DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Inside Waikiki's Silver Star boutique, Deidre Garland of Sachi Designs shows two iPods personalized with Swarovski crystals. Garland glues the crystals on shoes, belt buckles that come with a belt, and cell phones.
Sachi Designs adds crystals to everything from phones to boots
IN an era of more -- more people, more color, more noise, more graphics -- you gotta admit, it's pretty hard for any individual to stand out from the crowd and the raucous backdrop of urban life.
There's nothing like a little sparkle to catch the eye and in contemporary thinking if a little is good, a lot is better.
So it's no wonder bling is big. Swarovski crystals or their imitations now grace products from jeans to handbags to T-shirts. And while the mother of crystal-encrusted minaudieres, Judith Leiber, creates charming and dazzling masterpieces that sell for $1,000 and up, artistic souls such as Deidre Garland of Sachi Designs have found a new calling in putting a shine on such everyday, tote-able totems as Razrs and iPods.
"I started with my own phone and it grew from there," said Garland. "It's the sparkling that everyone notices and they have to have."
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Shown here is a pair of blinged Nike boots with a geisha design and a collection of belt buckles.
She knows because she's been there. When watching an episode of "Sex and the City" about two years ago, she noticed the light pink crystal-studded cell phone that Sarah Jessica Parker's character Carrie pulled out every now and then.
"I thought, 'I want to try that,' " Garland said. "I tried every type of glue. It took me about a year to find something that worked. Regular craft glue just doesn't hold because you handle it so much, the crystals just come off."
These days, she's so confident in her creations that she guarantees her work. If any of the Swarovski crystals come off, she'll replace them.
Because of the hands-on nature of the work, adding bling to your favorite things doesn't come cheap. Bejeweling the smallest of the iPods, the Nano, runs $200 to $300. Work on a cell phone runs $325 to $400.
Garland has added the crystal touch to items as large as mailboxes and an Apple iBook, and as personal as a diabetes monitor.
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Val Hirata of Creations by You used multi-colored handset Swarovski crystal stones to decorate her daughter's jeans for approximately $12 to 15. See Trendy Rhinestones
In addition to the custom designs, a few smaller Sachi Designs items can be found at Silver Star, a boutique at the corner of Kuhio and Royal Hawaiian avenues in Waikiki, where blinged dog tags sell for $49, wearable pacifiers go for $27, and belts are $149. Custom work also can be ordered through the shop.
Although Garland started doing simple blocked color and geometric designs, her work has evolved to include complex Asian dragon, floral and tattoo motifs. She also works with two artists, Mariko Merritt and Dhyana Zagri, to help clients customize their designs.
The timing of this new endeavor worked out well for Garland, a former personal trainer and dancer who was working for a cardiologist before giving birth to her second son. Now she's able to set her own hours and work at home while caring for her 2- and 4-year-olds.
Most recently, she's focused on accessories such as big Western-style belt buckles and custom athletic shoes and boots. A recent price test on eBay to gauge interest in a pair of athletic shoes led to 4,000 hits from all around the world. A New York buyer paid $475 for a pair, and she expects designs to hit the market soon at $400 to $1,000.
"These will be exclusive designs. Like we'll have seven of the geisha design and that's it," Garland said.