The Future of Design Business Incubator Contest Launches

Jeweler?s Resource Bureau has partnered with Andrea Hill, owner of the business consulting firm StrategyWerx in Campbellsport, Wis., to produce a new contest in which the winning jewelry designer receives more than $250,000 worth of services and mentoring. Dubbed the Future of Design Business Incubator Contest, it promises to aid up-and-coming designers by allowing them to compete for assistance and exposure from industry veterans.

The Pelham, New York-based Jeweler’s Resource Bureau is the brainchild of President Cindy Edelstein, who has spent more than 20 years helping generations of designers and entrepreneurs find sales and success in the wholesale arena.  

“The contest has the competitive entrepreneurial feel of Shark Tank coupled with the industry nurturing of the fashion world?s CFDA/Vogue Fund,” says Edelstein. “Our judges bring expertise in entrepreneurship, manufacturing, marketing, salesmanship, and technology. Our Dream Team offers hard-earned wisdom learned on the road to success. And our sponsors provide critically important industry exposure and credibility. All together, this puts the equivalent of a lifetime of knowledge into the hands of a relative newcomer.”

Hill, meanwhile, says that the potential impact of “sound advice and a network of supporters can make all the difference.”

“The learning curve of success can be very steep and we?re excited to shorten it for the right folks,” she says.

Unlike most competitions for designers, this one puts the business acumen of the designers on an equal footing with design. Applicants have to supply information about their business plans as well as submit examples of their design work.

Six semifinalists will be chosen based on their marketing and business accomplishments as well as their designs. They will be interviewed by the judges via video conference call.

Semifinalists will also win a mentoring meeting with one of the Future of Design’s Dream Team of six jewelry designers: Gurhan Orhan, Erica Courtney, Todd Reed, Penny Preville, Lisa Jenks, and Robert Lee Morris.

Three finalists will be chosen and flown to New York City for the final round of judging, which will take place during a live event at the Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America Expo New York in March 2012. Each applicant will have 10 minutes to pitch their plans and designs to the judges and respond to questions from them and select retailers, editors, and industry VIPs. The event will be open to all show attendees.

The judging panel includes Cindy Edelstein, Andrea Hill, Kate Peterson of Performance Concepts, Mendel Rotenberg of Fusion Jewelry, and Jim DeMattei of ViewPoint, who will give feedback on every entrant’s plans and business aspirations with a view toward helping them find their unique sales proposition.

Prizes include consulting from StrategyWerx, sales training from Performance Concepts, a year?s worth of manufacturing services from Mendel Rotenberg, a year of exposure in the ViewPoint showroom, and much more.

“This is a business contest, not just a design contest,” says Edelstein.

Designers interested in participating can access the online application beginning Sept. 7 and can work on it until the deadline of midnight on Dec. 1, 2011. The six semifinalists will be chosen in January. The finale will be held at the MJSA Expo New York on Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2012.

The application rules and regulations are available at FutureofDesignContest.com.

For more information, contact Cindy Edelstein at 914-738-8485 or cindy@jewelersresource.com.