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Unique Gift Search Leads to 'Charming' Business

Looking for a unique Valentine's Day gift? Wildwood woman’s one-of-a-kind ideas catch on with customers.

Leslie Jones got frustrated looking for the perfect charms to represent her family. “I was looking for charms in the images of my children,” the wife and mother of two recalled. “As I was unable to find such charms, I looked into creating the charms myself.”

Her initial efforts worked out so well that Jones opened her own online store, Charming Silhouettes, where she’s been designing and selling unique charms, earrings and necklaces since 2010.

Jones’ creations are one-of-a-kind. She begins by using computer graphics to create a silhouette or image from a customer’s photograph or drawing, then laser engraves the image onto a custom made hypo-allergenic stainless steel charm. Jones then adds the necklace, bracelet and other finishing touches by hand. Typical charm sizes range from 0.75 to 1 inch in diameter.

“Every charm is personalized,” she said. “Almost every design is from a photograph. I believe the most popular design I create is of someone you love: children and grandchildren, and pets.”

All Charming Silhouettes designs are made from stainless steel, which doesn’t tarnish and needs only soapy water to clean. “It’s hypo-allergenic with the weight and beauty of sterling silver, but without the expense,” she said. Prices range from as low as $18 for earrings, and include graphic design and shipping. In addition to reasonable prices, she prides herself on timely service. Once a customer approves the design, she can typically complete and ship an order in two to three days.

And while the handiwork is evident in every charm, Jones also enjoys the high-tech part of the process. "I really enjoy working with my laser," she said. "I do disappear out in my shop for hours at a time where I also experiment with acrylics, wood, glass and paper in addition to the stainless steel."

Jones hopes to expand her business in 2012. “Because of customer suggestions I am presently working on my own website,” she said. “I have had many requests to do craft shows, and will try to accommodate a few shows this year.”

Denise Bertacchi February 06, 2012 at 01:37 PM
That looks really cool.

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