With everyone looking to stand out from the crowd in the jewelry field these days, Imperial Manufacturing of Lakewood, WI, may have hit upon two winning formulas. The company produces the bulk of its line in 100% lead-free pewter, and all of its materials and manufacturing are U.S. based. “My dad started the company out of his garage back in 1975,” says T.J. Kerscher, now owner and CEO. “He started with the highest grade pewter, which we still use today. There’s no lead, and it’s totally compliant with all laws,” he adds. There used to be a number of pewter based jewelry companies in the U.S., but even though there is only a handful left, Kerscher believes his company is the leader because all his operations are based here in the states.
“A lot of companies import from overseas, and even if they claim their product is lead-free, you really have no way of knowing for sure,” he says. “Because we buy all our raw materials here, we know what we’re getting. We also manufacture from start to finish.” Yet despite the added expense of keeping things close to home, Imperial’s prices are still highly competitive. For example, the company’s Galactic Butterfly pendant wholesales for just 70 cents each, but retailers are getting $3 to $4 for them. Celtic designs are currently a hot seller, as are the classic peace sign medallions and yin and yang symbols. Coming up, Kerscher is planning to expand the company’s line in the new year, including a new line of “phrase” pendants, as well as adding colored epoxy for wristbands and bracelets. Imperial is also designing new POP displays to go along with its expanded line.
“We’re staying ahead of the curve,” Kerscher says. “We’re on the Internet nonstop to keep up with the latest trends for teens, as well as attending as many trade shows as we can.” Whatever he’s doing must be working. “We’re seeing an uptick in business,” Kerscher says. “The year started slow, but fall has been super for Imperial.”
–Rory J. Thompson
For More Information:
14502 Resort Lane
Lakewood, WI 54138
Toll Free: 800-976-7865