State of Jewelry Design: New Retailers’ Biggest Hits and Mistakes

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the print edition of The State of Majors 2022. Click here to see the full issue.

Operating a new jewelry store in the age of the pandemic has presented emerging retailers with unprecedented challenges and successes.

Here’s what they had to say.


Pendleton Jewelry owner Michelle Pendleton pictured with her husband

Kansas City, Kansas

Hit: Considering the store’s entire existence has taken place during the pandemic, I feel like we’ve pivoted in ways we never thought possible. Private in-store appointments as well as video chats, on-demand text messaging, home fitting services and other concierge-like offerings have grown exponentially in the past year and have now become commonplace. standard, which we are more than happy to adapt and continue.

Mistake: See our answer on successes! It’s hard to scale the business without losing a touch of on-demand offerings, but we’ll continue to make the quality experience our first priority, even if it means accelerating our growth.

Rachel Nov, Gin and the banker

Bellevue, Washington

Hit: We’ve curated our selection of designers well, allowing each designer to stand out and not compete with the designers they sit next to. Not overcrowding our store and keeping our selection tight allows every designer to get the recognition and attention they deserve.

Mistake: Confuse that I can’t be nice and assertive at the same time.

Don Purcell spent years at the Jeffrey Boutique in New York and Atlanta before opening his own fine <a class=jewelry store in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood in 2021.” title=”Don Purcell spent years at the Jeffrey Boutique in New York and Atlanta before opening his own fine jewelry store in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood in 2021.” src=”https://www.nationaljeweler.com/rails/active_storage/representations/redirect/eyJfcmFpbHMiOnsibWVzc2FnZSI6IkJBaHBBaFJJIiwiZXhwIjpudWxsLCJwdXIiOiJibG9iX2lkIn19–cc25221929ae201bdaefbbbd28d8a822ea36a2f4/eyJfcmFpbHMiOnsibWVzc2FnZSI6IkJBaDdCem9MWm05eWJXRjBTU0lJYW5CbkJqb0dSVlE2RkhKbGMybDZaVjkwYjE5c2FXMXBkRnNIYVFJQUJHa0NBQU09IiwiZXhwIjpudWxsLCJwdXIiOiJ2YXJpYXRpb24ifX0=–cb9308c778cb26a9425d4c73e0be99005941c0c4/20220601_SOTM-Retailers-donpurcell.jpg”/>

Don Purcell spent years at the Jeffrey Boutique in New York and Atlanta before opening his own fine jewelry store in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood in 2021.

Atlanta, Georgia

Hit: We have constantly engaged the community with our trunk shows and events. We create an experience at our events, which are usually accompanied by a bar and a DJ.

Mistake: The only mistake was not opening my own store sooner.
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Boston and Nantucket, MA

Hit: I’m really proud of the community we’ve built with our suppliers. There’s no competition, no cattery, just a wonderful group of designers who all love and support each other in the most beautiful way.

Mistake: I’ve done a lot and probably still am. I wouldn’t call it a mistake, but I was very lucky not to sign a lease two weeks before the pandemic hit – that would have been a major mistake. As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that hiring people from a company culture perspective is more important than conceptual hiring.

Mary Margaret Beaver is pictured at her Tiny Gods jewelry store in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Mary Margaret Beaver is pictured at her Tiny Gods jewelry store in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Charlotte, North Carolina

Hit: I trusted my instincts and made it a point to take risks.

Mistake: I opened up in such a whirlwind that at times I lived, breathed and worked so much in the moment that I did not allow for thoughtful planning for the distant future. I know I can do better!

ryan ryan, The Jewelry Bar

Palm Desert, California

Hit: Upholding the high standards I set for myself from the start to make shopping at Fine Jewelry Bar an experience the customer won’t easily forget.

Mistake: Underestimating the complications and scope of retail as a designer/wholesaler.
Related stories will be here…