I started my obsession with fashion at a very young age. I remember rummaging through my mom's closet when she wasn't home trying on her clothes, putting belts on dresses, wearing her scarves around my neck and draping as many jewels across my neck as possible. My mom owned some beautiful pieces. She wore a lot of gold mainly because that was the trend 70's and 80's. Dressing up has always been a favorite past time of mine. Of course now when I play dress up, its for actual events and gatherings where what I wear really matters! The outfits that I put together define how I feel as a person and as a fashion lover.
Now that I'm out of college and experienced my first 6 years of corporate retail as a buyer, I felt like this was a good time for me to branch out and start my own business. I have always had a love for fashion and putting together outfits. I wouldn't say that I was the best at it growing up, but I started getting more practice towards the end of high school. I worked in a trendy jewelry store after my freshman year of college and that's when I came to realize my obsession with jewelry. Later on, I came to realize that I wanted to be a buyer someday for a company. I loved how I got to go into the jewelry store every week and new products would be arriving all the time. I wondered where she got these beauties from and why the heck some of it actually sold!! The buyer for this trendy jewelry store knew their customer, very well. I wanted to be a part of that fun and excitement that came with bringing customers the newest and hottest fashions. Since that time, I have spent several years learning all about the buying process, specifically for jewelry and accessories. Knowing my customer was the most important part of my job. You always had those go to styles that you knew would sell day in day out, but then you had to test the waters with new products. We wanted to keep her coming back to see what was new. I spent a lot of time analyzing data to find trends in company sales and therefore determine what to buy and how much product to order. As a buyer, you are essentially balancing a budget. You had X amount of dollars to spend every month and you needed to drive traffic into the stores with compelling products and promotions. As you exceeded your sales plan, you were able to buy more product that would drive your customer back into the store.
I learned a lot about myself during these years in corporate retail. I learned that I had a lot of great ideas and a great eye for style and design. I was able to pick out best selling styles pretty quickly and I was able to analyze sales trends in order to maximize our highest sales potential. I knew I had a gift and the thought of starting my own business one day started popping up in my mind more frequently. Since moving to East Tennessee, I saw this area had a lot of opportunity. There are few small business owned retail shops, but majority of the market is saturated with big box stores. Every woman is looking for ways to differentiate herself from everyone else and buying from mass market retailers doesn't always guarantee that unique, one of a kind style. One thing that I enjoy the most about going shopping is finding those unique items. A necklace that no one else will have because it was a vintage piece transformed with modern embellishments or those earrings that were handcrafted from copper metal. Details in these pieces will never be able to be replicated because its handcrafted or custom designed. The time and love that is put into handcrafted pieces isn't something that you can place a price tag on, but someone has to make a living right?!
The Southern Jewel started out as an idea for a brick-and-mortar jewelry and accessory boutique. Once I estimated the amount of capital it was going to take to open my own storefront, I realized that I needed to start on a much smaller scale. Since online shopping has become the go-to method for many busy, working women and moms, I decided that an online boutique was the best place to start my journey. My goal is to make women feel beautiful and to be able to express their own style through our unique products. Our artisans that we feature offer their own experience and style to their products that can be easily layered into your existing collection. I can't wait to show you what I have in store for The Southern Jewel!