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Smart Shopping

DALLAS -- Losing $100,000 worth of fine jewelry to a burglar made Michelle Sanders realize she didn't want to feel emotionally attached to material objects. Asceticism wasn't the answer. It was Brilliant Ideas, a store and catalog business she created...

DALLAS — Losing $100,000 worth of fine jewelry to a burglar made Michelle Sanders realize she didn’t want to feel emotionally attached to material objects. Asceticism wasn’t the answer. It was Brilliant Ideas, a store and catalog business she created to specialize in inexpensive fashion jewelry styled after leading fashion and fine jewelry lines, such as Donna Karan, David Yurman and Cartier.

From its start almost six years ago, Brilliant Ideas has steadily grown — opening a fifth unit in Texas last November at Preston Center East shopping center here. Volume of the San Antonio company, which also does a small catalog business, is expected to hit $2 million this year.

Sanders contracts about 80 percent of her stock from 100 manufacturers, working closely with 15. The merchandise is heavy on classics, like fake pearl necklaces, plus some more forward looks, such as brushed gold electroplate abstract earrings. The stores also stock a few name lines, including Simon Sebbag and Frederic Jean Duclos.

With units in San Antonio, Houston and Dallas plus a franchise in Austin, Sanders plans to continue opening stores in Texas. “I feel we have so much room to grow in Texas, and I know how to buy for Texas women,” Sanders asserted. “They like bold jewelry — a statement of confidence and personality and style. They like to be noticed.”