Founded in 1984, S&A Classic Jewelry was a product of a retail company being frustrated with poor quality.
Donald Sedgwick owned Sedgwick Sales, Inc., a chain of 200 retail costume jewelry stores, operating in shopping malls in 32 states. It operated primarily under the trade names Golden Chain, International, Golden Chain Gang, and Grand Illusions. Its success was based primarily on a higher standard of gold plating than what is customarily offered in costume jewelry.
Standard Gold Electroplate uses a gold plating thickness of 5-7 mils of gold. Golden Chain International prided itself, and boasted about a plating thickness of 50 mils gold. It is substantially more expensive to produce, but the merchandise generally lasts for years, even with every day wear.
After just a few years of operation, Golden Chain International grew from a small handful of shops to over 200. This success was due to an aggressive sales approach, which included educating the customer as to the merits of 50 mils of gold. The average ticket for a gold plated chain was $30 - $40.
When Sedgwick Sales' suppliers began to produce goods that contained an inferior thickness of gold, Sedgwick Sales' modest return rate of 3-5 percent escalated. It was due to this problem of inconsistency that Sedgwick Sales began to produce its own chains under the label, "S&A Wholesale Fashions, Inc." By starting its own wholesale company, Sedgwick could assure its retail company that it would receive the quality that it needed to maintain its high reputation.
At the same time, S&A became one of the nation's leading suppliers of chain, charms, and other costume jewelry.
Within 5 years, annual production of costume jewelry surpassed the $20 million level. The retail chain, though very successful, was bought out by Piercing Pagoda, Inc. in 1997, finally leaving Mr. Sedgwick with the time to dedicate all of his energies to his first love, producing high quality fashion jewelry and "retail quality" customer service for other retailers.
S&A Classic Jewelry now has over 2,000 customers worldwide, ranging from New Zealand to Scotland to the Virgin Islands. However, the majority of its customers are spread fairly evenly among the United States.
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