Sunday, June 24 , 2018, 9:04 pm | Fair 65º

 
 
 
 

Business

Mendi Jewelry Showcases International Style at New Store in Paseo Nuevo

Owner Eyyup Mendi, who opened his first store in Solvang, sells eclectic pieces handmade by a relative in Istanbul

Eyyup Mendi had planned to study in Santa Barbara and then go back home to Istanbul. Thirteen years later, Mendi acknowledges that things don’t always go according to plan.

“It’s not like I planned it, but I am very happy here and business is good,” Mendi said.

After studying business administration at SBCC, Mendi opened his second Mendi Jewelry store in Paseo Nuevo about a month ago.

Mendi grew up working in his family’s antique store in Istanbul, where he established a unique sense of style that he said he passes on to customers. Before opening his first store in Solvang, Mendi started a transportation business and eventually sold wholesale jewelry.

His cousin is a master jeweler who manufactures many of the handmade pieces in Istanbul, allowing him to keep his prices reasonable, according to Mendi.

“It’s a product that sells itself because it’s so beautiful and unique,” store manager Steve Melkonian said. “There’s a class of customer who knows what they are looking for, and when they find it they are happy.”

While Melkonian was opening the store Wednesday, a woman was knocking on the glass. She traveled with her friend from Los Angeles just to visit the store.

“You don’t even find this in Los Angeles, and those who find it come back,” he said.

The fall collection includes 24K gold-plated necklaces, earrings and bracelets featuring gemstones accented with intricate beading and vibrant silk ties. Handcrafted silver pendants, rings, earrings and bracelets are finished with bronze detailing and adorned with emeralds, rubies, amethysts, turquoise and crystal.

“I’m lucky to have a cousin who is a great jeweler in Turkey and people who like the product,” Mendi said. “Our jewelry is unique and the prices are reasonable. We are different than other jewelers. Our jewelry is not very simple.”

Most of the pieces have a vintage Turkish style and some replicate Ottoman design, he said.

“Some designs are classical and some are unique to different cultures in Turkey,” Melkonian said. “It’s different than what people see on an everyday basis.”

Other than a dedicated work ethic, honesty has been the key to their success, Mendi said.

“Being honest is very important as well as the service,” he said. “If we can fix something and it’s not going to cost too much, we don’t even charge.”

Mendi plans to hire two more salespeople for his new store as well as expand throughout California.

“Everyone loved our jewelry so I decided to try to do business in Santa Barbara,” he said.

Noozhawk business writer Alex Kacik can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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