Four letters — V, O, T, and E — are spelling out a sudden burst in sales for Twin Cities jeweler Larissa Loden.
During her Democratic National Convention speech, Michelle Obama wore a necklace that spelled the word “vote.”
Obama’s delicate gold jewelry, by a Los Angeles designer named Chari Cuthbert, sparked online searches from shoppers eager to make a similar statement.
Those searches also brought lots of eyes to Loden’s collection of “vote” letter necklaces, earrings, bracelets and pins. Sales spiked in the hours after the former first lady’s speech.
Loden, a “huge Michelle fan,” had plans to watch the speech on live TV — but is behind on sleep these days, caring for her newborn baby boy. She fell asleep on her couch before it began.
She was up again at 2 a.m., feeding her two-week-old, when she checked her phone.
“I saw that our sales had doubled, and I was like, that’s really weird because typically we don’t have sales after 10 p.m.,” she said. Pretty soon, she understood the convention connection.
In the days since, Loden has sold about 1,200 of the necklaces, which come with gold- or silver rhodium-plated letters for $60. There’s also an adjustable version with a 14K gold-filled box chain for $150.
Loden and her team of 10 employees are suddenly overwhelmed.
“It’s all hands on deck,” said Loden, who is working from home. “I’ll be making vote stuff with a baby in a sling, figuring it out. You just do what you’ve got to do.”
Loden — whose designs include gemstones, whimsical sayings and pointed statements — aims to identify her brand with social issues. She sold bracelets reading “For George” after George Floyd’s death, donating 100 % of the proceeds to the racial justice group Color of Change. She created her “vote” collection back in February.
“I personally was like, ‘This year is gonna matter more than anything for all of us to get out there and vote, and do our job,’ ” she said. “As we know, Minnesota has one of the highest voter turnouts. We just believe in the vote.”
Loden polled her Instagram followers recently, asking how many of them have requested absentee ballots so far.
“About 92% of people already had their ballots,” she said. “I thought that was awesome to see.”