It’s a Treasure – Unique Jewelry (Evelyn Simon and Shula Brown)

Evelyn Simon and Shula Brown welcome you to It’s A Treasure, the jewelry business which we formed about 14 years ago.  Our website and shows feature unique and affordable jewelry, with each piece individually selected by us on trips to Asia or other parts of the world. Most of the pieces are one-of-a-kind and a number of them are referred to as “statement jewelry”. Many of our customers can identify a piece from It’s A Treasure because of its unusual, but elegant, design and because of its unique and distinct style.

Most of the items we sell are made of sterling silver, genuine pearls and semi-precious and precious stones.    We design many of the pieces ourselves, going directly to manufacturers and merchants in Asia.  We have become friends with a number of our suppliers because of the unique way in which we select components for our merchandise and because of the time it takes together for design (and because we are naturally friendly and fun to deal with!!).



So, how did all of this begin?

“If you want to really enjoy your retirement, make sure you have a hobby,” Evelyn and Shula were told one day in 2000, and it certainly sounded like a good idea.

But, they pondered, what should the hobby be?

Golf? No way.

Bridge? Mahjong? Not exciting enough.

Quilt-making? Mmm…probably not.

What then?

How about something that involves travel and jewelry? Now you’re talking…that’s it. But before they got too carried away, Evelyn and Shula realized there was just one little problem with their choice of hobby: It could get terribly expensive, maybe even too expensive to maintain…unless, of course, the travel could somehow pay for itself.

Pay for itself? How could that be possible? “There just might be a way,” they said to each other…

Shula and Evelyn had each already traveled a lot in their lives – sometimes with husbands Ken and Fred and other times without. Much of that travel had been in Asia, where they always were captivated by, among other things, the beauty and variety of the jewelry. When they were making those trips, though, some friend or acquaintance would more often than not ask one of them to bring back something that person had admired. “Can you bring me one of those from Thailand…?” Or, “Next time you’re in China, please get me…”

“There’s the opportunity,” explained Evelyn. “Next time one of us is in Asia, we invest a little money, buy some jewelry, etc., that we like and that we could sell at reasonable prices back here in the US. We start a little company…and we just see how it goes.”

The two ladies were very well matched to the task, and not only because of their enthusiasm. Evelyn had spent a number of years negotiating and operating business ventures in Asia, especially in China. She had thus become familiar with China and its business culture, and she was already a tenacious bargainer. Shula had more than 20 years of experience in the jewelry trade, and she and Ken had lived in Bangkok for three years. So she knew people and places, as well as something of the Thai ways of doing business.

And so the plan was launched. “It’s A Treasure!” was chosen and registered as the business name. Then, on her next trip to China, Evelyn spent…well, let’s just say well in excess of the duty free allowance, to bring back the new company’s first merchandise.

It’s A Treasure! made its public debut a few weeks later at a charity boutique sale and was an instant success.

Today, Evelyn and Shula are making annual buying trips to China and Thailand. They scour the markets for interesting finds, design many of the beautiful pieces themselves and have them manufactured by their now familiar sources in those countries, and they have been known to come back with as many as eleven pieces of checked baggage!!

And, after each trip, the 1300 regular and loyal customers in Michigan on the It’s A Treasure! mailing list are soon knocking on the door to see and buy the newest items from the collection.

Ask Evelyn and Shula what happened to their retirement now that they are running this sizable business, and they will tell you, “No, no, we’re still retired…but our hobby got bigger.”

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