Give precious one-of-a-kind gifts to remember with Planetjill

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krisrivera100BY KRIS KELLEY RIVERA

It’s that time of year again — when the lists get made, and the gifts get bought. But if you’re like me, it’s not about the mall, but about finding that one of a kind gift that will make someone smile. Here’s an idea—what better way to get a smile, then to give one?  Especially if it’s the smile of a loved one adorned on a sterling silver charm from Planetjill.

Planetjill is that heirloom-quality one-of-a-kind jewelry you’ve seen encircling women’s necks or wrists, or even dangling from a keychain.  It’s all hand-made and can be sterling silver, 14-karat gold, or even diamonds. But the photo charms are what make every piece unique, and what brings tears to eyes of the recipient.

Jill Schiff in her Van Nuys warehouse.

Jill Schiff in her Van Nuys warehouse. Photo: Kris Kelley Rivera

With her company, Planetjill founder Jill Schiff discovered a way to make it easy and beautiful to carry around pictures of special people in our lives. Instead of struggling with inserting photos into ordinary lockets, Planetjill sends the customer a finished piece of photo jewelry that is permanently sealed, and waterproof.

The whole process is easy:  simply choose a piece of jewelry from www.planetjill.com, and Planetjill will personalize with your own photo.  You can email, or mail a photo of any size or color, and Planetjill will shrink it to the appropriate size, and make sure it fits perfectly in the charm, keychain, or cufflink of your choice.  Your photo will then be permanently sealed in place for a lasting, waterproof result.  The process, start to finish, takes about two weeks or just three days if you select a rush.

Photo with text charm necklace.

Photo with text charm necklace are very popular.

Schiff, a Studio City resident and the mother of two daughters, founded the company in 2002.  A former fifth grade teacher she says she was looking to “make things from home after the kids were born.”  She tried her hand at a baby bag and bib company, as well as a cookie dough venture before starting Planetjill. Merging her hobby as a photographer with a jewelry idea, Schiff came up with the photo charm concept.

Locket, made famous by Jennifer Garner.

N19 two-piece locket, made famous by Jennifer Garner.

With her daughters serving as models, she took photos on the living room floor. She then printed and cut out tiny photos, and then worked on perfecting the process.  Her necklace charm was noticed by friends, who wanted one of their own– suddenly she was off and running.  For years Planetjill was run out of a garage studio, functioning mainly by word of mouth.  Schiff  then had the  idea of sending business cards in the beautifully wrapped gift boxes, so that customers would help spread the word.  It obviously paid off.  Three years ago the company outgrew the garage space, and moved into a Van Nuys warehouse.

Women working on boxing jewelry in warehouse. Photo: Kris

Women working on boxing jewelry in warehouse. Photo: Kris Kelley Rivera

On the day I visited, the warehouse was already bustling with holiday orders. Women were polishing photo ornaments and boxing them to be shipped out. Currently Planetjill has about twelve regular employees and contracts out when needed .  Whereas in the past she sometimes worked overnight to get her orders out, Schiff says, “Now I’m designing the jewelry. I get to have fun with the products, study trends and decide what we want to do next.”  Nearly eight years after its inception, Planetjill has made more than 60,000 pieces of jewelry.

Although there are companies that try to copy the jewelry, Schiff says, “Our uniqueness is in the design.”  She says she tries to make the pieces “timeless, but at the same time a little fresh.”  She’s also broadened the line to include other personalized jewelry and gifts, including items for men and the home. This includes paperweights, cuff links, and photo bookmarks.  There are also, initial charms, and monograms.  Schiff says, “The combination of text and photo is very hot right now.”

Earrings. Photo: Kris Riviera

Beaded Circle Earrings $38.

One of the most popular items is the N19 two-piece locket with scripted coin, made famous by actress Jennifer Garner, and featured in People Magazine.  Another big draw, Schiff says, is the ‘build-it’ line, where one can choose chains, and all combinations of charms, and “really go to town.”

Necklace.

Green amethyst teardrop necklace with offset baby pearls $60

Price points start as low as $24 dollars for small charms, and go up depending on the number of photo charms, or material.  The highest priced item in the catalogue– a 14k gold and diamond double-linked bracelet with diamond square photo charms runs $3,885.  Schiff says she is wowed and feels very lucky for Planetjill’s success.

Always the entrepreneur, Schiff has recently started another company– this time pairing up with Razor U.S.A founder Carlton Calvin.  The company, Lucky Feather, is a wholesale jewelry and accessories line.  About this line Schiff says, “It’s about creating high-end looking jewelry at a low price,” and having fun doing it.  One of the things they’ve created is a do-it-yourself type photo kit, where you can buy everything you need to make your own photo charm.  Another favorite is the “Pretty Moon” line, which has jewelry with inspirational charms on graphic cards. These items retail under twenty dollars. Locally, Lucky Feather can be found at Emerald Forest, in Studio City.

Charm bracelet being assembled. Photo: Kris Riviera

Charm bracelet being assembled. Photo: Kris Kelley Riviera

Planetjill supports numerous charities, and donates 50% of the purchase price of any of the ‘Planetjill Cares’ items. ‘Planetjill in Pink’ items include special earrings, charms and bracelets with pink tourmaline or sapphires, as well as special ‘Hope’ bracelets.  20% of the purchase price of these items is donated to the ‘Save the Ta-Tas’ foundation.

To view the entire Planetjill collection visit the website at www.planetjill.com. The website also has links for storeowners or interested sales representatives. ATTENTION: MY DAILY FIND READERS RECEIVE  A 20 % DISCOUNT THROUGH DECEMBER 10. ENTER  CODE:  MDFPJ  WITH YOUR ORDER!

Kris Kelley Rivera is a former television news writer and producer, and the mother of two boys. She lives in Studio City.

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

  • http://www.jenevansgardner.com Jennifer

    Great article, Kris! I love PlanetJill!

  • Willa Seidenberg

    NICE job on the article. I’m sold and what a great story of a mom making a business work.

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