Alice Sturzinger LLC

My mother, Alice Sturzinger, came from a little farming village in the German speaking country side of Switzerland. She arrived in New York City in 1963 with the intention of learning English and staying here for a year or two. Working for the Swiss Benevolent Charity organization as an executive secretary she had many functions. One of these was fund raising whereby the organization sold music boxes from Switzerland. When the director retired, he said, “Miss Sturzinger, see if you can sell the rest of this inventory of music boxes!”. She promptly set up an appointment with the buyer, went to Bergdorf Goodman’s and showed him a little Red Musical Christmas ball. When you pulled the string, it played “Silent Night” as it slowly wound its way back up. The buyer loved it, ordered it for the Christmas season way exceeding the available stock, and this is how Alice began importing beautiful music boxes from Switzerland! Alice would pack up samples in the back of her VW Bug, get to a town, look up “Gift Shops” in the phone book, walk into the store and introduce herself and her lovely Swiss music boxes. Alice built up a business single-handedly in the 1960’s—quite a feat for anyone let alone a foreign woman and a single mom!
I grew up in the business. I would travel up and down the Eastern Seaboard with my mom in that little VW Bug! As the years went on, markets changed. The supplier wanted to come to the States themselves and cut us out of the equation. This is when we started going to Sorrento, Italy and found our own box manufacturers so that we could continue selling music boxes.
On our trips to Italy, we came across Murano Glass from Venice. One manufacturer met us and even when we told him that we don’t sell jewelry, he so believed in my mother and myself, that he gave us merchandise on consignment! When we introduced this to our customers, we were very successful. We began expanding this product category more and more.
Murano glass jewelry is now our main product line. I work closely with artisans who are true Venetians who take great pride in their traditions and craftsmanship. I go to Italy every year to see the new beads and work with the artisans to create my new Collections. Every season I have new pieces and am fortunate to work in such a creative environment selling beautiful, hand made products from their original source in Venice, Italy.
My mom is still in great health and we continue to enjoy working together. And yes, we still take out our Red Musical Christmas ball every holiday!