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Making It 1928: The Story Of The 1928 Jewelry Company

Making It :
The Story Of The 1928 Jewelry Company

My first encounter with 1928 Jewelry was back when I was 19 years old and planning my wedding. I fell in love with a simple necklace found in a magazine ad, and I wanted it for my bridesmaids.

Long story short, it didn’t work out at that time. Still, I remained interested in the company and continued to watch their progress as they grew. When I first discovered 1928, their products were not yet in stores anywhere near where I lived. But it wasn’t long before the anchor department stores in our local mall had 1928 Jewelry Company displays on their counters. Apparently people bought a lot of it, because every time I went to the mall the cases and counter racks had new pieces on them! Sometimes an entire store counter was devoted to the company's jewelry, and I enjoyed stopping to check everything out.

Eventually I began buying pieces of the line, giving them all a special place in my jewelry chest. I've got quite a collection! And I'm not the only one, either--quite a few people do. 1928 Jewelry is beloved all around the world.

Behind those lovely vintage style pieces is an amazing rags-to-riches tale that many may not yet know. In 1968, two young men in their early twenties wanted to start a jewelry company, but they had no money. And money wasn't the only issue: They didn’t know how to make jewelry, either!

Sometimes terrific drive and perseverance pays off, and in this case it paid off in spades.The guys learned how to make jewelry and then they learned how to market it. In an amazingly short time, their crazy dream became reality. That didn't mean it was easy--but they were willing to do the hard work necessary to get around the obstacles, and the work paid off. In this book, you'll learn how they did it--step by step.

I wish I'd had a book like this back when I started my own little design company in the 90’s. Without a doubt the advice found in it would have made a great deal of difference for me, as I'd started out with little experience, too. Though I can't say 1928 Jewelry inspired my work, I did think of them from time to time. Interestingly, I'd also heard they’d started their business exactly the way I did—on a kitchen table.

One day in March 2015 Mel Bernie, the CEO of 1928 Jewelry Company and one of its founders, reached out to me to see if we could do a little business. He read about B'sue Boutiques on the internet, and called me on a Sunday afternoon. Quite honestly, meeting the guy was on my bucket list for a long time, so I couldn't have been happier to talk to him. Long story short, we began to collaborate on a variety of projects and had lots of conversations--some almost daily. We were always brainstorming new ideas.

Finally, I went to California to meet Mel, and that’s when we became birds-of-a-feather friends, bound by many common business experiences and a love for jewelry design. It wasn't long before Mel began to tell me the 1928 Jewelry Company story. I was fascinated to learn about how he got started and how a business known by no one can grow to become a household name.

Still, one thing made me sad: The stories weren't chronicled. There was no book about 1928 and there needed to be--in fact, it was overdue. I knew how much newer designers would benefit from the lessons learned by Mel Bernie and his partner, Richard Wallen, because they worked at first with nothing but dust in their pockets--and still found success.

Mel thought the book was a good idea. He also thought I should be the one to write it, because of the love I'd grown to have for his company. Much as he and his partner did all those years ago, I embarked on the writing endeavor without knowing how difficult it would be; but also like them, I dealt with the issues and kept going. Appropriately, the book is called Making it 1928: The Story of the 1928 Jewelry Company.

The book's manuscript is done, and now I'm deciding where the photos will go. Soon the manuscript and photos will be sent to the publisher, and the book should be ready sometime in January, 2020.

At this time, I am not accepting pre-orders on the first printing as it will be a small one. But arrangements for a secondary printing will be made very soon thereafter, and at that time I can do pre-orders as well as keep books available for those who would like to purchase a signed copy.

When released, Making it 1928: The Story of the 1928 Jewelry Company will be for sale here at B’sue Boutiques, as well as at www.1928.com, their company website. Everyone who requests it will also be able to purchase a signed copy.

Stay tuned for more information as things develop!


Brenda Sue Lansdowne

B’sue Boutiques