Feature Friday – Mona Stott
Years ago, I managed a local retail clothing when the management of a neighboring jewelry chain had a headhunter approach me. Terrified, I repeatedly refused, for I knew nothing about jewelry. However, they persisted, assuming I was playing hardball for the purpose of salary negotiation. Eventually, I gave in and am forever grateful for the mentorship and training that formed the foundation of my lifelong career and passion! I left behind my high-pressure sales with my box store past. When I opened my studio, I fully intended that each person should own a piece of jewelry reflecting their personality, honoring their relationship and celebrating milestones in their life.
I am the President and head designer here at Mokada Custom Jewelry Design Studio. On a daily basis, I source loose stones, create settings and quarterback communication between my staff, vendors, smiths and clients, both face to face and from a distance. I focus mainly on sales and custom design. When it comes to my cohorts, I am a huge proponent of enabling people to do what they are best at and empowering them in that regard.
I am wife to a hard working farmer, mother to two amazing adult children, and mémère to one nearly perfect little girl. I am an aunt to countless nieces and nephews (who I have the privilege of working alongside), a dedicated friend, a community volunteer and a jeweler. My daughter and partner, Danielle Tkachyk, handles our business marketing, administration, bookkeeping, taxes, payroll, etc. She tackles all the not so glamourous paperwork. My niece, Elizabeth Stott, is my protégé and takes design courses while assisting in front of the house retail service.
Undoubtedly, my favorite part about working in this business is the honor and duty of assisting clients through their most important life milestones. Whether I’m creating an engagement ring, pairing it with a band, or celebrating the arrival of a child with a push present, it’s always a pleasure. On top of that, seeing the same people return years later celebrating life moments like anniversaries and graduations is an honor we take VERY seriously! These simple rewards have kept me in this business for the past 25 years.
My wonderful career has granted many treasured memories, many involving my clients. It is impossible for me to meet a client and not instantly form a bond. History has taught me that each person walks a unique path leading up to the moment we meet. I get to tell their story with the jewelry we create together. In addition, my daughter’s engagement ring undoubtedly stands out as one of my favorite pieces created to date. As you can imagine, it was quite a challenge to keep secret. Coordinating secret meetings with my now son-in-law, sourcing out the perfect diamond and weighing in on design decisions was a special experience for me.
Mokada Custom Jewelry Design Studio originated as an alternative to overpriced, traditional jewelry options. We believe no one should feel rushed, pressured or limited when making such important decisions. For that reason, our relaxed one-on-one appointments are interactive and held in a private setting. Customers tell us their story, imparting direction on their piece. Their intimate involvement in the design process leaves everyone with a proud sense of ownership. Mokada will make recommendations, educate and offer subject matter expertise. But ultimately, creative experience and satisfaction are paramount.
Mokada also commits to dispelling the myth that custom is a code word for expensive. Custom is a synonym for unique, exclusive, one of a kind… but it need not break the bank. We can meet any budget and our state-of-the-art design program finds ways to reduce price, not glamor. Our ability to hand select stones and pair with a mount that customers design often represents the highest value. And this speaks volumes. Most of our sales come from word of mouth referrals from satisfied customers. Our social media platforms are also conducive, allowing us to visually showcase all of our custom work.
My relationship with Stuller developed as I sourced out their CounterSketch® design program on referral from a friend in the industry. After investing in the same, I attended training in Lafayette, Louisiana. I was able to meet Stuller staff and now use the company for all special orders.
Our business’s main challenge is keeping up with overwhelming demand –one we are blessed to face! Between myself, my daughter Danielle, and my niece Elizabeth, our days are exciting and our work is never done.
To those reading:
Do not conform to mass-produced designs. The world is evolving into a market of niches and there is demand for your specialized work.