Southwest Wake News

Apex’s Moon and Lola’s cuff links land on Oprah Winfrey’s “Favorite Things” list

Moon and Lola’s monogrammed cuff links.
Moon and Lola’s monogrammed cuff links.

At the Apex studio of jeweler Moon and Lola, production has gone into overdrive, and every employee has been called in to create and package the jeweler’s signature cuff links.

That’s what happens when someone like Oprah Winfrey gives her stamp of approval to your product. In this case, the colorful monogrammed cuff links ended up on Winfrey’s 72-item “Favorite Things” holiday list. That meant an appearance in O magazine and a feature on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“We did a month’s worth of business in a day,” said Kelly Shatat, Moon and Lola’s founder and chief executive officer, after the cuff links appeared on the morning show’s “Deals and Steals” segment earlier this month.

The retail coup has been on Shatat’s bucket list since she launched the store about a decade ago.

And it’s the type of moment that has helped build Moon and Lola from jewelry made in Shatat’s home to a brand manufacturing and shipping seasonal collections to more than 1,000 stores, including Nieman Marcus and Nordstrom.

“Blessing after blessing,” said Shatat, 43.

Shatat, a Raleigh native and graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, started fiddling with crafts after transitioning from pharmacy sales to retail pharmacist and then working for Central Regional Hospital in Butner. The work was so straightforward that her creativity had to be fed with jewelry making and painting chairs, she said.

In October 2003, a friend asked Shatat to sell her products at a holiday show in Greenville, and Moon and Lola was born. Shatat sold out of about 100 pieces, which included strings of pearls tied together with a colorful ribbon.

Shatat continued to make jewelry on her dining room table, and carried a little green suitcase of inventory from store to store and enlisted pharmacy technicians to help her fill orders at night.

In 2005, Shatat attended her first accessories show in New York City. She found that a difference between her and others companies was that celebrities were wearing their inventory.

While in New York, an idea popped into Shatat’s head in the first half of the New York City Broadway show “Sweet Charity” starring Christina Applegate.

“I wonder if I give it to somebody who works here, if they will give it to (Applegate), and she’ll wear it, and then I’ll have a celebrity that wore my jewelry,” she wondered.

After making initial inquiries during intermission, Shatat ended up personally delivering earrings and a necklace, which she just happened to have in her purse, to Applegate after the show. The actress immediately put on the necklace and wore the earrings to at least five red carpet events that followed the spring 2005 meeting, Shatat said.

Soon after, Shatat sought out a publicist to help her get products in magazines, which in turn increased her client base.

In 2007, Moon and Lola moved to a small space in Apex, followed by two more moves before landing at its current 3,000-square-foot production and office space. While Shatat had cut down on her hours as a pharmacist, she stopped practicing in January 2011 and put all of her energy into her company.

Moon and Lola opened a store in downtown Raleigh in 2012 and one in Charleston a year later. The company opened a third location in downtown Apex earlier this year.

Moon and Lola’s jewelry ranges from $8 for a charm to $13,000 for a diamond monogrammed necklace, but the company’s sweet spot is jewelry that runs between $38 and $78, she said.

Shatat said they started making the cuff links to appeal to men shopping in the Charleston area.

Moon and Lola ended up on Winfrey’s list after Shatat’s publicist set up meetings with magazine editors in New York City in August. An editor at “O” liked the cuff links and asked Shatat if she could send more.

“ ‘Yes,’ ” Shatat responded. “ ‘What’s Oprah’s favorite color?’ ”

To be featured on Good Morning America’s “Deals and Steals,” Shatat agreed to build a temporary website, which would sell the cufflinks, normally priced at $68, for a 50-percent discount for 24 hours.

“Everyone loves a monogram,” said Adam Glassman, creative director of O, while highlighting the cuff links and four other products from Winfrey’s list on “Good Morning America.” “You can get them in 32 different colors and silver and gold.”