Finding joy in travel and moving to a new home is second nature to jewelry designer Elaine Jaeger, who has lived everywhere from Denver to Richmond, Va., to Columbia, Mo., to her current location just outside of Detroit in Ferndale, Mich.
The owner of Elaine B Jewelry set up her production studio and a retail store in Ferndale, a community with a strong downtown and an artist’s sensibility. But Jaeger always knew she wanted to grow her business. So, when it came to opening up a second location, Jaeger found the perfect little storefront in Cincinnati, and she opened in May.
The store at 2944 Markbreit Avenue, in Cincinnati’s Oakley neighborhood, will hold its official grand opening next week, and Jaeger says she is bringing her “clean, modern, handmade luxury” to another city and is hopeful for more locations—once she recovers from this big transition.
“I love stores. I love spaces. I love connection and community,” Jaeger says. “I’m from a lot of places, so I have a lot of connection to place.… It was always in my five-year plan to expand, and Cincinnati became the obvious second location.”
Boosting manufacturing to have enough product for both stores was the first undertaking. Then, Jaeger worked on the look and feel for both locations, updating the Ferndale store last fall with new counters from a Detroit maker called Donut Shop so both interiors vibe together.
Both stores have a fine-tuned aesthetic, which means a cool blue for the walls, light wood on the counters and cases, as well as a warm interior design that emphasizes the simple-yet-sophisticated layout that Jaeger prefers.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to have multiple stores,” Jaeger says. “I’m a builder. I don’t do well sitting still. I love a journey, and I love an evolution.”
It’s like going from one kid to two in some ways, but Jaeger says she is up for the challenge. She opened the Ferndale location nearly four years ago after her husband got a job transfer to metro Detroit, where Jaeger says she found great business-minded friends and long-lasting partnerships that she will continue.
The Elaine B Jewelry brand offers fine jewelry, custom work, and heirloom designs in everyday silver and vermeil, Jaeger says. Much of her jewelry production will continue in Detroit, and the Cincinnati store will be mostly retail. Yet both will have her clients’ favorite pieces, including the permanent bracelets that she calls Forever Linked.
“My cases are made by a shop in Detroit, and the big photo frames are made by Mutual Adoration, which is also in Detroit. I’m trying to use as many local, Detroit-based businesses as possible,” Jaeger says. “It’s about customization and strong relationships. It’s such an entrepreneurial community, and I feel close to everyone here.”
While online shopping for jewelry is here to stay, Jaeger says retail stores are important to her as well for the way she can connect to her clients and neighborhoods around her shops.
“With brick-and-mortar stores, it’s not just ‘build it and they will come.’ You have to let people know you’re here and want them to feel at home,” Jaeger says.
Top: Elaine Jaeger, the founder of the Elaine B Jewelry brand, recently opened her second location in Cincinnati but says she will keep much of her jewelry production in metro Detroit (photos courtesy of Elaine B Jewelry).
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