"Like a charm
Local pair’s jewelry quickly becoming an art-shop sensation"
The Columbus Dispatch, front page of Business section
April 3, 2007
By Tracy Turner
Doug Motz and Todd Popp hard at work in the studio.
Photo: Jeff Hinckley, Dispatch Photos
What began as a homemade gift for a family member to commemorate a vacation has become a bonanza for a pair of Columbus designers and artists.
Doug Motz and his partner, Todd Popp, wanted to create a piece of art that could be worn by their relatives and show how much they enjoyed a recent trip. The duo took a combination of polymer clay, hand-dropped glass and digital images and created bracelets featuring scenes from their excursion.
The design was so admired by the relatives that the two created more pieces for them and friends. Soon, the jewelry caught the eye of others, who wanted similar pieces fashioned.
The result is a line of jewelry that’s drawn a following of pop-culture aficionados. Their homebased business, PoMo, now makes handmade bracelets, earrings and pendants that are sold at art galleries and jewelry and craft stores.
They also crafted, as a gift, a personalized piece for singer Cyndi Lauper, who admired it so much that she’s commissioned 100 of them for her upcoming True Colors tour.
The tour begins June 8 in Las Vegas. The scheduled performances closest to Columbus are June 12 in Chicago and June 17 in Washington.
The jewelry designers had no idea they’d stumbled onto a winning combination.
"Our goal was to make pieces for our friends and family, so to have it grow into a company with jewelry worn by so many people is way beyond anything we dreamed of," Motz said. "It’s so humbling."
The bracelets, earrings and pendants sparkle in vibrant reds, pinks, dark browns, swirls of bronze and green, and traditional black.
They still make the jewelry in their home, but it’s sold online and at several retail locations, including the Columbus Museum of Art shop, Helen Winnemore’s German Village craft store and Duck Soup, a retro and pop-culture shop in Los Angeles.
The pendants start at $25, earrings at $30 and bangles at $65. Each piece can be customized with personal images.
The jewelry also is a big seller at the Sherrie Gallerie, according to Sherrie Hawk, who owns the Short North shop on N. High Street.
Hawk sells pieces typically featuring images of works by such artists as Andy Warhol and Gustav Klimt. She said she takes the products with her when she attends art shows around the country, where the response to the pieces is strong.
"The attraction is the detailing, people find themselves drawn into them," Hawk said. "I’m very proud to have the work in the gallery. It’s very creative and a beautiful expression of our culture."
Experience Columbus employees wear the bracelets as a marketing tool, spokeswoman Patty Geiger said. PoMo created several bracelets with the Experience Columbus logo that "captures people’s attention to Columbus," she said.
"The detail, intricacy and personalized images help us to communicate our message in a fun, subtle, attention-getting way," she said.
The bracelets have become so effective at promotions that Experience Columbus often includes them in packages sent to groups who are considering Columbus for a convention location, she said.
Motz and Popp said they aren’t sure how large their company could become, but they plan to continue to make each piece customized and by hand.
"It’s so nice to take this clay, glass and images and make it into something that makes other people feel so good," Popp said. "Our goal isn’t financial, but to continue making things that people can love."