Fortrove News

People within the jewelry industry are doing their best to stay sane during these trying times. Jewelry designer Judi Powers is one of them. In an interview with JCK, she discusses the pandemic and how she's been doing during this trying time.

When asked how she's doing during the COVID pandemic, Powers said, "Prior to the pandemic, I was traveling for trunk shows, wholesale trade shows, buying trips, and fine craft fairs—in all, approximately 20 shows in 2019. All those events were canceled (rightfully so!) from March on and I’ve stayed pretty close to home, so that’s a big change. In the spring, my fiancé, Russell Jones, and I did a lot of homey projects, and I spent a good amount of time working in my kitchen garden—I’d never had one before, and it was really satisfying to grow and eat my own food, especially heirloom tomatoes."

We also volunteered with a local organization for girls called Perfect Ten, and the girls, ages 12–18, made beautiful, colorful bracelets for their first project. We’re now working on wax-carving charms with the girls. So I’m one of the very lucky ones who can say that I’m managing pretty well, all things being equal. Everyone I care about is safe and well, and I’m beyond grateful for that.

Powers was also asked about how COVID has changed things for her business. "Without shows, I’ve had lots of time to work at my bench, and that’s been a huge treat! Custom jewelry has historically been a consistent yet small part of my business, and this year it has been quite significant with both my retail and wholesale customers. I created a custom charity piece for Robert Goodman Jewelers [see below] to raise funds for ICAN, and that was deeply rewarding," she said.


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When asked how business is going these days, Powers said, "Business right now is solid. My direct-to-consumer sales volume is down because retail shows have been canceled (and with that, my expenses are also down, so there’s an upside). My custom business is way up in both volume and dollars. For my clients who stayed employed and didn’t have financial setbacks, we created pieces they’d wanted for a while. Because their own expenses were down, this proved to be a good time for my clients to buy their dream piece. Other customers wanted custom jewelry for sentimental reasons. And I’m having my best wholesale year to date with new orders still coming in. I’m very fortunate to have retail partners who are all so dedicated, smart, and connected with their communities and their clients. They pivoted from the moment mandatory shutdowns started, and they’ve pivoted with every change this pandemic’s presented."

Information originally sourced from JCK.