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Social Media Key in Jewelry Designer's Success

Internet-savvy Mary-Jo Peritore counts celebrity clients among her customers.

In Mary-Jo Peritore's world, moods are magical.

Life's inherent emotional highs, lows, and everything-in-betweens are where she draws her inspiration for her original jewelry designs.

"When I'm happy, I create bright and cheery designs," Peritore said. "When I'm in a bad mood I'll create something a little more hardcore and edgy."

The internet's pretty magical, too.

When she's not designing or being a mom, Peritore devotes her time to self-market MerCurios, her jewelry business, through a combination of search engine optimization and social media networking. The outcome of her internet campaign is an international client base which includes celebrity clients like Courtney Love and Kat Von D.

"I'm a firm believer in you get out what you put in," said Peritore, who lives in East Setauket with husband Fred and son Gabriel, 4.

Among the lessons she's learned, in particular, about maximizing use of Twitter: "Someone who's constantly spamming, you're going to lose followers in a minute. Try to participate. Care about the people who are following you. Ask them questions. Search out different hashtags."

Peritore's collection is a rockabilly-chic – or "chaotically couture," as she says – line of bracelets, rings, necklaces, chokers, earrings and more. She launched MerCurios in 2003, having spent years in the fashion marketing business.

About 80 percent of her designs are created with recycled or reclaimed materials. Her work has been featured in the book 1,000 Ideas for Creative Reuse by Garth Johnson as well as numerous blogs and websites. She sells her wares through Etsy, where she has learned to use keywords and tags like a pro. But she hasn't given up on selling things the old-fashioned way, by connecting with customers face-to-face at fairs and shows.

Her jewelry is on display at Top Hat Tattoo in Rocky Point, where owner Marc Gold says it catches the attention of nearly all of his clients.

"They all love it," Gold said. "It's an alternative-type jewelry, and they like that. They definitely think it's unique."

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