Here’s the travel problem I typically encounter. I visit a wonderful country and, unfortunately, discover very large things that won’t fit into my Louis Vuitton luggage. As a result, I have given up on those and typically buy locally made beauty products from my destination. Nothing wrong with that — I’m the queen of cosmetics — but I always yearn to find something more memorable and long lasting.
Enter Jet Set Candy. Faster than you can say, “TSA,” you will discover the gold bracelet and necklace charms of your dreams — and your destinations.
The divine designs are the brainchild of Nicole Parker King, a sixth-generation New Yorker who attended Rhode Island School of Design and served as creative director at L’Oréal, overseeing the brand Skinceuticals. Throughout her travels to six continents and more than 50 countries, Nicole was always on the quest for the perfect souvenir. The seed for Jet Set Candy was planted while on a trip to Sri Lanka where, after only finding generic T-shirts with sunset designs and home goods that were more authentic but not easily packable, she set out to reinvent travel souvenirs with a line of collectible, stylish keepsakes for travel lovers.
While living in India for 3½ years with her Australian diplomat husband (now at the United Nations), Nicole refined the concept and created the designs that would form Jet Set Candy’s debut collection. It launched (to great success) immediately on the couple’s return to New York in October 2014. The brand, originally sold at Bloomingdale’s trunk shows and online, features charms that are “small, chic and fit into your luggage,” she says with a laugh. She personally designs all of the charms — she trained as a graphic designer — which are manufactured in the United States, Italy, India and Thailand.
No matter your destination or transportation, there’s a gorgeous little gold (or silver) Jet Set Candy charm for that. Lilliputian luggage tags are made to feature more than 200 destinations and airport codes. There are about 20 train tickets — even those for Rye, Greenwich and Darien. Petite passport stamps cover about 195 countries — both recognized and not recognized by the United Nations. “Anywhere you go on the planet, we will have a charm for it,” she says, adding that her company even has a charm for North Korea.
Then there are the “anywhere” charms, such as a palm tree, clamshell, or anchor. Love Hawaii? How about a simple little surfboard or flip-flops? Your favorite Swiss Miss might like the minibar of chocolate Toblerone. But let’s not forget the Singapore Sling cocktail shaker, the Italian Vespa scooter and the Cannes movie clapboard.
Then there are the really special charms that contain stupendous surprises à la Fabergé. For example, there’s a Chrysler Building charm that pops open to reveal the key to New York City. An Indian puppet dances its way across your wrist. One of the newest is a beer stein from Germany that opens mechanically. You, however, may prefer the little teacup and fluted saucer that says, “London is my cup of tea.”
One of the most adorable and crave-worthy is the new Parisian charm that is a bottle of perfume, though equally enticing is the mini street sign saying “Champs Elysées.” But the most popular Paris charm, she says, is the Eiffel Tower.
The charms — which can be paired with a Jet Set Candy matching Infinity bracelet — also offer instant gratification. In other words — you don’t have to take the charms to a jeweler, to have them soldered on. The bracelet links are specially made so that you can open them and add a charm as easily as 1-2-3.
All the charms and bracelets are available in sterling silver, gold vermeil and solid gold. The packaging itself comes in candy colors, with different travel quotes inside each box. Your goodies are encased in map-designed tissue paper, with gift tags shaped like luggage tags. “It’s super cute,” she says.
You may just want to follow the example of one of Jet Set Candy’s billionaire customers, whose wife and friends always took “girls’ getaway” trips. He gifted his wife — and each of her nine girlfriends — with $17,000 bracelets outfitted with 20 solid-gold Jet Set Candy charms that reflected their many trips together.
Isn’t that a great way to wear your wanderlust?