Here are five different crystals patterns available for The Paris Bracelet. Susan Fotos said the most popular color so far has not been black but the nude shade known as “pink beige.”
Lemoyne, Pa.--Across the pond it’s known as “Les interchangeables” but here in the United States, Susan Fotos has given it a name as simple as its construction: “The Paris Bracelet.”

The bracelet is the brainchild of Parisian designer Audrey Bot, who started out making bra straps that were indeed interchangeable and eventually arrived at this bracelet: a ribbon made in Japan--the same that is used as trim for a number of high-end clothing lines--set with Swarovski crystals and Elements in Paris.

Like popular lines such as Alex and Ani and Pandora, The Paris has a price point that will draw customers in time and again, retailing for $29 to $59.

“Alex and Ani and these kind of things are really popular, but who’s ever seen something like this?” Fotos asks. “I think this is something no one has had, and I think the time is right to offer something with sparkle, something easy, something fun.”

Fotos, who owns Higashi Jewelry and Eyewear in the Harrisburg, Pa. suburb of Lemoyne, first came across The Paris Bracelet in the summer of 2013 while attending “Who’s Next,” the Paris version of the ENK show.

She says she thought it was “cool” at the time but she wasn’t ready to act. The Euro still was really strong against the dollar and Bot was mobbed at her booth.

On a return trip to Paris, Fotos decided to move forward and placed a $1,200 order for The Paris Bracelet. She sold them all almost immediately, and Bot asked her to take on distribution for the bracelet in the U.S. market.

Since then, Fotos has brought Prime Jewelry Designs on board as her sales representative and has placed The Paris Bracelet at 176 stores. It has performed well there, and has done the same at her Pennsylvania shop.

She says of those stores that have had the bracelet the longest, since around Mother’s Day, 53 percent have re-ordered. In her store, the bracelets are producing repeat business. Mothers are returning to buy additional bracelets for their daughters, or customers are adding to their own collection in different colors.

“I think this could be the next big thing,” she says. “There’s something really that resonates with people.”

The Paris Bracelet is adjustable, which means they can be purchased for little girls performing in ballet recitals as well brides looking for something for their attendants to wear on the big day.

The crystals on the bracelet come with a one-year warranty--if one falls off in that time frame, Bot will replace the entire bracelet at no charge, Fotos says--and the material is color-fast, meaning it can be worn in the ocean or swimming pool without worry. 

Retailers can place opening orders of $600, $800 or $1,000 with Fotos, who says she plans to offer plenty of support. In addition to the sales representation, her husband is joining her to handle shipping and customer service.

Also, retailers will be able to reorder online, at TheParisBracelet.com, but Fotos won’t be selling to online-only retailers. She says while brick-and-mortar retailers that have e-commerce are welcome to add The Paris Bracelet to their online inventory, she doesn’t plan to take it to e-tailers like Amazon.

There are 20 colors and 24 crystal patterns available in the U.S. so far. This Saturday, Fotos will return to Paris to select additional designs for the coming holiday season.

She’s hoping it will be a big one for The Paris here, a market where success lies in differentiation and being able to think outside the box.

Fotos started her store as a place to buy fine pearls but, today, “I go where customers go. They drive the business, and let them drive it. If they want price-point (merchandise), they’re telling you something.”

“Retailers have to be open-minded and try things if they want to stay relevant in this business because it’s hard.”


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