Up-Close with Jewels of the Orient

Over the weekend, we sat down with Hillary Kierspe, a sophomore at Furman University, who owns her own at-home business that specializes in pearl-based jewelry from China, to discuss her business and the fashion trends in China.

Alexander’s Eyes: First off, tell us about your company.

Hillary Kierspe: My company is a home-based jewelry business. I am connected to a Chinese jewelry store in Beijing, which is where I get my stock. I focus mainly on pearl-based jewelry, but also have a few interest pieces that are non-pearl related.

AE: You work with your brother; how is working with a sibling?

HK: Originally, we worked together in the company… [We worked] together for part of last year… but now my brother, Caleb, is [now a salesman for] Amway Global… He focuses mainly on selling healthy energy drinks and meal bars to students at Furman.

AE: What inspired you to establish your home business, Oriental Connection?

HK: Another girl who grew up in China originally inspired me. She and her sister established their own business and were able to get quite a large clientele. I decided, while still in high school, that when I returned to America for college, I would do the same thing.

AE: You lived in China because of your parents’ occupation. How would you compare Chinese fashion and jewelry to American trends?

HK: I would say that Chinese fashion is uniquely different from American fashion. There is no set “fashion,” so things turn out much more interesting. I love seeing the different outfits that they come up with; they tend to like sparkles and animal prints [and bright colors]. As far as jewelry goes, the most notable things are the earrings.

AE: What’s a Chinese trend in jewelry that you would like to see carry over into American and European jewelry?

HK: I think that right now, China is trying to emulate American and European jewelry and fashion. [However,] I would say [that I would like to see the Chinese’s] willingness to try anything in jewelry [be transferred over]. When looking for new stock, I see things that are strange, but beautiful in their uniqueness. They have all sorts of interesting earrings, like hamburger earrings, or earrings where one is a little shirt and the other is a pair of pants. Some are quite cool, made of wires and beads, others are cheesy and plastic, but all are interesting!

AE: Out of everything you’ve sold, what has been your favorite piece?

HK: I think that my favorite piece would have to be a Five Strand Black Pearl Necklace with a beautiful flower clasp and a matching set of earrings.

To contact Hillary and to view merchandise, please visit her Facebook page.

Blame the Pants

Here’s one solid reason why you shouldn’t judge your weight or size on the measurements of clothing… Manufacturers can be flat-out liars!

On Esquire‘s blog, a survey was taken and found that there was a 5 inch difference between the seven 36″ waist pants they tested!

The retailers want you to feel a certain way in their pants. If they want you to feel skinnier, they are more generous in the waist line; Others encourage you to lose weight because the tightness of their pants suggest you are overweight.

My advice would to be conscious of your body and be courageous when it comes to shopping for clothes; don’t be afraid to try the next size up! It might not be you! It could be the pants!

Sources: 1 2

Cosmo Hair

Cosmopolitan.com features beauty tutorials and recently, they have posted many videos on different hairdos. I decided to try some of them out since I love doing my hair. Here’s what I learned from them.

The Beachy Look – I was eager to try this one out because I had never seen the technique they use to get those soft beachy curls. In the tutorial, they instruct you to twist the hair into sections. (It’s kind of fun because you look like you have dreadlocks for a while.) When I tired it, you really have to do small sections, about an inch or so. Otherwise, it won’t work as well and just look messy. To help maintain the curl when you loosen them, spray hairspray on them.


Teasing – I owe much to this tutorial because it answered my hair teasing problems. After teasing the back sections of my hair, I could never smooth the hair down without taking the volume out. The hairstylist in the video shows you how to use the side of your brush to smooth the hair over the volume.


Volume – All the hairdressers I’ve been too and all the tips I’ve read online have said to blow dry your hair upside down to get fuller hair. Well, in fact this Cosmo method is a much more effective way to get volume.


We Prefer No Logos!

Consumer research has shown that low and high prices items have something shockingly in common. They both have less obvious logos or brand markers. In the high-end fashion world, designers tend to use discreet markers to identify their collections through intricate design. They want to be recognizable to the elite group who can recognize the high status of the product; designers want to avoid obvious advertising to the mainstream. For example, fashion students, over regular students, tend to choose products with subtle signals than products with the logo on it. Yet, the elites don’t have a dislike for logos, says assistant professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania, Jonah Berger. They avoid them “in identity-relevant domains to distinguish themselves from mainstream consumers who buy such products to show they’ve made it.”

I find this research applicable in my own life. Before I got “in-the-know” in the fashion world, I was always gravitated towards products that had large Juicy Couture or Chanel logos on them. Now being involved in the fashion world, I look for products that are more intricate and finely made. I feel it also more rewarding to say, “Oh, it’s BCBG!” when someone admires my dress than having BCBG written all over my bag. However, I can never part with my Pink clothes from Victoria’s Secret! I am obsessed with their logo-ridden products!

Source: 1

Girl, What You Got!?

When I logged into WordPress this morning, I was poking around the new posts on the home page. One of them instantly caught my eye because it featured a picture of my role model and idol, Audrey Hepburn, with the tag line “Dress for Success.” Instinctively, I clicked on it.

The post was written by blogger, Gregg Hake, who writes about “observations in [his] life.” In his post, he discusses his concept of dress and effective ways to dress for work. One of the lines from his short article stuck out to me.

Hake writes… Continue reading

Back on Track!


I apologize for the long delay in posts! There was an error with my WordPress and it wouldn’t let me post new entries. I had to e-mail WordPress about the mistake and thanks to Anthony, the site is fixed! There will be updates soon, but if this happens again, keep up with all the fashion news on The Cut. It’s one of my favorite news sites! Check it out and stay tuned, my loves!


Can’t Touch This!

There’s more than just an aesthetic reason for why the cashmere sweaters are on the display tables close to your reach. It’s because the retailers want you to touch it. Studies have shown that if you touch something, you more likely to purchase it. So beware: if you don’t plan on buying something, don’t touch it!

If this is the case, then it explains a lot about me and my spending! I love to touch everything in stores! I always get evil glances from the sales associates in Nordstrom and Bloomingdales; but in reality, I am increases their chances of then making a sale!

I think from now on to reduce my spending, I am going to go shopping handcuffed!

Source: 1