Last updateTue, 12 Dec 2017 7pm

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Female wounded warrior finds passion, career and calling in jewelry

Tara humveeThere are many paths to finding the right career. Most are predictable, but sometimes the path becomes clear only through adversity. Richard Branson, whose net worth of $4.9 billion makes him nearly 10 times wealthier than Queen Elizabeth II, dropped out of school at 17 to start a newspaper. Although he loved journalism, keeping the paper afloat required him to stop writing and focus on production and financing instead. His deep commitment to the paper ensured the development of his then fledgling business skills helping him become a world renowned business man.

Leading the state in estate jewelry

Levy’s capitalizing on estate jewelry popularity

Levy 4 braceletsEstablished in 1922, Birmingham-based Levy’s Fine Jewelry has the oldest gold buying license in Alabama. Purchasing pre-owned jewelry and old gold is a policy that dates back to the store’s founding by Joe Denaburg, but it wasn’t until 10 years after his death in 1972 that his daughter Rhoda Denaburg Link (co-owner), her son Jared Nadler and nephew Todd Denaburg (general managers) took this founding principle to the next level by buying and selling finer estate jewelry.

Retailer Roundtable: How do you wish customers happy holidays?

Q: How do you wish customers happy holidays?

“Starting in the first week of November we try to do a little something interesting each week. This year we’re starting things off with a pearl jewelry trunk show with Mastoloni. Following that, we’ll host events with Heather Moore, Lagos and others. In the first week of December, we host a customer appreciation party featuring select vendors. We’re primarily a bridal store, so this event allows us to put bridal and non-bridal vendors in front of our best customers and serve up foods and drinks. This event allows us to showcase color and diamond fashion, bridal of course, and even watches with TAG Heuer our primary watch brand. For our top customers we usually send out some sort of Christmas basket or flower arrangement. The flower arrangements typically last a few weeks serving as a centerpiece through the holidays. We try to shake things up with the Christmas holiday baskets. This year we’re assembling an array of products from small local businesses that people can enjoy snacking on, like jams and chocolates. We give back year-round, but in November and December more so. This November watch battery proceeds will benefit Harvest Texarkana and in December we’ll find another local charity to support.”

Fit for Miss Denmark: ‘Project of passion’ is the crowning glory for U.S. team

Crown MaryIt takes an American village to make a crown for Miss Denmark.

Mary van der Aa, a jewelry designer from Michigan who works mainly in Tucson, Ariz., is part of a talented team creating the crown - a far cry from the “brass and glass” variety. The crown is made of solid sterling silver with 1,400 handset stones including a 4.50ct umbalite garnet in the center, as well as blue topaz and cubic zirconia for spectacular sparkle. It’s a one-of-a-kind regal masterpiece valued at $25,000, fully assembled by hand.

Michigan family embraces Emery’s example: Learn the trade, go with the flow, be good to others

Emery groupIn 1947, Emery Weinberger arrived in the United States, a Holocaust survivor from Slovakia. After living in New York briefly, he moved to Michigan and began working for different businesses, dabbling in odds and ends. He was always good with his hands and particularly enjoyed working with antique jewelry.

Retailer Roundtable: Do you offer layaways?

Q: Do you offer layaways?

“Yes! Layaway is a wonderful way to begin closing a sale. Often times the client is set on something and just doesn’t have the funds for it at the moment. Offering the option of layaway really helps tie them to the piece emotionally and financially, rather than just leaving and potentially forgetting about it, or settling for a more affordable piece elsewhere. Not only are they tied to the piece because they’ve put down a deposit, but now the client feels he/she has accomplished something, like they are half way there. This is also a fantastic option for clients that do not get approved for financing and cannot pay a lump sum at once. It is so easy for them to think of it like ‘free financing,’ especially if it is for an engagement. They don’t need the ring until it’s time to propose anyway. I always ask if the proposal date is far off. If it is, my clients tend to really like this option. Twenty percent down, and one payment per month is my layaway agreement. They decide the amount of the payment, as long as it is made each month. This flexibility helps ease your clients and they tend to trust you in that you are there to help them through this. I would absolutely recommend offering layaway options to any jeweler that has not done it before. I have only had positive experiences and higher close rates as a result.”

Jewelry at the Museum I and II

In most people’s lives, they only have a single opportunity to visit the Smithsonian Museum. But for jewelry designer Brenda Smith, founder of Brenda Smith The Art of Fine Jewelry, she has had two pieces of jewelry submitted to the esteemed museum in the last three years.

After a career dedicated to creative work, Brenda reinvented herself and became a jewelry designer in 2009. She doesn’t come from a jewelry background or a family business history in the business. But, designing, forging precious metals and completing color palettes with gemstones, was a natural extension of her creative work in graphic design, advertising, creative director at a college and a marketing manager for a large manufacturing company - her final corporate job before her career shift to a jewelry designer.