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30 Essential Vancouver Jewellery Designers: Karen Buder of Sugarlime Jewelry

30 Essential Vancouver Jewellery Designers: Karen Buder of Sugarlime Jewelry

Karen Buder is the co-founder, designer, publicist, and marketing guru behind sugarlime.  Karen has created (along with her husband), a following of almost 7,000 local and international celebrity clientele through strategic business and branding initiatives.


Why did you get into jewellery design?

I used to spend a lot of money on fashion jewellery – it all started when I was living in Tokyo, Japan.  With all of their cool trends and an extensive market for fashion jewellery, I soon became an addict.  Let’s say I bought the majority of my jewellery collection there!  After I designed my first pieces, we received an overwhelming response from so many people and so there was now this demand for more.  Jewellery designing was also something that I had no idea I would have a flair for until we started sugarlime.  As I worked with chains, crystals and semi-precious stones, it just came naturally to me to design.  I’m very grateful for being self-taught in jewellery design.


Tell us a bit about your company.

My husband and I started sugarlime in 2003.  We were inspired by our travels throughout Asia to start our own business and actually initiated the process in Vietnam – we were so excited and energized at the possibilities.

With my husband’s expertise in operations management and production, and my zeal for fashion, design, public relations, sales and marketing, we founded sugarlime.  We knew immediately, that we wanted to build a brand initially and not do what everyone else was doing – wholesaling to retailers.  After the success from holding a small jewellery show to friends and family at our apartment and one at the law firm I was working at, we realized we were on to something big.  So we decided to give it our all into this new venture and I left my job after eight months of having started the company to dedicate all of my time and energy into building sugarlime.   My husband joined me full-time a few months later and our first employee was hired within that same year and it has just ballooned from there. We moved into an office space in downtown Vancouver in 2006 and now employ six amazing, talented women.

My husband then came up with the idea to hold exclusive, free, “wine & cheese” jewellery shows.  We held our first big sugarlime show at the Vancouver Golf Club and it was a huge success with over 150 people in attendance.  This definitely set the outlook for future shows, what direction we were going to take sugarlime, and how we could strive for bigger and better.

We were also the first jewellery company to do the unconventional thing (at the time), and decided to really push our brand out there, and start building a database for our exclusive jewellery shows, through selling our line at tradeshows to the public – even if it was the “Home & Garden Show”.  A lot of people could not understand why we would participate in such shows but I have always believed that where there are women, there is shopping and there is jewellery!

We are now at almost 7,000 women on our database for Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary.  It’s been an amazing method of building our brand and reputation and I wouldn’t have done it any other way.


How would you characterize your style?

There is a certain aesthetic with sugarlime; it’s recognizable by my love of using unusual variations of chains, my signature asymmetrical necklace designs and then sparkle of course with Swarovski crystals.  I’d describe the line as classic with a definite trendy edge.

Who are your clients?

Typically, our demographic caters to 25-65 year olds.  Sugarlime’s clients are looking for high quality, versatile, distinctive designs and love the unparalleled customer service that we provide.  We also offer our clients a wide range of price points so that it’s affordable for everyone.  Sugarlime is for the career woman, the entrepreneur, the working and stay-at-home mom, the university student, local and international celebrities, and the woman who appreciates locally-made jewellery.

What do you think moms should know about your jewellery?

We have an online store for those online shopping moms and it just makes life that much easier not adding one more errand to that list of things to do!

I like to design in order to offer something for everyone so if we’re talking about moms, I think it’s very important to point out that the line is eclectic, versatile and affordable.  You may need something simple, short and classic to wear everyday with all that running around you’re doing (like our Jill and Noriko pieces), or you may want a trend-setting longer necklace (Carine, Coco, Ashley or Mandy), or statement earrings (Isabelle, Chloe, Gracie, or Gabrielle) to glam up an outfit for an evening out.

An integral part of sugarlime is our role in giving back to the community through jewellery donations to various charitable organizations such as Canuck Place, Canadian Cancer Society and Alzheimer’s Society of BC.  Sugarlime also donated over $2,000 in sales from an exclusive sugarlime jewellery fundraising event for BC Children’s Hospital held at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Oh, and I’m a very proud mom of two very adorable dogs (yes dogs, as sugarlime has been like having twins for us!) and my new business partner is a wonderful mom of two!


Where can people buy your jewellery?

We have an online store at, which we received a great write-up for in the Globe & Mail about our efficient 4-minute start to finish shopping experience.  We also provide complimentary packaging which includes our signature pillow boxes. You can find sugarlime at our select exclusive jewellery shows held in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. A selection of our line can also be found at some fabulous retailers in BC, across Canada and in the US.  See our website for more info.

Anything else to add?

In building sugarlime’s brand and reputation, we have been very fortunate in creating quite a following, including celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Kim Cattrall and Anne Hathaway to name a few. Sarah McLachlan is a fan and was spotted on an episode of Oprah wearing her sugarlime in 2006. Sugarlime was chosen to provide jewelry to A-list celebs at red carpet awards such as the Emmys, Junos, Toronto International Film Festival, and the Geminis. You can also catch sugarlime on eTalk Daily’s fashion reporter, Susie Wall; sugarlime is on its fourth year contract with CTV’s popular entertainment show.

Sugarlime Jewelry | Twitter: @_sugarlime_ | Facebook

View Comment (1)
  • Received my first piece of sugarlime jewelry for Xmas from my son & daughter-in-law (who loves your jewelry as it is her favorite).
    I just checked out your website and love it.

    Keep doing what your are doing as you are making a lot of people very happy.

    Wishing you the best of everything in 2012


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