The piece is no more than ¾-inch at its outermost points, yet the eye-catching gleam from the encrusted diamonds gives it a much larger appearance. As it gently cascades downward from the tip of the nail, the diamonds are discretely merged with a second, almost brush-like stroke of 14kt gold. Here the flow of gold and diamonds sweeps subtlety out then gently returns toward center, forming a delicate loop encircling two additional gold and diamond straps that ease their way out of the circle.
The effect is of a slip-knot, a musical clef, or even the delicate strains of calligraphy.
The piece is identified simply as JN 60/Diamonds, yet it is Joyart Jewelry Company’s first and still most stunning piece of jewelry for the nail.
It is also indicative, as a specific example, of what this East Coast jewelry company is attempting to achieve with its unique line and the direction it is proceding with dramatic success.
“In short,” explained Arthur Cafaro, vice president, “we want to be identified with a certain style. We want to be looked upon as the Tiffany of the nail jewelry business ... Tiffany in terms of innovative styling and design. It is a statement and a direction that we are very comfortable with and one that enables us to draw from our shared experience and expertise.”
Although relatively new to the nail industry, having introduced their line late last year, Joyart’s depth spans more than 25 years of designing, manufacturing and marketing fine jewelry. It is an aspect that the company views quite accurately as an asset ... and one that has proven to be such throughout Joyart’s successful if hectic eight year history.
The firm, currently in an expansion stage of growth due largely to the response to its nail jewelry line, is managed by two energetic and creative individuals: Joyce Bogen, president and Arthur Cafaro. For Joyce, it is the marketing, selling and servicing of her burgeoning product line that captures her straight-forward and no-nonsense spirit. For Arthur, it is the physical look, the designing, the manufacturing and ultimately the demands of product quality that occupy his considerable talents ... it is a realm that for Arthur spans some 28 years.
“Joyart, since its inception, has always been in the fine jewelry business,” reiterated Joyce. “Before Joyart, both Arthur and I were involved in and only in the gold and diamond jewelry business. In fact, when I started in this business back in ’69, it was in retail jewelry sales. So actually, jewelry is really the only job that I have ever had ... or wanted for that matter.”
“The point is,” added Arthur, careful not to cut in on Joyce, “that we know jewelry, fine jewelry. It’s our background and what we are. We understand designing, how to maintain manufacturing quality and importantly, we understand that fine line between good design and affordability.”
This background and management expertise may partly explain the dramatic influence Joyart is having on the nail jewelry business. But it is clearly the design of the 100-plus product line that draws the immediate attention.
“What we are trying to do is to create a feeling,” explained Arthur. “From the beginning we knew that this aspect of the industry would get better and bigger.
“Yet,” he added, “we also knew that there was a real void out there in terms of designs and styles available. No one seemed to be producing fine jewelry tailored for the nail. Consequently, we set out to design pieces specifically for nails, something with alot more excitement, more style and more in the direction of the look of fine jewelry.”
Their first attempt, the JN 60/Diamonds, was one that Arthur designed just for Joyce ... but the reaction to it during an industry show created enough of a stir to convince the two they were heading in the right direction.
“We first learned of the nail industry through a close friend,” said Joyce, “She made us aware of what was happening in the industry when she requested a special order piece for her nails.
“At that point, we looked around and at other jewelry pieces and soon realized that there was a viable spot for our approach.”
Just about this time, chimed in Arthur, the New York International Beauty show was rapidly approaching.
“We didn’t have a booth and at that point really hadn’t settled in our own minds what we wanted to do. But after the reaction to Joyce’s nail piece ... we knew what we had to do.”
“The reaction to that first piece was really amazing,” agreed Joyce. “Whoever we showed it to claimed that they had never seen anything like it for the nails before, and that they couldn’t believe that such pieces could be designed and produced for the nails.”
It didn’t take long for Joyce and Arthur to begin moving their firm into a nail jewelry offering. Within months, the line expanded from just a few pieces to include charms, two alphabets, 14kt gold and diamond nail tips and over 50 original designs. Advertising and promotional material was created touting the firm’s line as ... “At last, fine jewelry created especially for the nails.”
“Our effort was and is to offer unique pieces of handcrafted fine gold jewelry for an affordable price,” underscored Joyce.
As their initial offering gained in acceptance, Arthur was busy developing and designing other products to strengthen the company’s market position. One such effort culminated in the firm’s nail tips: 14kt gold and diamond pieces that fit at the edge of the nail.
“The nail tip approach was something that came about during our design evaluation stages,” explained Arthur. “That is often the point where we look at the product from a design point of view and see if there is something we can do to improve it.
“The idea of the tip, as with the idea of combining two initials on the same nail, was a design application that not only enhanced the physical look of the product but also helped establish our unique style statement.”
Those examples, emphasized Joyce, illustrate a company attitude of “seeing what’s out there and not wanting to do the same.”
“We don’t want to have to compete on price alone, but rather price along with quality and design,” she said. “Our effort is in innovative, quality merchandise without the high price tags.”
The design and evaluation stages of the business is one that Arthur truly relishes as it allows him the opportunity to broaden his design expertise to a smaller surface. Although reluctant to describe the process out of some misplaced modesty, he did reveal enough to get a glimpse into how a product comes together.
“Designing a product is a bit difficult to describe,” he began. ‘It just comes to you. I generally do a lot of sketching at home or at quieter moments with a particular look or mood in mind ... something expansive, expressive or even ornate, for example.
“Also, I get different feelings for different pieces ... and I may take one element from one rough and combine it with another. I might start off with over 100 roughs and find 5-10 that might make it to a final stage. Once we have hit upon one that we both like, it is then refined further to working models and then to production pieces.”
“Arthur does about 95 percent of the designing,” added Joyce, “with the remainder coming from comments from clients, friends, that sort of feedback. We also pick up ideas from reaction to existing pieces as well.”
Once a piece has reached the working model stage, or even as far as a production sample, discussions then center on costs, product consistency and finish quality. According to Joyce, here too Arthur’s expertise shines, as the firm can readily understand what a particular design will cost to produce and if, from a manufacturing point of view, it is worthwhile.
“Our expertise enables us to produce these pieces as substantial pieces of jewelry,” explained Joyce. “We know before it hits a production stage all the manufacturing ins and outs. We also know that we could make these same pieces thinner or narrower to keep costs down, but we don’t, because our intention is to make long lasting jewelry that has been scaled down not to cheapen it, but for the size demands of the nail. Arthur’s very long involvement with all of the stages gives us an important edge not only in product quality but in marketing as well.”
This “edge,” as Joyce describes it, plays a key role in an additional aspect of Joyart … custom and special orders.
“Our reputation in terms of design often generates questions about special orders,” explained Joyce, “and once the client sees our quality they realize that we have that ability as well, to manufacture special items for special occasions. It’s an aspect of our business that is very exciting and rewarding.”
Special orders fulfilled by Joyart recently have included work with unique company logos and mascots, and the identifiable “D” of the Detroit Tigers baseball team for loyal and excited fans.
“Within this industry, the contact and service is much more of a one-on-one, an individual approach. Our work with our clients in both the special order and the nail jewelry line fits right in,” added Joyce.
As established jewelers, Joyce and Arthur seem to take pride in this service and have held back on immediate product growth for fear of losing that touch. Their steps are cautious, they claim, as Joyart keeps up with the demand in its own manner.
“The best way to describe it is this,” offered Arthur. “The response to our line has been very strong and the interest from our ads and color brochures stronger than anticipated. But our customers check us out. They may call from the ad and order one piece to see what our product is like, And once they see it in front of them, and how fast it sells, they often call back and tell us that our photos don’t do our product justice, or they love the product and are anxiously looking for newer designs.
“What I’m leading up to is that we can easily keep up with the current demand for our products, but if we add all the new designs too soon, something will have to give and we don’t want it to be our service.”
In discussions about product designs and future plans, specific details offered by the team were a bit sketchy. It’s as if Joyce and Arthur are biding their time waiting for the appropriate moment.
“Let’s just say that we intend to come out with new items regularly and constantly,” said Arthur, “but it has to be right in terms of product quality and timing. We could come out with a variety of things tomorrow, but it’s just not the right time.”
Joyce quickly agreed, adding that “this approach is very important to us because we don’t want to just jump in and out. This business will grow ... it has grown so quickly in just the last six months. But we have to grow and expand at times when we can handle all the demands of service.”
About all they would say about future offerings is that the firm has plans to enter the fray with gold nail products designed with the Joyart touch. As to when, or what they might look like, both declined comment.
“We have hesitated getting into gold nails this long in order to allow the best growth and marketing of our jewelry line. But we are preparing to move in that direction with styles and approaches that have yet to be tried. There is a tremendous potential for design in solid gold nails with diamonds, and when we finally do introduce our material, it will be different from anything else currently available,” explained Arthur.
In terms of a general statement about what the future may hold for Joyart, both Joyce and Arthur anticipate further growth and additional product offerings. Their comments indicate that their firm is in a fast-growth stage, but that both are retaining the control needed to maintain their particular style and marketing position. Both have a tremendous faith in the nail jewelry business and in its longevity.
“We anticipate this aspect of the industry to continue its rapid growth,” said Arthur. “More and more women are becoming aware that beautiful jewelry is very applicable to the nail ... that you can put a beautiful piece of jewelry that matches up to the quality and sophistication of larger pieces on the nail.”
Grooming habits are also continuing to develop, added Joyce, that will make sophisticated nail jewelry a must.
“More women are working and playing key roles in the marketplace,” said Joyce. “They are taking care of their nails, and are looking for that image of style and fashion. They are looking for fine jewelry scaled down and tailored for the nails. That is why we are so excited about this product and industry. The growth potential for every aspect is tremendous.”
Joyart’s basic point, inescapable in any conversation with Joyce and Arthur, is that it is the well designed, fine nail jewelry that benefits the salon owner and technician most, especially as consumers become more sophisticated and product aware. And as such, it is the catering to this image of fashion and beauty that benefits all aspects of this growing industry ... and in particular a firm whose primary purpose is to create “original designs for even your most discriminating customer ... at an affordable price.”