1. How Does an African American Entrepreneur Enter the Global Jewelry Industry?
My name is Alonzo Jarrett and I'm the founder and owner of LINZI WANN Jewelry. My home is Chattanooga, Tennessee. I want to BLOG to share my journey into the fascinating world of jewelry.
Initially, my plan was to retire from my corporate position, however, I was laid off October 31, 2010. I enjoyed every aspect of the company, the friendships, training opportunities and overall feeling of accomplishment. Naturally, I experienced a degree of self-worthlessness, failure, grief, disappointment and anger when I was laid off. I never minimized those feelings but, I could not allow them to define who I was, and more importantly, prevent me from moving forward in life.
Those feelings did not readily go away but my desire to succeed was stronger. My wife and I discussed career options. Surprisingly, she suggested not working for a time and trying my own business. I considered a linen clothing line because I enjoyed getting linen cloths tailored from a clothing manufacturer where I knew the owners. A jewelry line was another option, which I ultimately chose to pursue a business in. After all, I had enjoyed designing and getting cufflinks made, and was fortunate to know a gemologist, silversmith and access to the semi and precious stones markets.
2. Why Join the Global Jewelry Industry?
My initial goal was to specialize in cufflinks only. The cufflinks would feature a beautifully cut stone in a sterling silver setting. Female customers would ask if I had earrings in the same stones used for the cufflinks. Listening to female customers led to a full jewelry line for women. I wanted to offer value for my jewelry so I had to deal directly with manufacturers. I became a frequent visitor to the gemstone markets. It was very intimidating initially visiting these huge markets surrounded by every sparking stone imaginable, and listening to everyone talking about the jewelry business. I would always stand or sit close to where people were talking, and I would pick up on questions buyers and sellers would ask. I had to learn industry language to ensure quality throughout the manufacturing process. I’ve maintained this value up to this point.
The market consisted of various nationalities, and I quickly came to understand that to participate in the fine jewelry market, I must connect with suppliers from around the world to give my jewelry business the best chance to survive.
3. Why Design Jewelry for Curvy and Plus Size women?
I recall fitting my very first Curvy Plus Size client for a bracelet. There was this excitement and joy from the customer. She raved how comfortable it was and how it fit. There was a sense of relief that finally, I have something for me. At that moment I wondered if there were others that shared her feelings. Soon after, I began researching the Curvy Plus Size Fashion market and realized there was a considerable population that shared those same feelings. I began focusing my attention on that market. I sense a special appreciation when a Curvy Plus Size customer purchases jewelry from them.
This line is different because it’s specifically designed for the Curvy Plus Size Woman. It’s ideally scaled up to complement their curvy figures. It fits and it’s comfortable!
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