Mindy Wachtenheim is all about her newest special project



Mindy Wachtenheim

She never thought she’d end up doing what she does. But when she talks about Merchants Overseas and her most recent project, Domaine Designs, Mindy Wachtenheim really shows her passion for the family business.

It’s aligns with her other passions – volunteering. And her family.

She’s been active in the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island for years and has held many volunteer jobs in the Federation and the Women’s Division. She and husband Stanley have three daughters, all grown now.

All together, it’s more than a full-time job.

She got into the family business, Merchants Overseas, started by her father-in-law Eugene, when she met Stanley during their college years. They married and she’s been working on marketing, public relations and special projects for the company ever since. 

“We’re the Super Stop and Shop of accessories,” she says. Located in Providence’s Jewelry District, Merchants Overseas started out as a supplier of large crystal aurora borealis rhinestones to the jewelry industry. They have branched out to supply other accessories and now are one of the largest wholesalers of Swarovski crystals in North America. Their offices are still in the 1960s building they moved into near the Imperial Knife Company factory. “You used to be able to feel the shaking when the factory was going,” Wachtenheim says.

Gradually Merchants has expanded to surrounding buildings, including a space in the Imperial building after the factory closed. No longer needed for offices, that space, now Domaine Designs Outlet store, is her latest special project. 

Domaine is a fashion jewelry and accessories outlet. Everything in the store is moderately priced. And it’s filled with modern as well as vintage pieces, overstocks, samples and overruns. “It’s really three different stores, Wachtenheim says. She explains that there’s vintage components for jewelry crafters. Then, there’s the vintage jewelry and overruns at extremely low prices, she says. These might include returns. And in the front is new fashion merchandise. “This is a happy place,” says Wachtenheim. And she means it. 

The store started out opening just for a couple of weeks in December. Now it’s open several days a week, year-round, as the neighborhood has filled with people looking for good stores and restaurants. Nearby are Brown Medical School, Johnson & Wales University and Lifespan as well as many offices. 

“You have to love what you do,” Wachtenheim says. “And the team is important. Everyone has to love working.”

FRAN OSTENDORF is the editor of The Jewish Voice.