What a stylish way to start my day, stopping by the Hawthorne headquarters of Island Imports.
I was there for a sneak peek of the Spring Warehouse Sale that kicks off tomorrow.
And let me just say this: You WILL want to go, as youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll soon see.
I have known about the company for awhile Ã¢â‚¬â€ and mentioned their last sale here back in October Ã¢â‚¬â€ but I only had the chance to
“officially” introduce myself back in January at the “New York International Gift Fair”:http://justbrowsing.lohudblogs.com/2007/01/31/in-the-bag-at-the-fair/ down at the Javits Center in New York.
There, I met Harry Haslett, who heads up Island Designs by Harry Haslett and the Christian Livingston Collection, companies under the Island Imports umbrella that are run by Haslett and his mother, Henrietta Porter.
As Haslett told me, although itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a wholesale operation Ã¢â‚¬â€ selling bags, jewelry, scarves and other accessories directly to stores, catalogs and other companies Ã¢â‚¬â€ they open their doors twice a year to the public.
Lucky for us theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re so close by.
Especially since the company is offering their items at prices that I Ã¢â‚¬â€ honestly Ã¢â‚¬â€ could hardly believe.
A pair of earrings, for example, sells wholesale for $18, with a shop selling it for something like $50.
Here, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s $10.
In fact, nothing at the sale is more than $15.
Check out this price sheet from one of the tables:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We just do it to move it,Ã¢â‚¬? Porter says. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The people that come know the value.Ã¢â‚¬?
She explained that a lot of the featured items are last yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s collections (whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s to know?) and samples, as she walked me to the lunch room-turned-showroom.
There were walls filled with bags:
And jewelry, lots of jewelry. Many pieces are sterling, some of it vermeil and lots of are dotted with semi-precious stones.:
Here’s Porter showing me a particularly lovely necklace, one that features amethysts:
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all the result of HaslettÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s world travels. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just back from China and Bangkok, where heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s already selecting pieces for the next collection (evidenced by the grouping of bags in his office).
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s like studying the stock market,Ã¢â‚¬? he says of the process of putting a line together.
And as it is a family business, reinforcements have been brought in. Cynthia Hankin, PorterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s daughter and HaslettÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sister, has come in from Ohio to help with the sale. She says itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s great to spend time with the customers and see what they like or how they use something.
During previous sales, customers have shown her how they use a sarong as a table runner, curtain or even a head wrap.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re getting fashion shows the whole time,Ã¢â‚¬? she says.
HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the Ã¢â‚¬Å“family portrait,Ã¢â‚¬? as those behind Island Imports take a short break.
Come tomorrow, they will probably be too busy!
As you see, the sale will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow and Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. It will be held again, following those same hours, respectively, May 3, 4 and 5.
Find Island Imports at 5F W. Cross St. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s right off the Sprain (take the Route 141/9A exit, the second one for Hawthorne) or via local streets, off Route 9A right down from the Hawthorne post office.
For details call 914-747-1040.