Designing Men

Three retailers who’ve thrown their minds, hearts, and souls into the custom business share their compelling stories.Custom jewelry design has attracted plenty of industry buzz over the past few years, reflecting the strength of the niche. So varied is the category that the current retail landscape includes stores that are, essentially, virtual—because they carry little to no “live” inventory—as well as those offering a mix of vendor-supplied and custom-made designs. But the real excitement in this booming business lies in the micro-niches. Read on to discover the stories of three store owners who’ve created successful jewelry careers that combine their talent for creating bespoke designs with their unique interests.The Wholesaler: When Neiman Marcus opened in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 1991, Oliver Smith, the owner of 17-year-old Smith Fine Jewelers, a source for brands such as D

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