Cousins say the
jewelry they sell
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PHOTO BY GLENN Tfl I EST
SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS
Stephanie Zaft and Judy Rosen.
usan Richards has worn a Star of David for
many years. Last year, she began wear-
ing an amulet as well. The star is to let
people know she is proud to be Jewish. The
amulet is worn hi hopes it will help bring
her health and vitality.
Diagnosed with breast cancer and fac-
ing surgery and chemotherapy, Ms.
Richards was given the charm by two close
"I went through a mastectomy and chemo,
and I'm doing wonderfully," Ms. Richards
said. "The amulet gave me a little more to
think about and believe in and seemed to give
me energy. Perhaps the good feeling came
from both the amulet and believing in the
Ms. Richards decided she wanted to share
her sense of well-being by giving away other
kinds of trinkets purported to channel mag-
ical powers. She bought one for her broth-
er-in-law to bring him success in a new
business and another for a son to bring him
success in school.
Ms. Richards got her pieces of jewelry —
the gift for herself and the gifts for others
— from Stephanie Zaft and Judy Rosen,
whose business is S & J Mystical Creations
The partners are importers, wholesalers
and distributors of copper and brass amulets,
talismans and other jewelry sold with the
claim they can empower people along very
Sellers maintain that the magic comes
from the way the designs are made and a rit-
ual that transfers positive energy between
the jewelry and the wearer and forms a link
with cosmic forces.
Amulets are sold as ways to give protec-
tion, while talismans are sold as ways to
achieve specific purposes such as surmount-
ing obstacles, developing intellect and pro-
viding happy events. They are commonly
made into necklaces or simply carried in pock-
Ms. Zaft and Ms. Rosen, who maintain that
variations of these kinds of objects are part
of mystical Judaism going back thousands of
years, quote retail prices ranging from $15
The two cousins say they invested in what
they term self-empowerment jewelry for
themselves before they invested in the busi-
ness of self-empowerment jewelry. ,
"I was the type of person who never had
ambition," Ms. Zaft said. "I was always wan-
dering, going from one career to another.
When I discovered the talisman for fulfilling
ambitions and achieving success, I started
"I started the business wearing it and felt
ambitious and driven. That's why I say these
really work on the people wearing them.
They're actually internalizing the messages,
maybe in their psyche.
"Whatever way they work, they are really
magical, making people do what they need
to do in life."
The women became interested in the
charms during a trip to England in the sum-
mer of 1992. Ms. Zaft, who had been explor-
ing mystical theories and was reading tarot
cards, was looking for a shop that carried
items associated with her way of thinking.
"We went to a New Age store, and the first
thing we saw were the talismans," said Ms.
Rosen, who was drawn to a charm that was
to be worn for success in work and trade. "I
felt that if I, as an average person, was at-
tracted to them, they might just sell in Amer-
After the women purchased the jewelry for
themselves, they asked for the name and ad-
dress of the firm that sold the line. When they
returned to America, they made their con-
tact and negotiated to be the exclusive U.S.
sellers of the crafted-in-Poland items.
With a $1,400 joint investment, the women
began testing the market in October of 1992
while working out of a home office. Their ear-
ly customers were people who operated New
Age stores, which appeal to individuals who
believe in magical, metaphysical and occult
While Ms. Rosen continued working for an
insurance company, Ms. Zaft left her mani-
curist job to devote herself full-time to mar-
keting the products.
"It took us 14 months to build the busi-
ness," Ms, Zaft said. "In March of 1993, I was
able to sell to a chain of stores out West. I
went there, and I got the account. Judy got a
chain of stores in New York working by
As a marketing tool, the two use a book
that lists close to 4,000 New Age stores across
the United States —New Marketing Oppor-
tunities. They advertised in New Age Retail-
In January of this year, the partners
opened their Southfield office, devoting them-
selves full time to getting their firm off the
ground. During the first six months of 1994,
they reported gross sales amounting to
$45,000, which was what they reported for
the previous 12 months.
What they consider a big triumph is their
inclusion in a mail- order catalogue — Win-
ners. Locally, they sell to Barbara's Art Cen-
ter in the Orchard Mall.
The partners think it is important to look
for new products to offer and soon will pro-
mote Sibyls, charms designed and made in
England and marketed as giving self-em-
powerment to women.
"We are not selling miracles," Ms. Rosen
asserted. "We are saying that people need to