2182 Bandywood Drive, Nashville, Tenn.
Along with her own jewels, Brooke Worthington carries a curated selection from designers such as Maria Tash, Rosedale, and Vale. “I have a personal relationship to everything—made by a sorority sister, a friend, a classmate,” says the retailer. “The store is basically a collage of people I love and women I represent.”
Brooke Worthington was studying music business at Nashville’s Belmont University when she started dabbling in beading in 2011, the summer before her senior year. “People say it’s the gateway drug to jewelry,” she laughs, adding that a few local boutiques quickly picked up her bracelets. Worthington may have been green in the world of stones and gems, but the Nashville native wasted no time getting her business license and visiting New York City to scout out the jewelry district and start finding resources. It wasn’t long before Nashville’s most stylish boutiques, including H. Audrey and Emerson Grace, started carrying her pieces.
Fast-forward seven years and the 29-year-old Worthington—who later enrolled in the New Approach School for Jewelers in Arrington, Tenn. (“the best thing that ever happened to me, hands down”)—now has her own dedicated space, which she calls “a mixture of a showroom, custom design studio, and shop,” to showcase her signature fine jewelry. “I’d already built up a pretty large local following, so my sales and margins worked out really well,” she says of her November 2016 opening, “and it’s only continued to grow since.”
Keep It Casual
Walking into Worthington’s showroom is akin to entering your most stylish friend’s living room: You immediately feel right at home, and you also want to own everything she has. Part of Worthington’s Southern charm is her down-to-earth appearance—her makeup is minimal, and it’s a rare day when she isn’t clad in denim. And the designer’s shop reflects her personality, with its delightfully unstuffy, bright white decor marked by a punch of color here, some texture there. Her fine jewelry mimics this simplicity too. Pieces feature a bit of an edge and a dash of versatility: bezel-set stones on a delicate yellow gold chain, an opal anchoring a thin band, pavé diamond spiked earrings. These days, roughly half of Worthington’s business comes from engagement rings. And while she believes in investing in fine jewelry instead of statement pieces—most of her boutique line sells for $150 to $575—she also keeps a selection of studs priced under $100. “I’ve tried to maintain a pretty broad array of price points, because I do get a lot of foot traffic,” Worthington says. “I also have younger siblings with friends who shop here and can’t afford high-end, so I want to have something for them and foster those relationships. Because, who knows, someday they may come to me for their engagement ring.”
Because Worthington believes that, ultimately, her brand is all about her, she has resisted hiring permanent full-time employees. “I feel like it’s a stronger emotional relationship when people buy directly from me.” She readily gives her cellphone number to clients, who frequently text her questions or ask to purchase a piece she posted on Instagram (@brookeworthingtonjewelry). That personal touch on social media has earned Worthington a devout online fan base—women who live as far as Colorado say they want only her to design their ring. “It’s definitely not your traditional approach to a jewelry store,” she admits, “but it’s manageable for me while keeping it fun and rewarding.”
Photography by Nick McGinn