Jenice Armstrong: PNKElephant: An inexpensive bling spot

Sandlain (left) and Frink in their "glam and fashion forward" store, at 5th and South streets.
Sandlain (left) and Frink in their "glam and fashion forward" store, at 5th and South streets. (Photos: SARAH J. Glover / Staff photographer)
Posted: June 15, 2011

PNKELEPHANT's jewelry is big and bold. The earrings are edgy - one pair is connected by a long chain that hangs beneath the wearer's chin like a necklace.

But what I really like - no, love - about PNKElephant, the new jewelry boutique co-owned by Michael Vick's fiancee, is that you can get a lot of bling without it costing big bucks. Most items go for less than $25.

If I sound like a fan, it's because I am. I have been ever since having lunch with Kijafa Frink and noticing one of PNKElephant's bracelets jangling on her wrist.

It looked expensive - just what you'd expect a baller's fiancee to wear. I was startled when she told me it was less than $20.

I got a chance to see the line at a trunk show in West Philly last year. It's one thing to admire a piece, but a whole other thing to see it up close and check out the quality yourself.

I wound up buying three supersize cocktail rings to give as Christmas presents. My sisters loved them, and when they heard that they cost only $14, they wanted more.

So when I heard about PNKElephant's opening at 5th and South streets, I decided not to wait for the official press event tomorrow and stopped by for my own sneak peek.

Situated in a space formerly used by The Gap, PNKElephant is glam and fashion forward. One wall is painted hot pink.

Another is striped with white and platinum. Mirrored dressers hold accessories such as PNKElephant jewelry organizers.

"It's an awesome feeling to know that this is my store, me and Blair's store," said Frink, a pretty, friendly woman with a big smile. Blair Sandlain is her partner. "It wasn't given to us. We worked really hard. Lots of girls come in and say, 'Can you help us?' I tell them it's a lot of hard work. It's not easy."

But being the fiancee of an Eagles quarterback has its perks. "He definitely did help," Frink admitted, though she pointed out, "The lease is not in his name. It's in our name."

Oh, and the black deejay booth with the silver accents was a little something, as they say, from No. 7 himself.

"He told me and Blair he was going to get us something special," Frink said. "Me and Blair did the whole store ourselves. We wanted a designer, but it wasn't in the budget."

Working a cash register is nothing new for Philadelphia native Frink, who spent many pre-Vick years toiling away at the Foot Locker, Fingers Wings and Other Things, the Chart House, and Dave & Buster's. Frink met Vick in 2001, when she was a business student at Hampton University, in Virginia. They've been together off and on since.

Frink met Sandlain last year through a designer who was making some clothes for her. Frink was wowed by PNKElephant, and Sandlain, who graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology, needed a partner. The blingalicious duo have been tight ever since.

It's as if they've known each other for years.

They make what they do seem like fun.

But manning a cash register seven days a week and until midnight on the weekends is no joke, especially if you have two small daughters at home the way Frink does.

"I want to get this store open and feel comfortable before I take a back seat and hand it over to Blair," Frink explained.

For her sake, I hope that's by football season, but if not, at least there's a flat-screen TV on the wall.

Send email to heyjen@phillynews.com. My blog: www.philly.com/HeyJen.

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