Kimmy A. Taake has a niche business that she’s pretty modest about. The owner of K.A.T. Jewelry Boutique & Gifts in Columbia, which she founded in 2013, works with diamond brokers who provide certified precious stones so she can create engagement rings and other jewelry at cut-rate prices. She doesn’t advertise and most of her business is through referrals.
“If you get a quote from (a chain jewelry retailer) for $10,000 for a ring, I can do at least half on that,” she said from behind the counter of her shop in the Old Distillery shopping center off Main Street in downtown Columbia.
How does she do it? “I don’t have a lot of overhead,” she said. Or any markup, she added. Plus, she doesn’t keep a big inventory and her help is just one person.
“I do this because it’s my passion — and it’s fun,” she said. “I love to work with people who are on a budget.”
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Also, she offers lab-created, hand-cut faux diamonds called Lannyte, which I’m sure, after seeing, could fool anybody but a jeweler with a loop. Kimmy says she’s made engagement rings for couples who choose Lannyte and “it’s a tenth of the cost of the real thing.” Plus, nobody but she and the couple know it’s not a natural diamond.
She also sells a lot of rings with precious, semiprecious and lab-made stones for under $100. And, just in case you still need to order a class ring, ones identical to the big brand name are half the price with her, she says.
Plus, she has some women’s clothing, accessories, fashion jewelry and gifts. Check out the summer clearance for some good deals.
Want to reach Kimmy? Call 618-698-0270 or 618-281-9009. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out Facebook.
I see the light
Gander Mountain in O’Fallon has the coolest lights I’ve ever seen. Called Luci, they are inflatable, completely solar (no batteries), lightweight and waterproof. You can use one as a lantern, flashlight or in an emergency. All are pillar-shaped, collapse down to an inch in depth and provide about seven hours of light on an eight-hour charge in the sun. The Lux versions have a soft glow, perfect for indoors. Outdoor versions are bright and powerful, offering enough light to read and cook by while camping or just outside on the deck. You’ll find a variety of styles and several sizes, with prices from $9.99 to $24.99.
Looking a lot like Halloween
At Home in O’Fallon is well-stocked with spooky stuff, from giant skeletons for the front lawn to more subdued decorator pillows for the sofa. The ones I saw are black with “Happy Halloween” or lacy spiders and bedazzled webs. Prices range from $14.99 to $16.99.
Spooky decorating on the cheap
Dollar Tree is the place to find lots of fun decorations for the front lawn of your haunted house. The area stores carry ghoulish goodies such as foam tombstones, glow-in-the-dark “Keep Out” and other signs, paper pumpkin lanterns and lots more. At these prices, you can stock up.
Michaels in Shiloh is offering its carvable pumpkins at half off now through Saturday. Even better, from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, buy a 9-inch Harvest Market Craft pumpkin for $7 and get the supplies free to personalize it.
At Ulta Beauty in Fairview Heights: If you have a brand name you are loyal to, including Redken, Matrix, Bed Head and Joico, now is the time to stock up. Buy two and get one free of your favorite. No mixing brands, though. Offer good through Saturday.
Mark your calendar
Head to O’Fallon on Oct. 7 and 8 for Memorial Hospital’s Auxiliary’s Unique Boutique. It will be held at it Memorial Health Education Center, 708 E. Highway 50 (across the street from Schnucks). Hours are 2 to 7 p.m. Oct. 7 and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 8. You’ll find a wide variety of crafts and gift items, from handmade tutus for little girls to handwoven baskets. Credit cards will be accepted by most vendors.
Basket Case in Belleville sent me a reminder that the shop is holding a fall Mariana jewelry trunk show Saturday. Spend $150 and get a pair of free earrings or $300 or more and get a free bracelet.