DC’S BOONE IS WASHINGTON’S GAIN [ archive ]

4 Jan

 

Times change but some signs don’t. Posted over windows at Connecticut and K is the trademark sign for multi generational family business, Boone and Sons. Three generations in fact, children, grandchildren, daughters and granddaughters, too. And in its windows, blocks away from the White House, central to what some see as the capitol of the world, is a display of jewels, stunning at all times but controversial, these days. The emeralds, amethysts, diamonds and more, are offset by window designer, Bob Stewart’s private collection of designer Barbie dolls themed in bridal, couture and jewels outfits.

It seems, Saudi Arabia has an anti-Barbie policy, in place for years, recently revealed to the Western world after America’s invasion of Iraq. Ali Ahmed, Saudi Information Agency’s Washington reporter, story was picked up by AP.

Boone and Sons, a family owned and operated full service jeweler, was started in 1964 by French Boone. He and his wife decided to provide the District with high quality jewelry at reasonable prices to clients. Boone set about building his dynasty with principles of value, quality and excellent service. His goal was to establish relationships with suppliers and clients that would stand the test of time. Boone and Sons doesn’t tend to carry 15 of the same pieces. They carry pieces as individual as Boone himself.

French Boone’s ones store has since grown into 3 stores, providing clients with an unbeatable guarantee. Customers can upgrade jewelry over the lifetime of their family, getting back exactly what they paid for the original piece to be credited to the new family heirloom they want to upgrade to, for reasons including clarity, color , size.

But that is French Boone, for you. He knows his customers keep on coming back. They have been doing so for years. Usually to buy new pieces, they love their purchases so much. Long time employee and friend, Kay White, working with Boone and Sons for ten years, manages the DC central store for over two years, now. White is very proud of Mr. Boone’s skill at growing family and business relationships. He knows his customers so well, some multi generationally. White describes Mr. Boone as a jeweller for life, providing heirlooms and special moments to children and grandchildren of some of his earlier regular customers. “More than anything else, Mr. Boone wants to offer a personal touch. He wants to be a family jewelry store and be for families, too.” ‘Mr. Boone is someone to admire. He just turned 77, doesn’t look his age and doesn’t admit

Boone & Sons, Washington’s first family of jewelry has served four White House administrations.  Customers include Terry McCullough, head of the Democratic National Committee, DEA, FBI and White House. DEA, FBI and White House bring Boone and Sons, gifts given to the president for appraisal, determining their value. American law limits the value of gifts the president can keep. White chuckles, “We are an equal opportunity store. We give everyone an equal opportunity to buy the best pieces they can.”

White is proud of  Boone’s commitment to family. “He is very involved with his children, six boys and two girls. Three generations work in his family stores, ranging in age from Tara, in her 20’s, to …. in his 50’s. His oldest daughter Debbie works in their Chevy Chase store,” smiling knowingly. “She’s ok with that” smiled White looking at their business cards. 

Boone came from West Virginia. Like the tomatoes he cultivates, his roots are in DC. “Mr. Boone is Washington through and through,” says White. Mrs. Boone involves the couple with community philanthropic work at  Joe Gibbs “Youth For Tomorrow” ranch for at-risk kids, the Darrell Green Foundation, providing after school centers giving WashingtonDC youth options to being on the streets such as computers. White says, “In fact, Boone is such a Washingtonian, he was at the Washington Redskins home opener.”

White, unaware America’s icon is, ironically adorning their windows during a controversial politically charged time in the Bush administration, laughs, hearing about the attack “Jewish Barbie dolls with their naked clothing and lewd positions” on the American beauty. “Barbie? Lewd?” Yes. Saudi Arabia’s religious police, The Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, include Barbie in a list of dolls they consider a threat to morality. The branch of the Saudi government banned Barbie ten years ago, complaining her revealing clothes are offensive to Islam. The posted on their government site, “Jewish Barbie dolls, with their revealing clothes and shameful postures, accessories and tools are a symbol of decadence to the perverted West. Let us beware of her dangers and be careful.”

The committee’s enforcers, muttawa, take their anti-Barbie campaign to the shops, at the start of each school year. Muttawa remind parents of the American doll’s negative qualities that might “imprinted in their minds” encourage Muslim children to “refuse to wear the clothes we are used to as Muslims.” Muttawa confiscate dolls from sellers and imposing a fine. Barbies are contraband on the black market.

A spokesperson for the Saudi agency claimed in a telephone interview with the Associated Press, in a telephone interview, from the holy city of Medina, Barbie is modeled after a real-life Jewish woman. Ken and Barbie were named by her designer in 1959, after her son and daughter, when she started her doll business, in her garage, an american rags to riches story.

A competitor to Mattel, manufacturer for Barbie, once tried to replicate the doll, giving up after discovering she really is not the ideal of american women. Now anonymous, the manufacturer said “If Barbie was blown up to adult size, there is no way she would be able to function. Her eyes are almost on either side of her head and the weight of her chest would practically bend her over in half.”

Despite the reality check a humanoid Barbie, following Mattel’s proportions, make her look closer to ET than the recently crowned Miss America, Barbie makes a stunning display pedestrian stopping display in Boone & Sons windows in the heart of Washington. Barbie is an American classic representing freedom. She represents the American dream of hard work, a garage beginning, parlaying into personal success, the real fortune. A much sought after collector’s item, Barbies are bought for love and kept for value, monetary and otherwise. White says Boone store employees enjoy people watching women and men reminiscing childhoods with Barbie. ‘Bob Stewart refuses every offer he receives for his dolls, when they are displayed in our windows. These are his dolls he will keep forever. Money can’t buy everything.” A sentiment seconded by a college student who treasures the dolls her mother gave her as a child. “Where is that window display?” she asks.  Connecticut and K. Near the White House. Capitol of the American dream.

Makes one think, if only the Saudi’s knew Barbie as we know Barbie.

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