Herald Journal, Nov. 29, 2004
Area women create 'fishy' jewelry
By Heidi Stutelberg
Did you think that fishing lures were only used for catching fish?
Well, think again.
Wildlife Accents, a new business in Winsted, produces a line of earring jewelry made from fishing tackle.
The business is operated out of the home of Bev Schmitz.
Business owners and also fishing friends for the past 18 years, Schmitz and Cheryl Durand of Mound, together created the line of earrings.
The entrepreneurs call the earrings Fish’n Fash’n tackle jewelry.
Schmitz and Durand met while co-workers. Both women collected Beanie Babies to the extreme and had young sons at the time.
But over the years of fishing together, their families always stayed home. The women fished as a time to get away. Schmitz and Durand enjoy both ice fishing and summer fishing.
Last March, the fishing friends came up with the concept Fish’n Fash’n tackle jewelry and have since created more than 1,000 pairs of earrings.
They buy the fishing tackle unassembled in bulk to create one-of-a-kind earrings, available in pierced and clip-on.
Spinner blades, fishing beads, lures, glow-in-the-dark lures, and bobbers are among some of the fishing tackle parts used in designing the earrings. Some of the earrings look like fishing lures, but others do not.
Wildlife Accents even has Viking and Packer earrings available for the football fans.
“We make all kinds of excuses why we should make them,” Durand said.
“They make great stocking stuffers,” Schmitz added.
Avid anglers are their biggest customers.
“We sometimes have to sell them right out of our ears,” Schmitz said, recalling the time when Durand was at a bait shop and a customer liked the earrings Durand was wearing, so she sold them.
“We can design any kind of fishing lure jewelry anyone wants us to do. After you made a thousand, you get pretty quick,” she said.
Currently, Fish’n Fash’n tackle jewelry is for sale at the following businesses: All-Seasons Sports, Delano; Grandpa Earl’s General Store, Annandale; Wayzata Bait and Tackle, Wayzata; Shoreline Bait and Tackle, Spring Park, Katie’s Hallmark, Plymouth, and and Brooklyn Park, and The Buffalo Nickel Antiques/Collectible store in Buffalo.
With no previous marketing or advertising experience, the owners of Wildlife Accents have created, produced, and made available in retail stores their own jewelry line.
It’s been a combined effort since the beginning from Fish’n Fash’n conception to the package design.
The entrepreneurs are the art department, production assembly, quality control, and shipping and packaging.
They’ve even come up with a motto: “Our jewelry adds the right amount of flash to attract the big fish!”
Besides the previously listed retail businesses, Fish’n Fash’n tackle jewelry can be purchased on their web site at www.fishinfashion.com.