NORWALK, Conn. – Lexi Kaufman and her middle school-age friends once complained that nothing in stores matched their style. Her mother, Shari Kaufman, listened, and now the Norwalk resident has launched a new business to fill the gap.
Kaufman started Sugar Lulu, a brand of do-it-yourself jewelry, room decorations and games aimed at girls ages 8 to 14. Branded kiosks with the line of products have started popping up in stores locally and nationwide.
The co-founder of toy and children’s book line InnovativeKids, Kaufman has taken that company’s focus on hands-on experiences to her new venture. The company’s kits and instructional videos encourage girls to have fun while making their own designs to match their own styles.
“In the time warp of a tween—not a little girl yet not a teenager—rests the desire for fun jewelry, funky room decor and ‘BFF’ games,” Kaufman says in her company's promotional materials.
Kaufman kept her daughter involved with the start of her new business. Lexi and her friends appear in the instructional videos on the Sugar LuLu website, and helped “focus group” the first wave of merchandise. And the company takes its name from a nickname Kaufman gave her daughter as a baby.
The company’s products include “Perfect Pin-Ups,” a decorative chain with pins that allows girls to hang photos or other decorations on their walls, and “Bling String Bead Kits,” individually wrap kits for bracelets or rings. Kaufman says her daughter’s favorite is the “No Rule Jewels,” which allows girls to create their own designs for crystal charms.
Sugar Lulu officially debuted its products at the American International Toy Fair in New York last month. Kaufman reports that she was happy with the response from potential retailers. The company has already made deals with stores from Maine to California.
"Hospital gift shops love the line,” Kaufman says. “The small size of our jewelry kits and portable games are ideal for children stuck in a bed. And our pin ups are perfect to display get well cards."
Sugar Lulu products are available locally at Groove in Westport and Yellow Moon Toy Company in Fairfield. For more information, visit the company’s website.