It was “time” to close renowned New York City jeweler Fragments, founder Janet Goldman tells JCK.
The 1,200-square-foot boutique, which often played an outsized role as an incubator and discoverer of new design talent, closed yesterday. Its showroom, located across the street from the store, will close at the end of April, although its “private label” operation will continue.
“I’ve had Fragments for 30 years,” says Goldman. “We knew our lease was coming up and in SoHo the rent is very high, and I thought there are other things I want to do with my life and sometimes circumstances create opportunities. There is never a good time to do something like this, but I figured this time was good as any. It took a lot of soul-searching, but I knew it was time for a change.”
For the future, Goldman, who made JCK’s 2013 Power List, plans to help manage her late husband’s real estate company—in particular the public art projects it supports—and enjoy her children and grandchildren.
Goldman frequently sounded choked up as she reminisced about her three decades running her SoHo boutique, an oft-cited pioneer in the neighborhood’s current retail renaissance. She is proudest of her role launching new designers such as Alexis Bittar and Ippolita, helping to mold the nascent talents into the industry’s biggest names. (The store’s slogan was “The trend starts here.”)
“I have had maybe 1,000 designers pass through my world in the 30 years I’ve been doing this,” she says. “If someone believes in you, it gives you the impetus to keep going. I have an eye for jewelry and for talent. Mentoring designers has been the greatest pleasure for me.”
But now, she laments, new designers are finding it even harder to make their mark.
“It takes a lot of money to be able to get yourself out front,” she says. “Fragments grew organically. We got our press organically. We did it through relationships. It’s harder to do that today. You need marketing dollars to let people know you are there. It’s a bigger world, and it’s much harder to communicate.
“It’s much tougher for designers,” she continues. “The competition is great. There are a lot of good jewelry designers out there. You have to be unique today to make a difference, you have to stand out from the pack. My late husband used to say, ‘If you don’t do something out of the ordinary, it stays ordinary.’ In order to get attention, you really have to come up with something that is unique and special.”
She says she will miss her staff, who became “like family,” and who she hopes will continue the business’ legacy in some form. But she mostly professes gratitude for the industry that has been so much a part of her life.
“It’s my passion, and I still get excited when a new line comes into the store,” she says. “I feel so blessed with a career I loved. It’s been a privilege to be part of the industry. It’s been a beautiful journey I’ve been on. I just want to say thank you.”