CJS’ Baubles, Bangels, Beads a Designer’s Kismet

Accessories Directions' F/W 2011 palette of bead/findings from the source: CJS Sales

Accessories Directions' F/W 2011 palette of bead/findings from the source: CJS Sales

New York—All those “baubles, bangles, bright, shiny beads, sparkles, spangles,” that make designers’ hearts “sing, sing-a-ling-a” may likely come from one of New York’s best kept secrets, CJS Sales.

While many retailers and consumers may have never heard of this landmark bead and bauble warehouse, rest assured anyone who has ever seen designers’ creations on this week’s runway, in photo shoots or in jewelry cases, has seen the sparkling results from CJS’ dizzying array of beads, findings and crystals.

Nestled in a 5,000-square-foot warehouse situated in the accessories and trim district in midtown Manhattan, CJS boasts one of the world’s largest collections of vintage closeout beads, craft and jewelry part supplies such as rhinestones, pressed glass cabochons and stones, findings, filigree, wood, plastic beads/parts, Bakelite, chain, nail heads, Lucite, Swarovski, cameos, seed beads, Venetian one hole beads/cabs, chandelier parts, freshwater and faux pearls etc.

A look into the canyons of 12-foot plus high stacks of boxes that contain CJS’ inventory is an immediate signal that this is no place for amateurs. “It’s a warehouse and unless you know what you are looking at it can be very overwhelming–but if you are an experienced buyer–and willing to dig and get dirty you will be in heaven!” says Carl Schimel, founder/owner with his daughter Elyse Schimel, who shepard seasoned and up-and-coming designers through their cavernous archives.

‘The Lesage of Beads’

Carl Schimel, one of the founders of Kim Craftsmen, a leading costume jewelry company for nearly 50 years, couldn’t stay away from jewelry after he closed the company in 1997. “I didn’t like how corporate the jewelry business became,” Schimel says. “I much preferred dealing one on one with creative people.”

Much the way Paris-based Lesage is to embroidery and embellishment, Schimel built up a following among designers who seek out unusual, exotic and vintage beads and other elements, many no longer even in production. As his clientele grew through word of mouth, Elyse Schimel, a Wharton graduate with a doctorate in psychology, came in to help out. “Elyse connected with a whole new generation of clients” including couturiers, interior designers, costumers and artists, Schimel says.

Like leather or fabric suppliers who get the inside scoop of what’s coming next in apparel, handbags and footwear, the Schimels have an inside track on what will be seen on Fall/Winter 2011 runways—and beyond.

“We don’t talk about what our clients buy though since many beads or jewelry parts are exclusive to them,” says Elyse Schimel, invoking a supplier/designer privilege.

Nonetheless, says Carl Schimel, “We do get a thrill though when we see some of our vintage beads or other elements incorporated into the latest designs on the runway or in photo shoots.”  For more information on CJS wholesale only, call 212-244-1400. www.CJSSales

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