Jewelry with a Cause

By Mackenzie Hurlbert

Peaceful VillageBased out of Minnesota, Peaceful Village Imports was started in 1994 by Andy Meyer and his family. Since then, the business has grown into a nationwide wholesale supplier of jewelry and fashion accessories. Today Peaceful Village sells an array of rings, bracelets, hair accessories, and more, but in 1994, the idea for the business stemmed from Meyer’s time in the Peace Corps. “After my volunteer experience in Thailand,” said Meyer, “I began to import handcrafts and jewelry made by some of the villagers in my community.”

Meyer continued the business after his tour as a way of furthering his service. “One part of my service with the Peace Corps was to support and promote small businesses.  The import business continued that aspect of service,” he said. “My business will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year.”

Peaceful Village Imports still holds true to their roots by embracing their name and their original crafters and jewelers. The name Peaceful Village Imports holds meaning for Meyer. “The ‘Peaceful’ part of the name came from my association with the Peace Corps.  The ‘Village’ part helps to convey that we work with small businesses (not exclusively), which are an important part of what we do. Some of the communities we support have little options for income. Many of them are agrarian. They get hit hard when the weather is bad and the crop output is poor. The small businesses producing crafts or jewelry provide needed revenue.”

Once Meyer has purchased his products, his next step is finding stores to carry it. “My main goal is to find a match for our products. I am a soft sell and do not use any pressure tactics. I usually just provide information about the products. To a certain extent, I believe the product should be able to sell itself,” Meyer said. “The customer should be able to see the potential. I want them to be excited when their order arrives. Most importantly, I want our customers to feel that we are in essence a partnership.  We will always support them and are deeply invested in their success.”

Peaceful VillagePeaceful Village Imports continues to find new stores for their products and suppliers, but the changing commercial landscape has kept the business on its toes. “I think the biggest challenge today is finding a place in the rapidly changing marketplace,” Meyer said. “Brick and mortar stores continue to suffer as E-commerce captures more business. Evolving with the changes will determine future success.”

Since its beginning, Peaceful Village Imports has expanded their product lines, but their main focus is still bracelets, rings, necklaces, and anklets. “Jewelry has been our main offering from the beginning,” said Meyer. “We have many different types for children as well as adults.”

Meyer said his most popular products include sterling silver, magnetic, and leather jewelry. “Some of our most popular products are necklace and earring sets, sterling silver earrings and toe rings, magnetic jewelry, leather jewelry and friendship bracelets.” The business also carries a variety of accessories such as shawls, scarves, belts, and key chains. “Our stretch cloth head bands are definitely our hottest item this time of year. They are in almost every order that is shipped.”

Along with hair accessories, Meyer has seen a rise in demand for nature-centric designs. “This year symbols like wings, arrow, wishbone, feathers, leaves and trees are especially popular,” he said. “Silver continues to be our best metal color. For scarves, the infinity style has been huge, and distressed fabrics do very well.”

Looking to the future, Meyer hopes for growth and continued success: “My hope is we will continue our relationships with our customers by providing quality products at really great prices. I also hope to reach more customers as we expand our product line.”