Born in a nurturing environment with lots of old country relatives, surfing since I was 12, and a college art major in the late 60’s laid the groundwork for some idealistic values that I seem to have stayed true to throughout my life.
With my sculpting background in school I was able to acquire an apprenticeship position at the Venice Lapidary Guild where I learned how to carve wax that would be cast in silver and gold and to carve the stones that we would set into the jewelry designs.
I started my own business in ‘73 with my miniature sculpture to wear by taking in special orders for rings, doing craft shows, and eventually wholesaling to boutiques and department stores across the country through sales reps.
I eventually realized that working alongside other creative minds was something I had always valued and found personally very rewarding. So I proceeded to put together a concept for a community based retail store, in many ways not that much different than the family of neighbors and friends that gravitated to my home in the canals where I lived throughout the 70’s.
I started taking business courses at UCLA in the 80’s while I was looking for the right location for a very unique retail store that would cater to my target market. It was interesting being exposed to the academic side of business, especially as it related to my personal struggles in the business world with those that were driven by power, greed and deceit at the expense of others. Some of the basics taught in the classroom were good, however I found that my long time interest in the philosophies and religions from the East, and from enlightened authors who integrated ancient wisdom with modern living in the West to be more relevant to values and conceptual ideals that I would instill in my own business.
In 1987 I opened Accents Jewelry Design on Main Street near the Venice and Santa Monica boundary line where I featured my work along with many other designers, some of which I knew from the early craft fair circuit. My target market was middle-income people who lived in the area near where I had lived since I was a teenager. The unique handmade jewelry drew people in, the personal services offered and the affordable prices kept them coming back, and the mixed tapes made them want to hang out:)
I was so passionate about bringing together my concept of offering the latest in handmade jewelry at fair prices and while establishing relationships with each one of them by taking care of all their jewelry needs... (This often meant going downtown or to my bench workers shop before I opened the store in the morning).
About three years later I started a weekly workshop teaching the lost wax jewelry making technique. I feel that sharing my passion for the creative process and merging it with commerce was something I was meant to do, and the Tuesday night workshop has been going strong ever since.
I moved to my current location on the corner of Ashland and Main St. in 1993 where I would get a lot more walking traffic. I started recruiting like-minded students from my weekly workshop to work as apprentice designers in the retail store. Today my dream has come true, as Accents supports six of us jewelry designers, with a lot of training help from my supervising manager and gem expert Johanna Torell, we instill in each of them the importance of the personal service and sense of community that we are known for.
This nurturing environment mentors and helps guide them to their own personal goals in jewelry design and their own jewelry display gives them a sense of pride in the store. We also honor the creative apprentice designers that came before them who are now successful designers on their own and also gave back so much to help keep the constantly evolving business current as the extended family of designers continues to grow. 100% of these former apprentice employees that stayed from 3 years or more are still in business for themselves, with many of them reaching national recognition.
Being a very visual person I see this concept as three interlocking circles. The first being the nurturing Accents family, the second being the log term meaningful relationship with the customers (as they bring their daughters in who will someday bring her own daughter in), and the third being the support of schools, non-profits, and other independently owned businesses in the area.
After all of these years I am as excited and enthusiastic about the evolution of Accents Jewelry as I was in opening it in 1987. I am grateful to all of the loyal supporters and the expanding base of new customers that enjoy the energy in our space and the latest designs in our displays. The continued support of my own designing is beyond what I ever imagined. It is very fulfilling to have found my little place in this world with such grounding and creative work that keeps me stretching and expanding.