Feature Friday – Alix Gonsoulin
Big City Dreams
In 2007, one year after graduating from Loyola University in New Orleans, I decided to take a leap and move to New York City. I moved without a job and only had a place to live for six weeks.
Although it was a scary plunge, it was extremely exciting! I had to force myself in an unfamiliar place and work hard to make my way. My first job in New York was with a small jewelry company. Although we sold to large retailers like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, we had a very small operation, and I learned a lot in a brief period of time.
From there, I eventually went on to work for Alexis Bittar, a high-end costume jeweler known for his hand-carved Lucite jewelry. Working in the NYC’s fashion industry taught me strong work ethic and introduced me to the world of wholesale jewelry manufacturing. I was the Product Development Manager within the design department, acting as a liaison between our designers and local factories abroad. Annually, we released three full collections with over 300 styles per season. I loved being a part of an amazing design team that produced innovative work every year.
Back to Cajun Country
After living and working in the jewelry industry for almost five years, I had no plans to leave the big city. Although I loved Louisiana – my home state – I didn’t see the career opportunities available. It was not until one of my best friends, Maren Rosen, introduced me to Stuller. Maren had recently moved back from NYC to Lafayette to begin working at Stuller. She raved about the company and all it had to offer, eventually persuading me to visit Stuller’s facility.
Upon entering the building, I knew it was a great career opportunity. Four months later, I moved home to Lafayette and began working at Stuller within the Fine Jewelry Merchandising Team. I was able to continue the jewelry career I loved while living nearer to my family!
I started off as the Director of Diamond and Gemstone Fashion. After almost three years, my responsibilities expanded to include managing all of Fine Jewelry. I found that merchandising was the best way to get the lay of the land at Stuller. As a merchant, I was involved in all aspects of product life: from pricing, inventory, product development, and buying to marketing.
Alix Gonsoulin: Creative Design Director
After four years, with my solid foundation, I wanted a new opportunity and landed back in the design department. My true passion has always been creating product, so stepping back into the design world was refreshing. I now help to guide our design team as the Creative Design Director. In this role, I help take concepts all the way through the product development path at Stuller.
Our mission within the Product Design and Development department is to produce a consistent flow of new products for our Findings, Bridal and Fine Jewelry teams. We are responsible for producing manufactured products that are on trend and relevant to our customers. And I absolutely love what I do! I am extremely lucky to see product progress from concept to finished pieces, then eventually sold to our customers.
My team here at Stuller truly inspires me. I’m surrounded by some of the most talented conceptual and CAD designers in the industry. Not only that, an amazing manufacturing team supports. They transform our digital concepts into stunning physical pieces. Everyone on the team brings different skills to the table, and I love seeing how our visions and effort form into pieces of jewelry.
As someone who heads the Product Design Department, I’m directly responsible for making sure our customers have a variety of products to offer to their customers. I want them to be able to service anyone that walks into their store by providing exactly what they need. This means continuously developing products, especially in our more versatile 3C product offerings.
Home Sweet Home
As much as I love to travel and explore new places, I also love Louisiana and all it has to offer. Louisiana is a magical mix of sincere people, creative communities, delicious food, and never-ending liveliness. I often find myself with family and friends, enjoying the communal festivities. Whether we’re on a boat ride, at a local festival, or watching one of my favorite Cajun bands, there is so much to do that is unique to our area. Another amazing thing about being back home in Cajun Country is my proximity to my huge family. My mother is one of 17 kids – so you can imagine how far my family tree grows.
Sweet, Sweet Memories
For my 30th birthday, about 40 of my friends and family gathered dressed as our favorite Louisiana festival kings and queens. We celebrated the Shrimp and Petroleum Festival, Rice Festival, Crawfish Festival, Frog Festival – the list goes on and on! I’ve always loved dressing in costume. And to gather a group of friends together, all in costume, was a blast! We toured Cajun Country on a bus, stopping at local bars and music venues along the bayous and rivers of our community.
The biggest change I’ve seen in the jewelry industry is digital innovation. As an industry, we have made leaps and bounds over the past 10 years discovering how to be more efficient at making jewelry. And what’s most impressive is that I don’t see that momentum slowing down anytime soon. We constantly challenge ourselves as a company and an industry to come up with the next widget that will help to serve our customers.
So Here’s My Advice
Always listen, learn, and ask questions. Take as many risks as you can and don’t be afraid to fail!
We’re thrilled to introduce the fabulous Alix Gonsoulin to you. Find more faces of Stuller here.