Introducing JCK’s New Design Ambassador

Welcome to JCK Events’ new blog, Design of the Times!

I recently joined the JCK show team as its first Design Ambassador. Let me explain: With the reimagining of JCK Tucson and JCK Las Vegas’ Design Center, the show wanted to create a space where talented JCK design-focused jewelers have a place to shine. At the same time, they wanted to highlight the amazing retailers who strongly support the studio artist. This blog is, in essence, an online chronicle of our talented clan.

In order for you to truly understand my call for creating community, building meaningful relationships, and helping emerging designers get their start, I think it’s helpful to understand why, of all people, I was selected for this role.

It all started with a no-agenda breakfast meeting with the fabulous Katie Dominesey, JCK Events industry vice president. Katie had read my column on National Jeweler and was interested in who was writing the opinionated pieces on topics that are often well-known in the industry, but rarely discussed in a public forum. We got to talking, and she soon discovered that I was part of Design Entrepreneurs NYC, a mini-MBA program sponsored by the Fashion Institute of Technology and the New York City Economic Development Corp. We had fun talking shop, and Katie immediately took an interest in my jack-of-all-trades background.

My previous work in marketing and finance had served me well, but I had no passion for it. When I discovered jewelry on a fateful trip to Brazil in 2007, I went all in. I’ve taken classes at almost every studio in NYC, but have to say I’m most proud of my Jewelry Design degree from GIA. I studied technical design, and I currently design custom engagement rings for my own brand, Salt + Stone.

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Treasure ring in platinum and 18k yellow gold with diamond center stone and purple sapphires; price on request; saltandstone.com

As I became friends with my jewelry-school peers, some incredible opportunities came my way. I was a design intern in Banana Republic’s jewelry studio, and I had the privilege of working on national campaigns with the product development team at Tiffany & Co. I have a strong understanding of mass production and a deep appreciation for the studio jeweler. But enough about me!

I’m ready to put the spotlight back where it belongs: on the talented, passionate, and dedicated designers and retailers that are not only the heartbeat of our show but also of our industry. As Design Ambassador, it’s my job to cultivate rapport, help retailers find new talent that would be appropriate for their shop, talk to designers about their go-to-market strategies, and most importantly, provide an infectious positive energy to all involved. I’m so thrilled that JCK has dedicated 2016 to design. It’s the first year that an ambassador has been appointed, and I hope to do the community proud. I will work closely with our design-focused JCK team: account executive Nina Mancini and, of course, Katie Dominesey. If I’m the show’s eyes and ears, then they’re the hands that make it all happen.

There are many new exciting things coming to Tucson and Vegas. First and foremost, it’s throwing the old perspective aside and creating something fresh. It’s no longer about just what happens at the show, it’s what happens all year-round and creating a genuine community with authentic interest. And now, my friends, let’s get started!