The 2019 March Bridal Madness Champion is Katelynne Eslick, owner and operator of Sugar Plum Jewelry Co. in Glendive, Montana
Hi Katelynne. Congrats on your well-earned title of 2019 March Bridal Madness Champion. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your store?
I grew up in a tiny Montana town. I’m technically a third-generation jeweler— my grandfather was a watchmaker and later opened our family’s jewelry store; my father has been in the business for 40+ years.
I always say I circled around and came into jewelry backwards! As a kid, I loved art and was very creative. I fell into making jewelry as a hobby and before I knew it, people were asking if they could buy my pieces. Custom orders started to take up most of my time, and eventually I quit my 9-5 job to work from home while caring for my three young children.
After a few years, my husband and I decided it was time to stop working from the kitchen table. That’s when I dove headfirst into opening my retail shop a little over five years ago. My father joined me in my store about two years ago, so it’s been great to have him here to share his expertise and knowledge; my husband joined me about 18 months ago. We love the family aspect of being together during the day.
What’s the story behind your store’s clever name?
I receive many questions about the store’s name— Sugar Plum Jewelry Co. Sugarplum is what my mother has called me my whole life. So, since the store really reflects me and my craft, the name stuck!
Your March Bridal Madness entry is absolutely stunning. Can you share the story of this piece?
The backstory is quite funny, and my clients asked that I share it entirely. The round main diamond and the melee are from a ring that was returned to him after a broken engagement. The pear shape main diamond was from his grandmother’s ring and was given by his grandfather. The couple wanted to use all the diamonds, and she was especially excited to take the old engagement ring apart and re-purpose those diamonds for her own ring. She said, “My man, my diamonds now!”
Where did you find inspiration for this design?
Because this was a remount using the stones my clients had available, I had to find an interesting way to use asymmetry to make something aesthetically pleasing. I designed this with a white gold band and rose gold settings for the main diamonds. The stones have just a bit of warm color to them, so the rose gold really complements them while setting them apart from the rest of the ring. The bezel settings are functional because of my customer’s lifestyle and the type of work she does.
The wedding bands were designed to hug the main ring, and I also really loved the symbolism of “Now, Tomorrow, Forever” that we achieved by making double wedding bands.
Can you tell us all about your creative design process?
I do a lot of re-design work, and sometimes I need to sit with the pieces I’m going to be working with and let an idea formulate. For this particular design, it came together very quickly. Sometimes I feel like the design pulls itself together in my mind and I just see it immediately. This particular design really felt right to me, for her, so I did a quick 30-second sketch for my clients. That’s all they needed to see to know they’d love it!
Throughout your career, what’s something that sticks out as a high point?
One of my favorite moments has been when my husband and I got to help orchestrate a surprise engagement right in our store! My client thought it would be the perfect way to catch his girlfriend off-guard and it definitely was! His entire family got to be there to see it, including his mother who was terminally ill. It was a really sweet moment. The ability to be personally involved in the big, special moments in our clients’ lives is an honor and something I’m extremely grateful for.
What impact has custom design software had on your business?
Technology has completely changed my business. It makes it possible to quickly show a client what I’m envisioning for them. For example, Stuller’s 3C product online makes it incredibly easy to show changes to an engagement ring. This way, my clients can SEE it in action. It’s definitely a game-changer!
How did you come to learn about and use Stuller as a resource in your business?
Because I grew up as the daughter of a jeweler, Stuller was a household name for us! Through my early days of making jewelry, Stuller was the go-to for ordering findings, metals, wire, etc. When I opened my own store, I continued to use Stuller as my go-to supplier. We even just purchased a laser welder! Stuller is great for the smallest and largest needs of our business.
Outside of work, what are your interests and hobbies?
In my free time, I love spending time with my kids! My husband and I have three children: a 13-year-old boy and twin 11-year-old girls. My daughters have taken some interest in jewelry making, so I get to spend a little time with them at work too! My husband and I also play in a rock-and-roll band called Mighty Big Jim and the Tall Boys. My nickname in the band is Princess Kate!
Well, there you have it! A quick Q&A with the reigning 2019 March Bridal Madness Champion. Congrats to Katelynne Eslick and a huge thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s challenge!