Douglas Paquette Accessories was started in 1976 as a hair ornament company. As with most small business owners starting up in the 2nd floor apartment, with the dining room as the stockroom and the kitchen as executive office, times were simple. During the day the owner would visit local stores in his red Volkswagen Karmann Ghia and then returned to his high-tech facility to process and ship the orders. This mega order processing center consisted of his mother Louise who expedited the hair ornament orders for packaging and then left them upstairs, on the 3rd floor landing, for Lorraine. Lorraine was a hoot; she was a nurse at the local hospital who suffered from insomnia. The insomnia was a double edge sword, not necessarily good for Lorraine but the orders were packaged perfectly and left on the 2nd floor landing for next day shipping. (Lorraine liked making money while watching Johnny Carson) Mom then would take out the old black Underwood typewriter, create an invoice, pack the box and wait for UPS to show. Louise would leave for home around 3PM to make dinner for her beloved husband Arthur.
Well as with most stories of small businesses there are lots of things that you just don’t see coming. Who would ever think that a U.S. Olympian would change the course of business? Dorothy Hamill won her 1st Gold Medal at the 1976 Winter Games in Innsbruck. We were all very proud of America’s sweetheart but did she have to cut all the hair off!!! Needless to say sales in hair goods dropped by 90% in the course of 6 months (we still cringe when Ice Capades come to town)
The company had to change gears in a hurry, thank goodness that the U.S. jewelry industry was 10 miles away. Douglas Paquette Accessories branched out into jewelry manufacturing to build a core business and then continued with an array of products such as, belts, belt buckles, ladies and men’s neckwear, door knockers, cabinet hardware, pet products and footwear.
2012 will be the 37th year in business for Douglas Paquette Accessories and there are just a few thoughts about its longevity. Make a great quality product at a fair price, honor your customers because they are the lifeblood of your business, and always keep your eye on the future and trends like Dorothy’s haircut.
Doug & Allyson Paquette