. Even challenges are rewarding when you remember that you are doing what you want to do!

Final notes from Tami:

P.S. Please stop by our website at TamTamDesign and sign up for our mailing list in the top right corner of the home page, as well as check out the latest and greatest happening at TamTam on Our Studio Blog.
Now is the perfect time to stop by and check out our great Christmas and Holiday Designs - we sell them in set's of six that come in a cute ribbon tied wallet! What's more is that we are also available for all of your custom invitation design needs, babies, weddings, holiday soiree's - you name it! Feel free to email Tami directly, click here to email with any comment or needs!
We would love to hear from you!

P.S.S. A special thanks to Sarah and Chic Gems - for your support, kindness, and
encouragement since TamTam began!
xoxo, tam
All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for Professional Women

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jingle.Mingle.Shop! Chicago Shopping Event featuring Chic Gems Jewelry and Other Top Fashion Designers of Chicago

Holiday Shopping Event featuring Chicago's Top Designers and Boutiques!
Thursday, December 11th (4-10pm)
Germania108 West Germania Place
Chicago, IL 60610
(Just one block south of North & Clark in the Gold Coast)

Our spectacular holiday event features apparel, jewelry, accessories, stationery, children's items, "must-have" gift items, gourmet treats, accessories for the home, and many other specialty products from Chicago designers, artists and local boutiques.
Chicago's Top Designers include:
Brynn Capella Handbags
CC Bella Jewelry
Chic Gems, etc.
Juliet Jewelry
Kate Boggiano
Ladysmith Jewelry
Me Art
Objets d' Envy
Phizza'z Designs
Sew Darned Cute
Simple Treasure
Stylist, and more!
Shop the latest Holiday jewelry trends from Chic Gems, etc. Meet designer Sarah Radford.

All attendees can participate in our "enter to win" giveaways and silent auction benefiting The Joshua Center, a local women's homeless shelter. Light appetizers and cash bar available.
Shoppers can enjoy an open bar, appetizers, gift bag and other goodies.
Please join us in this exciting annual event!
All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for Professional Women

Crave Holiday Shopping Party in Chicago-Shop Chic Gems Jewelry

Shop Chic Gems Jewelry at the CRAVE party Tuesday December 9th in Chicago!
Crave party
Chicago Cultural Center
Sydney R Yates Gallery
78 E Washington Street
Chicago, IL 60602
Chicago's Get Glam and Green Gifting Shopping Event!
Crave Holiday Shopping Party!
Bring your girlfriends, mothers, sisters, daughters or work pals - or just bring yourself and grow a whole new network of friends at our CRAVE Connection Cafe
hosted by Step Up Women's Network , shehive & Alpha Women.

Shop Chic Gems Jewelry! We will be featured with Malabar Boutique.
Malabar Boutique features Chicago's top fashion designers including: Chic Gems, etc. Jewelry, Cyndi Chan, Vika Brown, Orlando Espinoza, Anna Fong, Claudia Kleiner, and more!
Your Crave party ticket includes:

The opportunity to shop locally with 40+ Chicago boutiques, designers, and spas.
1 year subscription to Time Out Chicago (a $19.99 value)
Complimentary Vitamin Water and Rain Organic Vodka Cocktails
Complimentary appetizers by Monogramme Events Catering
Complimentary photos in the CRAVE Photobooth Express
Eco-friendly reusable Yelp shopping tote (for the 1st 300 guests)
Complimentary gift wrapping and more...
All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for Professional Women

Monday, November 24, 2008

Don't miss Seeking, Review by Sarah of Chic Gems

Seeking Designers, the web's premier online fashion, beauty and style directory, was born to provide a more efficient way for designers to grow their businesses by connecting with press/media members, retail/wholesale buyers and online consumers.
For editors, reporters, bloggers, buyers, stylists, event planners, online shoppers, fashion enthusiasts or anyone looking for fresh products!

The Internet is bursting with design businesses, but most of them are difficult to find. Seeking helps internet users locate designer websites they otherwise might never find. We create a network of online showrooms that makes searching for fashion and style related products resourceful and fun. Seeking understands your need for a simple directory of the best designers from all over the world. You'll spend less time sorting through futile search-engine results, and more time discovering and celebrating the designers you've been searching for.
Register today and start connecting with designers directly, saving your favorites, and buying directly from our showrooms.
Let them know you were referred by Sarah-Chic Gems.
Need to perform a custom search? Visit the JournaList
For Designers:
Let Seeking market your products for you. We launch your showroom daily to 10,000+ design-hungry editors, reporters, bloggers, buyers, boutique/specialty retailers, stylists, event planners, online shoppers and fashion enthusiasts. You are left with more time each day to grow your business in other areas, and do what you do!
Designers find Seeking an affordable and trouble-free way to meet their marketing needs. As a member of our designer network, you'll find new accounts with qualified buyers from anywhere in the world, initiate press opportunities, inform our industry insiders of your newsworthy updates, and get your website the traffic it deserves.
You'll enjoy the freedom of maintaining your own profile information, product photos and seeker testimonials. We also guarantee you'll love cutting your marketing and overhead costs.
There is no contract to joining our website, you can come and go as you please. (But we are confident you will like it with us and want to stay!)
How we help designers:
The Daily Dish
Our Daily Dish email highlights products from our directory and is sent to our list of editors, press/media members, stylist, buyers, boutique owners and online shoppers. Each picture links directly to your online Seeking showroom so that those interested in your products can find out more information, purchase your product directly, or contact you and/or link to your website.
Designer Newsflash
We send out your newsworthy updates on our Designer Newsflash to our massive contact list of 10,000+ (including buyers and editors). Inform everyone of your company's trunk shows, sample sales, new product launches, website updates, press mentions, new accounts and more.
Press Opps
Press opportunities are delivered directly to your inbox. We receive product queries from editors, stylists, event planners, reporters, bloggers and the like...and pass them on to you. Approximately 200 Press Opps are sent each month to our designers.
We recently launched ecommerce and now you are able to sell directly from the site if you wish (this is an optional feature, you can choose to use us as simply a showroom). We do NOT take any percentage of your sale.
Traffic Control
You have visibility of traffic stats (to your showroom and your website) and are able to see who has favorited you. Get in touch and start establishing relationships with industry insiders.
The Inside Scoop
We post exclusive designer interviews on our blog, view the Daily Dish archives, submit a designer, read/write testimonials, get newsflashes, visit our press section, start discussions with fellow designers, plus more!

"Having a website isn't enough anymore. We help you get more traffic to your website, and more exposure to to help you become a more recognizable name. You do not need to be pushing your products, we do that for you. You simply need to keep current info and photos uploaded to your showroom."
~Sarah Johnson-founder of SeekingDesigners
All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for Professional Women

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shop Chic Gems Jewelry at the Modern Vintage Holiday Market in Chicago

Join us for the Modern Vintage Holiday Market featuring Chicago's finest designers.
This is the second annual shopping event from the producers behind the Chicago Antique Market and the Indie Designer Market which features handcrafted items
from more than 70 vendors.

Browse indie designer fashions from Chic Gems, etc., Lara Miller, Wounded Line, Simply Cashmere and others, plus jewelry, art, housewares, vintage linens, crystal goblets, fountain pens, ornaments, pet accessories and more. Includes a $10 shopping voucher and complimentary gift wrapping.

The festivities will begin Friday evening with a
Preview Shopping Benefit to benefit Chicago’s Anti-Cruelty Society
in honor of Humane Society Anniversary Day
Friday, November 21 from 5-9pm. (Cost to attend Friday: $40)
Open to the Public, Price to attend Saturday and Sunday is $10.
All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for Professional Women

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Glitter: a Holiday Shopping Event-Featuring Chic Gems Jewelry and other Top Chicago Designers

Glitter: A Holiday Shopping Event
Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington St. 2nd Floor Chicago, IL 60602

The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs is pleased to present
"Glitter: A Holiday Shopping Event"
Free and open to the public.

Discover the best gifts of the season when Chicago designers and boutiques take over the second floor of the Cultural Center for one day only!
Special holiday items, sales and original fashions from Chicago designers offer unique finds.
Chicago designers include:

Chic Gems, etc. Jewelry
Haji Couture Accessories
Brynn Capella Handbags
Heidi Hess
Pretty Afika
Diego Rocha
Malabar Chicago
And more - over 30 designers in all!
Free gift wrapping will also be provided at the event.
All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for Professional Women

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New featured Chic Gems, etc. Jewelry as Editor's Pick!

There's nothing like a princess-length pearl necklace to make you feel like a lady.
Chic Gems, etc. puts a modern spin on classic pearls with the Chic Pearl Necklace.
The Chic Pearl Necklace features gorgeous
16mm glass pearls,
silver rondelles and a silver flower toggle.

The princess length is 18"
but this necklace is available in other lengths and colors, too.

The Chic Pearl Necklace looks great with plunging necklines and more conservative cuts, as well as dressy and casual outfits.

Who wouldn't feel like Audrey Hepburn in these pearls?
This necklace is available in bronze, smoke, oyster, lilac, and bright purple
a color for every personality and style.

Even better, you can get matching earrings and bracelets
from Chic Gems, Etc.
ShoppingByMail readers can enter discount code:
shopping for 20% off any online purchase
All the very best,
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for Professional Women

Turbo Tagger

Chic Gems Jewelry will be featured at the Junior League of Milwaukee's Holiday Boutique

Junior League of Milwaukee Holiday Boutique

Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center

790 N Van Buren St Milwaukee, WI 53202

Join us for the Holiday Boutique, hosted by the Junior League of Milwaukee.

The first annual Junior League of Milwaukee "Holiday Boutique" will be held on November 14-15 at the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center.

A special preview night will be on Friday, November 14th from 5pm to 9pm. Enjoy raffle baskets, lots of food, and shopping galore!

The Holiday Boutique will be open to the public on Saturday, 10am-6pm.
Shop the latest jewelry trends this season from
Chic Gems, etc. Meet the designer, Sarah Radford.
Shop the latest in handbag and wallet trends
from Brynn Capella and Lucky Day Boutique, among others.
All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Desinger Jewelry for Professional Women

Turbo Tagger

Monday, November 3, 2008

Chic Gems Jewelry will be Featured at Nights of Style Hosted by SeeMore Shopping & THE MIX

Germania Place
108 W Germania Place Chicago, IL
Thursday November 6 from 6:30-9:30pm

Join SeeMore Shopping and THE MIX 101.9FM for the Nights of Style Shopping Event!
The event will be hosted by Melissa McGurren, from the Eric & Kathy Show and co-sponsored by Little Black Dress Wines.
Gift giveaways every 15 minutes!
Chic Gems will be giving away 4 $25 Gift Certificates!
Shop the latest in fall jewelry trends from Chic Gems, etc. and meet the designer, Sarah Radford!
Shop local Chicago designers and Boutiques.
Private Event-MUST RSVP to attend.
If you would like to attend,
please RSVP to
by Monday November 3, 2008.
All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for Professional Women

Monday, October 27, 2008

Meet Jenny from Evlove Intimates. Review by Sarah Radford, Chic Gems, etc.

Interview with Jenny Dombroski of Evlove Intimates
I have had the pleasure of knowing Jenny D for over a year. She is an inspiration to all women who desire to own their own business.
Here's her story:

How did you get into underwear design? And at what age did you encounter your interest in designing underwear?

I’ve always been in love with lingerie. Every woman has their indulgence whether its handbags, shoes, jewelry…mine was always pretty little underthings. I never imagined myself designing and in fact initially wanted to open my own store selling other designers wares. After researching the market here in Chicago, I discovered that there were many fantastic boutiques already, so it seemed pretty risky to open up shop in a traditional manner. The custom design aspect was an opportunity for me to have fun with lingerie in an innovative way, to offer a creative and intimate experience along with a great quality product. Giving my customers the ability to design their own lingerie is truly what differentiates Evlove from everything else in the marketplace.

Let’s talk about your design. What do you think is the most important element?

There are really two very important elements in my design – comfort and beauty. As a consumer of lingerie and intimate apparel, I found that there was this underserved niche of product lines that offered something luxurious in addition to being pretty. When I became the designer I knew I didn’t want women to have to choose between being comfortable and feeling sexy, so the fabrics I use are soft-against-your-skin and stretchy to hug your body and the embellishments allow you to add that touch of elegance. The best part is that because you can design it yourself, you can choose the look that’s most unique to your personal style.

What was your best experience as a designer?

My best experience as a designer has been getting to watch my product come to life at the lingerie parties. I’ve been invited into the homes of women who are celebrating a bride, a girlfriend, or just their friendships and have been amazed at the combinations of color and style these gals have come up with. There’s nothing more rewarding than people having fun with your brand and loving your product.

What are you working on right now?

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the incredible demand for the custom lingerie parties all over the country, so I’m feverishly working on getting training in place for hiring lingerie stylists. Women are looking for unique ideas for the bachelorette parties, bridal showers and birthday parties they’re in charge of planning and I’m always disappointed when geography gets in the way of helping them. I’m expanding locally right now and will soon be working on other cities where I’ve received the most requests.

Who would you say has been the most influential person in your life?

My family has collectively been a source of inspiration – they truly are my biggest cheerleaders and from the very start have always believed I could accomplish anything I set my heart and mind to. I also get constant inspiration from numerous women entrepreneurs in my network. Their stories, challenges and triumphs keep me motivated and focused.

Could you tell us what does your average day entail?

An average day for me usually starts with a 6am workout and then I create a to-do list for the day starting with the things that require the most brain power first. Alongside those items are my goals or intentions I have for accomplishing those things, sort of like a “what” and a “why” list. It’s really important that I have this list so I can start out my day in a positive way. The rest of my day is usually shuffled between answering emails, assembling online orders, taking lingerie party requests, picking up/dropping off orders, responding to press/marketing inquiries….. I’m still a one-woman show so I wear many hats!!

Do you have any current fashion obsessions?

I’m really in love with many of the fashion designers I’m seeing develop here in Chicago.
Chic Gems for jewelry, Kate Boggiano has great shirts…and a great find for multiple designers is a sample/overstock boutique here called Beta Boutique.

Who is your customer and how do they find you?

My customer is typically between the ages of 20 – 40, but I’ve definitely deviated from that. Age is not so much what defines my customer, it’s more her sophistication and desire for something unique or exclusive. She’s someone who’s looking for a great shopping experience in addition to a great product. They’ve found me mostly through word-of-mouth, but also searching online.

Favorite place to see art?

Chicago has so many great art galleries and museums, but my favorite destination spot is the Around the Coyote Gallery. I’ve seen some of the best emerging artists there and it includes not only visual arts but theatre, dance, and poetry.

Would you like to add anything for the Japanese fans?

Evlove has an interactive, online design studio where you can experience the fun of designing your own lingerie right from your computer! I haven’t yet expanded internationally but if I knew I had some Japanese fans, I’d be very excited to make Japan the very first offering!

Thanks Jenny!
We look forward to designing our own pretty lingerie!

All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Chic Gems, etc.
Designer Jewelry for Professional Women

Monday, October 20, 2008

Shop Chic Gems, etc. at the Jewelry, Fashion, and Accessories Show in Chicago this Thursday-Sunday

Jewelry, Fashion, & Accessories Show
Donald E Stephens Convention Center
9301 W Bryn Mawr Rosemont, IL
Thursday October 23rd-Sunday October 26th from 930am-5pm
Shop Chic Gems, etc. at the Jewelry, Fashion, & Accessories Show
Meet the designer, Sarah Radford.
Meet Rami Kashou-finalist from Project Runway!
There will be over 300 exhibitors.
Onsite registration is $5 cash only.
Must be 16 to attend. Photo ID required.
All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for Professional Women

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chic Gems, etc. Pearls Now Available in 4 Fashionable Lengths!

NEW!!! from Chic Gems
Choose your Pearl Length
Princess, Matinee, Opera, or Rope

Through the years the most stylish of women have been seen wearing amazing strands of large pearls~ Audrey Hepburn, Coco Chanel, & Grace Kelly to name a few.
This season large pearls, big baubles, and statement jewelry are the key elements for a stylish season.
Chic Gems, etc. is pleased to offer 4 choices of Pearl Lengths.
Choose from Princess (18"), Matinee (24"), Opera (34"),
or Rope (40").
A modern twist on your classic pearls. From jeans to black tie, these glass pearls from Chic Gems, etc. are sure to be an excellent addition to your wardrobe this season. The Princess length (18") is the most common length of pearl necklaces. It complements crew necks as well as plunging neck lines.

Don't forget about our new referral program! Simply go online and click to tell some friends about Chic Gems Jewelry. You can choose to receive any pair of earrings, FREE.
No limit to how many FREE earrings you can receive.
(Refer 30 friends, get 3 pairs of FREE earrings)
You are sure to be the envy of your friends with Chic Gems Jewelry.
Click here to check out our events page for upcoming shows in your area.
Let us know if you would like to host your own Chic Gems Jewelry Party.
What could be a better Girl's Night Out?
Click Here to Apply.

All the very best!
Sarah Radford

Chic Gems, etc.
Designer Jewelry for Professional Women

Shop online and save 25% on the entire
Chic Gems Collection.
Use Coupon Code Pearls during checkout to receive your discount.
Shop online at or call to place your order by phone 888.801.8265.
Offer Expires: October 24th at midnight.
Cannot be used at stores that carry Chic Gems, cannot be applied to previous purchases, no cash value.

Chic Gems's Facebook profile

Monday, October 13, 2008

Meet Allyson from Bess and Loie, Being an Entrepreneur is her Bag. Review by Sarah Radford, Chic Gems, etc.

(A view of the beatuiful Bess & Loie Boutique)

I had the chance to meet Allyson Holleb, a charming Entrepreneur, over one year ago.
Since then I stop by to see the latest bags anytime I am in the area.
You will find my line, Chic Gems, etc. sold there at certain special occasions.
What could be better than handbags and jewelry?
You can count on a relaxing experience at Bess & Loie. Ally is the absolute best hostess. She has all sorts of snacks and cushy chairs to watch tv. You almost forget that you're in a store.
It is simply a nice experience to shop at Bess & Loie. No high pressured sales people here-it's delightful and anyone visting Chicago should come see for themselves.
The store is named after Allyson's grandmothers, Bess and Loie.
A little bit about this Entrepreneur-
Allyson grew up in Chicago, went to Paris for her junior year of college (at UW Madison), and moved to NYC (She needed a City!) after college.
So what did she do in NYC?
Allyson worked as an event planner and then changed her focus, where she became a part of the retail buying team at Eileen Fisher, buying for the Eileen Fisher retail stores.
"I was there for four years, learned a ton about the industry, as I worked with all aspects of the business.... design, merchandising, warehouse, factory, etc. And then I decided to come back home to Chicago and open the shop."
What inspired you to start a business of owning a handbag boutique?
"While living in New York, I spent most of my shopping time searching for bags that were different, not your typical "labels", and that didn't cost me a complete arm and a leg. When I decided to move back to Chicago, it was to open a store focusing on these amazing, independent designers, whose work, I felt, was not being showcased yet in Chicago.
What challenges have you faced?
"Being an entrepreneur means that you're having to take care of every single aspect of your business, from cleaning the windows and floors to determining the product assortment to marketing the business to making sure that there's enough toilet paper in the bathroom. It's really been a learning experience. Also, just getting the business' name out and driving traffic into my boutique, which is definitely in a location that's a destination.
How are you overcoming those challenges?
" Just keep on working, and not letting the enormity of everything get me down. And taking the little victories and really enjoying them- helping a customer find the exact right handbag or piece of jewelry, and seeing how happy that it can make someone- it means that I've done my job. And all of the amazing people who I've met along the way."
A final note from Allyson
Bess & Loie is packed with beautiful bags, and I’ve tried to make it an inviting place where customers feel welcome and relaxed. On any given day, you’re likely to find people hanging out on the comfy chairs, kicking back with a glass of wine, some chocolate and licorice, watching a Bears game or an old episode of Beverly Hills, 90210.
So that's her bag. Shop in the store or online.
All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for Professional Women

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Meet Amy of Ciao Bella Chicago, a True Entrepreneur. Review by Sarah Radford, Chic Gems, etc.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Amy Lechelt Basta for almost 2 years. She has an upbeat and charming personality. She has been an entrepreneur all her life, so I thought it would be fun and inspiring to hear her story and her perspective on owning a business, dealing with challenges at work
and in life, etc.!

So why did you start your business, Ciao Bella Chicago?
I started my biz, cuz I could! Ha-ha! Actually, Jerry, my husband and I, had always thought that I should own a boutique because I was very enthusiastic when leaving my other boutique sales jobs, telling stories every day for hours (really!). And, not only did I have 25 years of experience in retail, but I also became very good at "styling"! Who knew? Finally, I have been an entrepreneur all my life! I took all of my background and joined it together into one location! Event Stylist/coordinator, model/actress/singer/performer, artist, sales manager/sales/bookeeper, flight attendant! I love the challenge of business!

What are the challenges you're facing?
The economy! It couldn't be a worse time to open a biz than when we did! However, the fact that we are still here shows we're doing something right! But, it inihibits "taking it to the next level". And, secondly, to my surprise- employees. Everyone told me this, but I didn't believe it. Even if you have the best employees possible, you still need to deal with all employees "issues", whether work related or personal- on a daily basis.

How are you overcoming those challenges?
Remember to keep a positive attitude, even if it means you need to "adjust it" from time to time. "Everything happens as it should...." It's a business, not your health or life! And, if you run a good, honest life/business, you will have always know you did the best you could- by all!
What brands will shoppers find at Ciao Bella Chicago?
For Women:
Gant, b. chyll, Body, Lucky Brand, Tommy Bahama, Billy Blues,
Majestic Bernadette Conte, Panda Snack, City Lights, Spanx,
JWLA , Johnny Was, Be present, Adea, Bailey 44, Victorinox Swiss Army,
Daftbird, Vintage Glam, Iodice, Sarah Pacini, Lauren Vidal
Hard Tail, R jean, Pursuit of Harmony, Cino, Oramomi
Uncle Frank, Level 99, Tag Jeans, and more.
For Men:
James Perse, Rosasen, Splendid Mills, Victorinox Swiss Army
Lucky Brand, Indigo Palms, Jet Lag, Gant
Generra, Modern Amusement, Bugatchi, J Brand, and more.
Hobo, Matt & Nat, John Wind, Baggallini
Love Quotes, Karen Weiss Belts, eye bobs, Seril
Nundies, Sassy nips, Chic Gems, etc., and more.
Pure Style Girlfriends-Stay Put, Gather the Girls, Haute Stuff, Smooth 'em
Women's Wear Daily, Daily Candy, Time Out Chicago,
Chicago, and Chicago Scene.
Thanks Amy for your insight!
Check out Ciao Bella Chicago online!
Be sure to stop by the store if you're in Chicago.
They are located at 3829 N Southport, one of Chicago's hottest shopping blocks.
The store is steps away from the historic Music Box Theatre!
All the very best,
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for Professional Women

Friday, October 3, 2008

Chic Gems, etc. at Ravenswood Art Walk, featured by Daily Candy Chicago

A tour of arts and industry in the Ravenswood Corridor-
October 4th and 5th from 11am-6pm.
(Ravenswood Avenue Between Cornelia-Lawrence Ave Chicago, IL)
The signature event of ArtWalkRavenswood is our October Tour of Arts & Industry in honor of Chicago Artists' Month. ArtWalk is two days dedicated to honoring and celebrating artists in the Ravenswood Corridor. The event, held this year on October 4th and 5th will include 50 venues highlighting over 200 local artists! This year will prove to be the most successful and creative yet! We have plans for a new child friendly area, venue visuals, limited edition art posters for sale, food, and entertainment!
Shop the latest Fall Collection from Chic Gems, etc. Jewelry at the Art Walk this year!
It's a busy weekend! You will also find Chic Gems, etc. Jewelry at
GenArt's SHOP Chicago!
Here's the scoop:
Saturday October 4th from 2pm-6pm.
Millennium Park Chase Promenade North Randolph Street
Between Michigan Avenue & Columbus Drive
Shop. Drink. Chic.
A day long extravaganza of shopping, selling and pampering
to benefit Gen Art’s Chicago Fashion Program.
Saturday, October 4th, 2008 1:00 – 2:00pm: VIP Preview Shopping Reception (Advance Tickets Only-register online free) 2:00 – 6:00pm:
Main doors open to all ticket holders
Join Gen Art for this official Chicago Fashion Focus Week Event!
Shop Chicago will feature more than 40 emerging accessory and clothing designers-including Chic Gems, etc Jewelry.
At Shop Chicago you can shop the latest trends, enjoy complimentary cocktails and even receive a little pampering at the Shop Chicago Beauty Lounge.
VIPs will enjoy champagne, early admission to get first dibs on items, Shop Chicago gift bags and a break from the busy Shop Chicago floor in the VIP Lounge.
Shop the latest Jewelry from Chic Gems, etc.
We will be featured with Lucky Day Boutique
VIP Tickets:(Includes VIP Shop Preview, access to VIP lounge, hors d’oeuvres & Shop Chicago gift bag) * Associate Producer & higher level Gen Art members: 2 complimentary VIP tickets* Silver & Platinum Members: $30/ticket* Non-members: $40/ticket
General Admission:* Complimentary Admission from 2:00pm-6:00pm
* Registration required in advance for each attendee.
* To become a Gen Art Member, click on the link below or call
RSVP/Purchase Tickets Now!
We hope to see you there if you're in Chicago.
All the very best,
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for Professional Women

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sugar Bliss Cakes are out of this World! A Review by Sarah Radford, Chic Gems, etc.

I had the pleasure of meeting Teresa Ging of Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique.
She has an amazing story. She tossed the big salary in Corporate America and struck out on her own. I have had several of her cupcakes, (well maybe a lot of her cupcakes)
and they are top notch!
From Banker to Baker...
Teresa graduated from University of Chicago, Bachelors of Arts in Economics and Statistics.
You ask, what encouraged her to open this business? I have always wanted to start my own business and have always been an entrepreneur. While I was in finance and working in Downtown Chicago Loop, there was no place to purchase a cupcake or birthday cake. With so many businesses, hotels, tourist attractions nearby, I felt that there was a need to open a cake shop. In late 2006, I decided to leave 6 years of finance to attend Le Cordon Bleu Patisserie Program in Paris, then in October 2007, I launched the catering and delivery side of the business and this year we I will open our first retail location in the Downtown Chicago Loop in December 2008!

You're dying to know, how did she come up with the name Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique? I really liked the two words “Sugar” and “Bliss” and since we are a premium cake/cupcake shop, I decided to name the company Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique.

So what does a typical day look like for you? In the morning we are baking all the cupcakes for that days order; we bake every cupcake fresh each day. Once the cupcakes are baked we let them cool and then frost each cupcake with our signature blossom design and top the cupcake with our signature dot. Then they are ready to be packaged into our custom boxes. Once the orders are completed they are ready to be delivered to our customers and are picked up from the courier. In the afternoon we are planning the next day of cupcake orders and preparing cake batters and frostings.
Teresa caters to Corporate, hotels, event/wedding planners, catering companies
You're wondering what bakery products does she make? We have over 20 flavors of regular and mini cupcakes, breakfast cupcakes (which are fruit muffins), frosting shots, and cakes. We also sell beverages such as coffee, tea, hot chocolate, bottled water, juice, and milk.
How many different kinds of cupcakes does she sell? We have over 20 flavors on our menu and additional seasonal flavors throughout the year.
Minis are $1.25 and Regular Size are $3.25
So, what kind of ingredients do you use in your cupcakes? We use the highest quality, natural ingredients, such as European Cocoa, Nielsen Massey pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, and real fruits. Our extra moist cupcakes are decorated with our signature Sugar Bliss bloom, a rich and creamy frosting topped with our signature dot. We do not add preservatives or use corn syrup or shortening and all of our cupcakes are made from scratch (no cake mixes) and are baked fresh each day.
Who is Teresa's inspiration? My parents, they always supported and encouraged me in whatever I did and inspired me to pursue my dreams, which was owning
my own business one day.

Congrats Teresa on your great success in only 1 year! I can't wait to see the Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique in the Chicago Loop. Keep up the good work!
All the very best,
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for the Professional Woman

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur by Mike Michalowicz, Review by Sarah Radford of Chic Gems, etc.

The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, by Mike Michalowicz

With the insane economic climate we are having, I just wanted to drop you a quick note about the website I was profiled on last week. (You may remember my picture with the gems on one arm, the lemon in one hand and me wrapped in TP! If you did not see it yet, scroll back a few blog posts.)
The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur has had a lot of updates, including info on how to navigate these tough times as a new or established entrepreneur.
Here's a little summary of the book...

The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, aka TPE, helps first-time entrepreneurs develop the qualities and beliefs they need to recognize and cultivate in order to succeed in business, explaining how to cut through excuses and pursue the business that sets
their hearts afire.
In his book Michalowicz kicks standard entrepreneurial methodology to the curb, explaining why no one needs a business plan, angel financing, or an Ivy League education to launch a successful business. Each tell-it-like-is chapter is packed with advice straight from the trenches, interspersed with dozens of tips to help people launch and run their business on a beer and pizza budget.

So does the "TPE" method really work, you ask?
Mike Michalowicz started his first business at the age of 24, moving his young family to the only safe place he could afford - a retirement village. With limited resources and no experience, he systematically grew a multi-million dollar technology business, sleeping in conference rooms to avoid hotel costs. After selling his first company, Mike launched a new business the very next day, and in less than three years, sold it to a Fortune 500. With his newest venture, Obsidian Launch, he fosters startup businesses with
his “get rich right” approach.
A graduate of Inc. & MIT’s “Birthing of Giants” Entrepreneurial Program, Mike received Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards multiple times. He is a recurring guest on CNBC’s The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, has been featured on National Public Radio (NPR), and in the New York Times, Smart CEO Magazine, and other publications.

Drop Mike a line:
This great country was founded by the Entrepreneurial spirit...we will get through these tough times and come out on top, just watch! ~Sarah
All the very best,
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for the Professional Woman

Monday, September 29, 2008

Check out Celebrity Skin Couture Air Tan-Sarah Radford of Chic Gems, etc. loves their tan and entrepreneurial story!

I had the pleasure of meeting Becky over 4 years ago when I was looking to transition into Pharmaceutical sales...we have been friends ever since! I wanted to share her story!~Sarah

Becky is from Indianapolis, went to college at Indiana University. She worked in sales for Sony Electronics and then Pharmaceutical sales. She quit her job to stay home with kids. She started the tanning business to offer herself a part time job while staying home with her kids. Heather Rice, her partner, grew up in the Chicago suburbs, also graduated from Indiana, where they met. Heather works full time in construction sales and wanted to start a business to grow her personal wealth and financial future.
Here's what Becky and Heather had to say about their business-the idea, the challenges, overcoming those challenges, and living the entrepreneurial dream!
~Celebrity Skin Couture Air Tan~
"We also, as super fair whities, wanted to offer our fellow pale peeps a safe, natural and flawless faux tan they could walk proud with. There are tons of options out there for self tanners, but few of them offer a natural color with meticulous attention to detail, particularly on hands a feet, common problem areas with faux tanning. We all know the importance of protecting ourselves from the harmful effects of too much sun, yet it is hard to resist the sun kissed look that makes us feel 10 pounds thinner and more attractive overall.Of course our biggest challenge is getting the word out there. Advertising is very expensive, and so far even the advertising we have employed hasn't resulted in huge returns. Our other challenge is striking that "part time" balance. It is difficult to manage any business part time. While motherhood is my "full time" job, I have to work hard to achieve a balance between my responsibilities at home and my desire to build our business. Heather also struggles with striking a balance between her full time job and her part time business. To overcome this challenge we try to meet regularly to discuss marketing ideas and strategies. We're focused more on grass roots marketing and partnering with salons, spas, med spas, etc to build our clientele. Another challenge of course is the economy. People are watching their pennies and not spending what they used to on luxury services. For this we are offering package rates, group rates, referral programs, etc. We feel if we can get customers to experience our product, they will tell their friends and come back for more."
"I can personally say that the tan I got from the ladies of Couture Air Tan blew away any other faux tan I have ever had. People asked me in February what island I had just returned from. If that is not the ultimate testimony, I am not sure what is?"

Becky 773-507-3559 Heather 773-562-9469

Visit Couture Air Tan Online!

All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for Professional Women

Friday, September 26, 2008

Story of Sarah Radford, Chic Gems, etc., featured today on the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur!

Here's an excerpt from my story on the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur today!

"I always knew that one day I would own my own business. I started my company, Chic Gems, etc. jewelry, as a side project in 2002 while working as a top medical sales representative. I have always enjoyed fashion, beginning at a very early age. I enjoyed owning Chic Gems for the obvious reason of designing my own creations and I used my sales bonuses to finance the company - everything from jewelry bead stock to filing fees for the incorporation. I am thankful that I took life into my own hands when I did because in October of 2006 I was laid off from my sales job due to a company buy out. Chic Gems, etc. became full time from that moment on."

To read more and go to the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur site...CLICK HERE!
Here's a quick snap shot about Mike Michalowicz, founder of
A graduate of Inc. & MIT’s “Birthing of Giants” Entrepreneurial Program, Mike received Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards multiple times. He is a recurring guest on CNBC’s The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, has been featured on National Public Radio (NPR), and in the New York Times, Smart CEO Magazine, and other publications.

All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for the Professional Woman

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Entrepreneurs that I Admire by Sarah Radford, Chic Gems, etc.

Entrepreneur in English is a term applied to the type of personality who is willing to take upon herself or himself a new venture or enterprise and accepts full responsibility for the outcome. In common understanding it is taken as describing a dynamic personality.

Richard Branson is one of my favorite entrepreneurs of all time!
I admire his strong sense of self and love for adventure. I have read almost all of his books and can honestly say that he has been a strong source of inspiration for me and my business.
As Helen Keller said, "Life is a daring adventure or nothing."
Branson's first successful business began at the age of 16, when he published a magazine called Student. When he was seventeen, he opened his first charity, the "Student Advisory Centre." He then set up a record mail-order business in 1970. In 1972, he opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records, later known as Virgin Megastores and rebranded as zavvi in late 2007. With his flamboyant and competitive style, Branson's Virgin brand grew rapidly during the 1980s - as he set up Virgin Atlantic Airways and expanded the Virgin Records music label. Richard Branson is the 245th richest person according to Forbes' 2008 list of billionaires as he has an estimated net worth of approximately $2.8 billion USD.
Branson was knighted in 1999 for 'services to entrepreneurship'
and presented as a millennium icon.
"My interest in life comes from setting myself huge, apparently unachievable challenges and trying to rise above them...from the perspective of wanting to live life to the full, I felt that I had to attempt it."
Richard Branson
Info and image courtesy of
My next week of blogs will highlight stories of Entrepreneurs.
You may ask~how many entrepreneurs have there been in the history of the world? Millions, certainly, probably even billions. These are the men and women who take capital -- their own or somebody else’s -- and use it to beget more capital. Some fail, some succeed, some excel.
Quote from
During these times of economic turmoil, I think back to the founding of this Great Nation.
It's my favorite historical period, probably because it appeals to the entrepreneur in me. Not to go on a political tangent, but this country was founded by the entrepreneurial spirit. It is this risk taking attitude that has gotten us to where we are today. I would like to see people stop being so apathetic and take control of their lives...I did.
All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for the Professional Woman
Special from Chic Gems! Go online and get a FREE pair of earrings.
All you need to do is tell 10 friends about Chic Gems!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tres Chic Jewels-Chic Gems, etc. Featured in September 2008 Chicago Parent Magazine

Chic Gems, etc. Jewelry was featured in the September 2008
Chicago Parent Magazine!
Here's the article:
Trés chic jewels
You don't need diamonds to look fabulous, but having a little something flashy around your neck definitely makes your outfit sparkle. Next time you're looking for that oh-so-perfect necklace, bracelet or earrings, checkout Chicago-based Chic Gems, etc. With a passion for the latest in fashion, owner Sarah Radford takes pride in the design and craftsmanship of her pieces. "This season (the necklace trend) is going to be bigger," Radford says. "I love that look." The gem line's signature feature, flower and leaf toggles, are something Radford chose to help the company stand out. "I like to have things that are different," she says. Many of the necklaces, bracelets and earrings are made with Czechoslovakian crystals and glass from the Murano Glass Company, based in Venice, Italy. The collection also features semi-precious stones such as agate, jaspers, quartz and turquoise. On her blog,, Radford discusses her favorite fashion picks, the latest trends, upcoming events and the new pieces in her jewelry line. Most of Chic Gems, etc.'s pieces have been designed to wear year-round with reasonable price tags. Necklaces range from $49.95-$129.95, bracelets are$25.95-$65.95 and earrings are $25.95-$39.95. For more information, visit
Kate Pancero Assistant Editor/Weekend E-dition Editor
Chicago Parent 141 S. Oak Park Ave.Oak Park, IL 60302
All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for the Professional Woman

Check out Chicago Picks! Get the scoop on the City's hottest spots for shopping, dining, and more! See what Chicago Picks had to say about Chic Gems!

ChicagoPicks scoops the city's hottest spots (and best-loved secrets) for shopping, dining, drinking and pampering, delivered free every Friday to your email inbox! You don't know Chicago until you spend some time with the Picks. With our signature sense of humor and style, we introduce you to the newest boutiques and the hottest restaurants, with hangouts and must-have products to round out the mix. Plus we serve up the events you'll want to attend and the best sales in town. Click here to sign up at ChicagoPicks and join the fun!

Please help us spread the word -- tell a friend about The Picks in their City!
And don't forget your accessories!
Here is what Chicago Picks had to say about Chic Gems, etc. Jewelry!
Smart Women Finish First
It sounds a little weird to admit this, but we check out what other girls are wearing. Don't get us wrong, but we love checking out hot fashion on smartly dressed women. A well-put together woman projects class, confidence and strength. And ya know what? Some of that can be bought.
Beginning with the right accessories, like those by local Chicagoan jewelry designer Sarah Radford's line of Chic Gems. Gorgeous stones, classic designs.
From Chicago Picks March 7, 2008
All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for the Professional Woman

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chic Gems, etc. is participating in "Designs for Count Me In" from SHEFINDS-20% of Sales from Our Pearl Necklace will be Donated!

Check out Count Me In!

Chic Gems, etc. is pleased to support Count Me In!

Count Me In promotes the growth of women owned businesses and is the leading national not for profit provider of online business loans, resources, and community for women entrepreneurs. Beginning in September and continuing through Jan 1st, SheFinds will feature original accessories by independent designers. A portion of each sale will go to Count Me In. With each purchase, you are contributing to the development of women in business.
Chic Gems, etc. is pleased to donate 20% of all sales of our Pearl Necklaces.
Choose from Lilac, Smoke, Oyster, and Bronze.

From now until January 1, 2009 you can shop
Chic Gems, etc. Jewelry to support Count Me In.

All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for the Professional Woman

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Julie Watson Style-As seen in InStyle Makeover Fall 2008 Edition

More about JulieWatsonStyle
After spending 14 years developing collections for some of the country's largest retailers, Julie was inspired to share her professional background with women who need help maximizing their wardrobes.
Julie Watson Style provides a unique consulting service: an industry expert who creates clarity in your closet and brings focus to your shopping by teaching you how to apply the fundamentals of apparel merchandising directly to your wardrobe.
"You'll find that when your clothes are an expression of who you are, getting dressed in the morning is effortless."
Julie has been seen live on ABC7 and In the Loop with IVillage
Check out:
"Julie, just wanted to say a quick thanks. Yesterday was amazing. I actually feel like I have an entirely new wardrobe! And I didn't realize that throwing away those clothes with the tags on would actually feel guilt! I cannot thank you enough!"
Kathy Hart, Eric & Kathy Show 101.9fm THE MIX
Contact Julie:
Of course, no perfect outfit is complete without the perfect accessories!
All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for the Professional Woman

Check out clothing designs by Anna Fong-the winner of the 2007 AOL Latino Fashionista

Anna FongCollection
Guatemalan-Chinese Fashion Designer Anna Fong’s talent, creativity and name is quickly becoming a sensation in celebrity circles and is among the young rising stars of new designers destined for international stardom. Borrowing from her unique heritage Anna is bringing fresh new concepts in the world of fashion that exudes traditional elegance and sophistication with a flare for the international contemporary design that speak uniqueness in a woman’s style. After working in New York at Chaps Ralph Lauren licensee design house, where she gained professional experience in the fashion industry, Fong decided to return to Chicago to pursue her own business.The winner of the 2007 AOL Latino Fashionista, in New York City Anna has dazzled the fashion world with her creations on international stages such as Chicago’s World Fashion Focus representing China (October 2007), Featured Designer at Latino fashion Week (November 2007), Model Shoot for Latina Magazine with Si TV (Los Angeles March 2008), Internationally featured in People en Español Magazine (November 2007), among other prestigious events.This young Fashion Designer from Chicago was first introduced to Fashion at the age of five, making clothes for her dolls. In High School she was enrolled in a fashion design summer course while completing her work- study at Gallery 37. She continued with her fashion studies at Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois completing her BA in liberal Arts with a major in Fashion Design. Anna Fong has dressed celebrities such as Kimora Lee Simmons, Christina Brondo, Nadine Velazquez, Former Miss Universe- Dayanara Torres, comedienne Vanessa Fraction, Ellie Rodriguez, news reporter Tsi Tsi Ki Felix, and radio personanility Bionce Foxx. Her designs have appeared on television on E! Entertainment, Style Network, Si TV, Univision, Escandalo TV, WGN news, ABC news and in fashion Magazines such as People en Español, Splendor, Red Eye, Clutch, Chicago Sun Times, Vibra Latina, Extra, Ndigo. Her designs have paraded across high fashion red carpet events such as Alma Awards, Maxim’s 100 Hottest, and Latino Film Festival.
Anna Fong recently opened her own self-named design studio in Chicago designing for the marketplace as well as custom designs for a legion of private clientele.
Fong is gearing up to launch her new collection for upcoming Fall and Spring 2008 season. The line will have separates and dresses available for both ready wear and couture design. This line will exude the glamour, sensuality, sophistication and “chic-ness” that a woman embodies.
Studio: 1932 S. Halsted St. Suite 504
Chicago, IL 60651
Every fashionista needs the perfect accessories!
Check out what Chic Gems, etc. has to offer!
All the very best!
Sarah Radford
Designer Jewelry for the Professional Woman