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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Student’s jewelry featured by Coca-Cola

An NMU student “Opened Happiness” after being featured on Coca-Cola’s website for her creative use of recycled bottle caps to make jewelry.

“Jewelry making is a crafting hobby for myself,” Kimberly Norkooli said. “It is something I enjoy doing in my free time and as long as I have free time, I will continue to create pieces and sell them.”

The senior health and information processing major has been making jewelry since 2009 but didn’t start making Coca-Cola recycled jewelry until mid-2015. Her parents’ business, Wolfgang’s Haus of Glas in Marquette, now closed, served as her starting point. The business was known for making stained glass creations.

Norkooli used the glass beads from her parents’ business and made them into various creations, like necklaces, earrings, bracelets and cell phone charms, after some online research. She sold finished pieces at her parent’s store.

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Norkooli said she was inspired by a necklace worn by Lindsay Lohan in “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.”

“One night I was watching “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen” and saw the Coke bottle cap necklace the main actor wore throughout parts of the movie,” Norkooli said. “So I went online, looked for a more up close picture of the necklace and tried to figure out how the necklace was put together.”

After selling a few items through Facebook, Norkooli said she then started an Etsy page, Etching N Jewelry,  in the fall of 2015, just a few months after starting the Coke-inspired items.

By February, she had sold nearly 30 bottle cap necklaces through Etsy, along with a few other creations like pop can tab bracelets.

Norkooli said her jewelry making tools and basic jewelry parts, like chains and clasps, were relatively easy to find compared to the hunt for bottle caps in good shape. Since glass-bottled Coke isn’t popular, she said it was luck that she found a box of unused caps since the company doesn’t just sell caps. However, Norkooli uses what she can find when it comes to the lids.

Norkooli was eventually contacted by a Coca-Cola representative who was on a mission to put a piece together on people who were selling items made with recycled Coke products amidst a recent movement by the company that encouraged customers to recycle their containers.

“I have many reasons for using Coke bottle caps and can tabs,” Norkooli said in an interview with Coca-Cola. “Not only are they fun and attractive accents to jewelry, the caps hold up well, it is a vintage brand and I am keeping things out of the landfill.”

To keep up with orders and increase the happiness of her customers, Norkooli said she limits the amount of items on sale by how much product she has on hand for various pieces. This allows her to customize chain length and ship finished products within in three days of placing an order.

The necklaces are selling between $30 and $32, based on material prices and labor. Necklaces with red caps or red chains are more expensive due to their limited quantity.

Norkooli also offers a 60-day warranty in which she will repair broken chains and clasps.

While media exposure from Coca-Cola did increase traffic to her Etsy page, it did not boost sales.

Norkooli said she prefers using Coke products due to their nostalgic effect on all age groups. She plans on continuing the hobby, and though she does not anticipate a huge increase in the interest of her jewelry, she is willing to pass along the trade if it comes to it.

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