Ask any parent of a 13 year old how it’s going and, if they’re like me, they’ll roll their eyes, lament over the drama and self-centeredness, and make some comment about the obsession with socializing. Trust me, I know first-hand what it’s like. But one conversation with 13 year old Gracie Beal, a budding design talent in the jewelry industry, and it is immediately evident you’re not talking to a typical teenager.The young, self-taught jewelry designer not only stays completely focused on her new business venture, she’s not even resentful about having to earn her own money to pay for supplies.
Wow! Seriously? Move over Charles Garnier, David Yurman and Hidalgo; Gracie Beal is coming up fast.
The old adage of “necessity is the mother of invention” has never been more true than with the start of Gracie’s Designs. As one of six children, Gracie, like her siblings, was told early on that she would have to pay for her own leisure activities. It wasn’t until she needed to make a Christmas gift for her aunt that she bought a jewelry making kit. Believing it would be “cool” to forgo someone else’s instructions and instead play around with them on her own, Gracie went back to the hobby store and choose her own material and borrowed her dad’s utility wire cutters and began creating.
“My parents are very frugal and they encouraged us to be independent,” states Gracie. “They give me an allowance for doing my chores and I baby-sit, which allows me to pay for my supplies and anything I want to do for fun.”
Because her parents raised her to be independent, Gracie didn’t seek their feedback on her idea of creating jewelry. Her only thought was it “would be really cool to make something I can wear or give as a gift.”
Originally Gracie made 10 pairs of earrings. They were simple pieces with plain beads on a head pin then looped onto a hook. She gave a pair to her mom, her grandma and her sisters and kept the rest because she didn’t know what to do with them.
Several weeks later she wandered in to a local boutique with her mom and saw their jewelry was pretty, yet simple. Gracie wondered if the owner would like to try some of her creations.
|Jewelry created by 13-year-old jewelry designer Gracie Beal.|
“I approached the store owner and she liked my pieces, so she bought several of them right away,” recalls Gracie. “I went with my gut instinct on pricing in order to give her a good price, but one that was also fair to me.”
That was in August of 2010. Since then Gracie has taken her designs to her own virtual store on the Etsy website. This site only features products that are handmade or vintage. With a few sales from Etsy and the positive feedback from the boutique Gracie became encouraged to try more, make more and do more with her designs.
But the tide really turned for Gracie when a family friend offered to do a trunk show in her home. Not only did everyone at the show buy at least one piece from her, but she developed a following that led to repeat sales.
“The fact that people wanted to buy my stuff was overwhelming to me,” Gracie commented. “Now people e-mail, call or text me with requests for products, and my line in the boutique sold out within the first week. I’ve sold almost 100 pieces since I started a year ago.”
Today Gracie stays busy managing her new found jewelry design business. Expressing great admiration for all small business owners, she is continually amazed at the many different aspects required to run a business. From the sourcing of material to design to inventory management, Gracie is learning firsthand just how many hats a small business owner wears.
“It’s hard to put all of your effort into one part of the business when you know your time should be divided equally to grow the business. That’s why I really admire small business owners. There is so much to keep up with. It’s so much more than greeting people and putting out product.”
With her parent’s support and the independent streak that thrives inside of her, Gracie’s future is shining brighter than any piece she’s created. Her artistic talent is equally matched by her intellect and business acumen, which in my book equals certain success.