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Carolee

collection jewelry friedlander friedlander’s

B. 1972

Birthplace: Greenwich, Connecticut

Award: National Woman Business Owner of the Year, 1999

Carol Friedlander, founder, president, and chief executive officer of Carolee Designs, has succeeded literally in building a business from the ground up. Friedlander’s jewelry line was originally produced in her home before she launched her collection nationwide in 1985. The costume jewelry line she produces contains signature elements such as synthetic pearls that are so finely crafted as to appear genuine. Friedlander creates this illusion through a lost-wax casting process she employs in the production of each piece, a process which results in the look of fine jewelry.

The Carolee line was launched to the forefront of the costume jewelry industry when Friedlander designed a collection in 1987 based on jewels from the Duchess of Windsor’s collection. This collection brought Carolee to a new prominence in the public eye and allowed her to open her first boutique, located in Short Hill, New Jersey, in 1988. Friedlander’s success continued to grow throughout the early 1990s as she focused her attention on publicity for her company. One of Friedlander promotions was a joint venture with Estée Lauder USA called custom color consultation. The promotion was held at Bloomingdale’s in New York City at the Estée Lauder counter with consultants from both Carolee and Estée Lauder. Consultants worked together to advise customers on techniques for selecting cosmetics and accessories that complement each other. The success of this promotion lead to new, exciting opportunities for Friedlander to expand her business, including entering into a licensing agreement with Ralph Lauren for a line of Polo jewelry to be launched in spring 1995.

Another turning point in Friedlander’s career came in 1996 when she attended a Sotheby’s auction. At the auction she purchased a collection of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s jewelry for $81,000. From this collection, she created a seventeen-piece Carolee collection which virtually replicated the original pieces. After a special unveiling at the New York Bloomingdale’s flagship store, the collection was distributed to other Bloomingdale’s stores across the country. This special collection also inspired Friedlander to expand into fine jewelry. Her new fine jewelry collection includes such materials as freshwater pearls, sterling silver, gold, and hematite.

Friedlander’s company is located in her hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut, with factories in Providence, Rhode Island, and Greenwich, Connecticut. Friedlander produces new collections four times a year which can be purchased at department and specialty stores worldwide. She has also added new product lines to her company including handbags, belts, and small leather goods which are produced by Koret of California.

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