Saturday, July 25, 2009

We'll be in Toronto our own jewelry show

We're preparing for our first jewelry trunk show in Toronto at a retail store, Avenue Couture, in the fancy Yorkville section of Toronto. This is exciting because it will be the first show handled by our new Director of Sales and Marketing based in New York, Marlene. She's been doing a great job so far and I'm quite confident she will represent the Liz Mannette brand well in Toronto.

With the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of visitors going to Toronto for Caribana, we are certain that those who love steelpan music will be happy to know they can finally buy the pieces in Toronto.

So this is the beginning of our trunk shows - where we go to a store or area, for a few days and display the Collection. This is all a prelude to a permanent location serving the folks in Canada. So stay tuned for more.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July to all our steelpan players and supporters in the United States. It's a great day to celebrate your country.

Speaking of celebrating, I'm celebrating that we have a new Director of Sales and Marketing, Marlene, based in New York. Marlene is a jewelry and fashion industry veteran, who happens to be from the Caribbean, so she is quite familiar with steelband music. so we are excitedly looking forward to Marlene driving our sales outreach and marketing campaigns in the times ahead. We're still looking for a Product Development Director with experience in jewelry and fashion product development.

We were also celebrating in New York two weeks ago at the Father's day Panjazz event at Jazz at Lincoln Center. And I was on hand to give a gift of steelpan cufflinks to Caribbean theater and film artist extraordinaire, Geoffrey Holder. The first person to introduce the steelpan to Broadway in 1954 and the first black to win a Tony Award for best director and best costume for his role in The Wiz, Holder was a most fitting recipient for the Panjazz Lifetime Achievement Award.

This month, we're strengthening our social media and online outreach to connect with all those people online, whether on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or LinkedIn, who have an interest in the music and culture of the steelpan, and who are looking for jewelry or accessories to express this interest. So if you are on one of these networks, be sure to search for Liz Mannette and add as a friend, or follow. And if you have any ideas or suggestions for us, please send me an email at

Thursday, June 4, 2009

sending thanks

I just sent thank you emails to all the folks who bought pieces of jewelry in Paris two weeks ago at the PanArt festival. I feel great that I actually was able to get those emails out. Sometimes it's that small follow-up that makes people feel appreciated. And I do appreciate all who purchase items.

Now, the question they all read English. Well. I do hope they find someone to translate for them if they don't.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Steel Pan Jewelry in Paris

It was great to meet all the steelband folks in Paris two weekends ago when I zipped over there for the US Memorial Day Weekend.

This is one of the wonderful things about the steelpan jewelry line: I've been able to meet pan people from around the world. One of the first customers in Europe was Maiko who was my gracious host for the whole weekend. We have pictures together taken at the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and around Paris.

And then we went to a pan jazz cafe where Laurent was playing. And we met-up with the guys from Pamberi Steel ORchestra. It was like a big pan lime outside the jazz club. I can't recall the name of the part of the city, but it is a popular liming (hanging out) spot.

I also met Anita for the first time. Andy Narell's partner, Anita, had purchased steel pan earrings for all the players in their all-female band last year. Finally, we were able to meet and I was able to thank her in person.

The Sunday was the PanArt Festival with about 6 or 7 steel bands from around Paris as well as the guest feature band, Pamberi from the home of steelpan music, Trinidad and Tobago. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and was able to showcase the Liz Mannette line of steel pan accessories at the festival. Thanks to all my new converts.
I have so many thank you emails to send. Clearly pan folks in Paris like the stainless steel ring for men. And the women liked the chain link belt. Need to ensure they can get access to these in Paris.

I was busy tweeting throughout the weekend, as I am now quite hooked on Twitter. You can follow me there

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

where did the time go

I know I've been a bit silent, so here's a brief update on where I've been and what's been happening.

Well, right after Carnival 2009 in Trinidad, I left for Washington DC to take up an appointment as the Special Attache for Energy for the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. Based in the Embassy in Washington DC, I jumped into the world of a diplomat with all my steelpan jewelry hanging right on. This new role has meant that I have to depend on my staff in Trinidad and Tobago, and other support around the world to run and grow the business. And so it has been doing well.

The major news is, as many may know, Trinidad and Tobago was the host of the Fifth Summit of the Americas. Long before I went to DC, several pieces of steelpan jewelry were selected as a gift item for all the 34 heads of Government of countries in the Americas and their spouses.

So, big accomplishment for us. Now all the Presidents and First Ladies of the Americas from Canada all the way down to Argentina and Chile have Liz Mannette pieces. This includes, of course, the famous Obamas. Well US President Obama was in Trinidad, but not Michelle Obama. But as far as we know the gifts went with him.

And, I also got to meet President Obama when he was in Trinidad. Of course, I was wearing my diplomat hat then. And I also met US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and the US Trade Representative, Ambassador Ron Kirk, US Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, and several others of the US delegation. It was a very impressive event. I noticed several first ladies wearing their Liz Mannette brooch in photos of the Summit. Of course, one could not see the cuff links that were worn by the men to determine if it was the Liz Mannette gift. Alas.

So with the Liz Mannette Presidential Gift Set adorning these world leaders, what's next?

The sky's the limit. And we are bringing on a Sales and Marketing Manager soon to handle our international marketing.

As the summer begins in the temperate climates, all the steelpan festivals begin. And we will be right there. Stay tuned for our plans and appearances. This summer we are targeting Europe. Last year we were in the US and Canada. So we're spreading our wings.

Be sure to visit my at twitter, where you can get almost daily updates.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

February - a month of firsts for us

This month, I completed my first exhibition at the National Museum and Art Gallery in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Pulling together that 100 piece Collection curated as Oil, Steel, Style, to link the oil drums foundation of the steelpan and reflect it in my jewelry was a task of joy. And the amazing opening event on Feb 6th made it all worthwhile. We had live models in the historic Museum Courtyard, a video depiction of the oil industry and an interview with Ellie Mannette, all with a gathering of art patrons, fashion industry and steelband supporters.

The full Collection was on display and I also launched a new line: The Pan Racks. This line was built around silver and gold two-toned designs of disassembled pan racks or stands, recreated into jewelry. The pan racks hold and transport the steelpans and they represent such a fundamental part of the entire artform in Trinidad that I wanted to showcase this to the world. More abstract forms define this line. Those pictures will be up soon.

Make no doubt, the Museum exhibition certainly stretched me and all who were working behind the scenes, but this is what we need to do to reach another audience of people. here is a link to some photos and coverage of the show on the Ning community.

All the photos of the new items will be soon on the site, with links to purchase.
We're still in the midst of the biggest steelpan festival in the world - the Trinidad Panorama and Carnival. For the first time, we had a 30 sec ad aired during Panorama, gave a door prize to a lucky patron and sponsored printed programs for the Grand Stand section at the show. Although the Panorama was last Saturday - with a crowd favourite and newcomer to the big band category, Silver Stars, taking the champ trophy, we are still meeting with pannists who are visiting Trinidad. No doubt, all of them are looking for stylish, fashion accessories to take back with them to friends, family and other steel pan players. The drums of steel in the Collection were created for all of them.

So February was a month of firsts for us; Our first Exhibition, and our first major presence at the Panorama. Now we're looking to reach out to the rest of the global steelband community as they get into their festivals and shows around the world.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Stepping into 2009 with Style

This is a new and exciting year for us.
We ended 2008 with a new 40 piece Collection and now we're starting 2009 with great media exposure in the Caribbean. If you're traveling on Caribbean Airlines in Jan and Feb, be sure to look at our 4 minute inflight video. It should be shown on all 1500 flights by Caribbean Airlines throughout the Caribbean and North America.

This should definitely expose lots of business tourists, Trinidadians and other Caribbean people traveling back home, or going overseas to visit, and the leisure traveller into the Caribbean. Added to this, we are looking to expand our distribution this year into more duty free shopping areas in the Caribbean, opening our own Liz Mannette Showroom and connecting more continuously with our customers, in the steel pan music world and where ever they love the rhythms of the steel drums.

Look out for our big upcoming Museum Exhibition in less than 30 days. Now working on curating the entire exhibition with the Museum asst director. This will be my first such Exhibition so it is both exciting and challenging. I think I can say confidently that this will be the first and only steelpan jewelry exhibition in the world. And so it is absolutely necessary that we do it well.

During Carnival we must project another aspect of our creativity to the global community. It's not just the music of the steel pans at Panorama in the Savannah. It's not just the mas on the road on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. It's not just the calypso. Now, it's the fashion and the style.

So let's keep looking good. Keep smiling at the world and be sure to let us know if you saw us on Caribbean Airlines.