In the midst of the sparkling necklaces and glistening earrings sold at a local boutique is another accessory, one not meant for any body part. Instead of wrapping around a wrist, dangling from an ear or snugly surrounding a finger or toe, these jewels are meant to dangle from cell phones and add glitz to their antennas.
At Francesca’s Collections, a trendy gift shop in the Alamo Quarry Market, cell phone accessories sell for $12. The store’s cell phone charms have loops that attach to hooks on the backs of some cell phones. Teenage girls, or people buying gifts for them, are their biggest consumers.
“They’re cute, and they’re fun,” said Francesca Creamer, district manager of Francesca’s, a Houston-based chain retailer. “People nowadays want cute attachments for their things.”
Creamer said newspaper photos of Hilary Duff and Mariah Carey wearing the trinkets on the belt loops of their jeans fueled sales last year. “It’s not as hot as it used to be,” she said, “but they are still pretty strong sellers.”
With the increasing popularity of cell phones among young adults and the increasing desire to personalize them, cell phone charms are providing lucrative business opportunities for some entrepreneurs.
Wendy Warren, owner of Whittier, Calif.,-based Pretty Girlie Things, started selling cell phone jewelry eight months ago. So far, the company has sold about 2,000 of them.
Warren’s motto is, “If we can make it sparkle, we will.” The company’s hearts, bows, butterflies and tiaras, which fit cell phone antennas like a ring fits a finger, can add sparkle to a phone for about $9. “This has really taken on a life of its own,” she said. “People like the novelty.”
In December, Sprint entered the cell phone jewelry market. “It was a real hot trend in Asia that hasn’t really kicked in here in the U.S.,” said Roxie Ramirez, a Sprint spokeswoman.
The company has seven sterling silver designs – among them a martini glass, high-heel shoe, shopping bag and megaphone – selling in their stores for $9.99 each. The product is geared toward females between 15 and 35 years old.
“There is a void for female-oriented cell phone accessories,” Ramirez said. “We’re trying to view cell phone jewelry as fashion accessories.”
Meena Thiruvengadam, San Antonio Express-News