R.I.’s Imperial Pearl hires Olivia Culpo to increase its name recognition

The company imports cultured pearls and manufactures jewelry with them, yet many people who live in Rhode Island have not heard of the brand.

Millions of pearls flow in and out of Imperial’s East Providence headquarters each year.
The company imports cultured pearls and manufactures jewelry with them ranging from $50 sterling silver freshwater pendants available at mass retailers to rare Australian South Sea strands that sell for more than $50,000 at fine jewelry stores.

A display of Trend jewelry for sale at Imperial Pearl, in East Providence. The company has a holiday ad campaign featuring Cranston’s Olivia Culpo, a former Miss Universe, and is trying to make itself more of a household name. The Providence Journal/Steve Szydlowski
Yet many people who live in Rhode Island have not heard of the Imperial brand, acknowledges the company’s president Peter Bazar. His father, company CEO Banice Bazar, who at 87 years old still works in the office every day, purchased the more-than-100-year-old company in 1977.
“It’s time for us to wake up in Rhode Island,” Peter Bazar said, explaining that in the last several decades the company has focused on marketing to the trade rather than directly to the consumer.
As chief marketing officer, his son, Josh Bazar, is working to make the brand more of a household name, first locally — using Rhode Island as a “test market” — then nationally.
As part of that effort, Imperial recently hired Providence’s Atom Media Group to create a holiday video and print ad campaign featuring former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo, who grew up in Cranston and is now pursuing a modeling and acting career in California.
The campaign, showing Culpo wearing several Imperial designs, was shot over the summer at an estate in Newport.
“Back in 2012 when she won Miss Universe, my dad and I were both thinking at the same time that we had to do something with her,” said Josh Bazar, who also sells Imperial jewelry on HSN.

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