Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Lewis.
Sarah, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve always been creative and have been making art and jewelry for as long as I can remember. I started with clay, macrame and blown glass beads when I was young, and began working with metals, crystals, and stones in college.
I received my BFA in Metals & Jewelry at the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2007, and then designed accessories for Free People, before starting my own business – designing and making jewelry. I opened my own boutique in Philadelphia in 2009 and ran it for six amazing years. Adorn Boutique was mostly a showroom for my jewelry collections, but also carried clothing, gifts, home decor, and accessories. During these years, I also developed my website, started my Instagram, and began wholesaling my jewelry to other shops and companies. I worked my butt off and loved every minute of it.
In 2015, I closed my Philly Boutique, and moved to the Redwoods of Northern California, where I spent a lot of time in nature, and ran my business remotely. During that time, I grew my wholesale business. I also rebranded to Hiouchi Jewels, named for the special place in nature where I lived and created for three years.
Last fall, I made the move here to Denver, and have continued to run both my website and wholesale business, and opened up a new shop! Midnight Rambler is a collective boutique, where I supply and curate the jewelry and crystal assortment. I’ve settled in quickly to Colorado, and find it to be the perfect mix of city life and nature. I’ve found so many friends here, and other creatives to collaborate with, and I’m loving this new phase of my business and my life.
Building my business has certainly been a journey, and now in my 10th year, I feel like I’ve really found my groove. With many phases and travels – Savannah, Philly, Northern California, and now Denver – I’ve gathered inspiration and knowledge, friends and colleagues, along the way.
With many facets – designing, creating, marketing, wholesale, retail, and e-commerce – over the years I’ve learned to find a balance in managing them all. And at its core, my business has always been about the jewelry – an art form that I truly love. I think of jewelry as small-scale wearable sculpture and a blend of fine craft and fashion. I find so much joy in the design process and the physical act of forming and shaping metal. I truly love working with stones and crystals and think of setting them in metal, like setting a piece of art. I enjoy the way that jewelry completes an outfit, can be an expression of inner beauty and personal style, and also can carry such deep and personal meaning to my customers.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I have certainly experienced highs and lows, and bumps in the road. I’ve worked with a PR company that didn’t get me any press and I’ve partnered with a showroom who didn’t get me any orders. I signed contracts with each, so was locked in, and both were very financially draining.
I’ve invested in online advertising and not seen much return for my spend. I’ve sent jewelry to influencers, bloggers, and stylists, only to have them cut off communication and never use or return the jewelry.
Manufacturing has also been a struggle. When I started wholesaling my jewelry, I started to outsource some of the makings, to enable me to fill larger orders. For example, parts of my process – plating and casting – are done in NY and LA. I work with some artisan groups in India to produce some of my collection as well. I visit all of my manufacturing partners, build relationships with them, and ensure fair trade and safe/healthy working conditions. However, when manufacturing is outsourced, mistakes can happen. In the past, I’ve run into quality issues, and have had to work around the clock, fixing things on my own in my studio. Sometimes orders have arrived late, making me miss deadlines. Thankfully, now, I have great working relationships with all of my partners and have learned to communicate better to prevent mishaps.
Many times, I have had to pick myself up, dust myself off, eat the losses, and just keep hustling to make up for them. Through so much trial and error, I’ve started to learn what works and what doesn’t. I’ve learned from my mistakes and am now much more careful with all of my decisions and investments.
Please tell us about Hiouchi Jewels.
Hiouchi Jewels is both an artisan jewelry company and a fashion jewelry brand. It’s me – artist Sarah Lewis, handcrafting One-of-a-Kind Jewelry pieces, using fine metals and special crystals and stones. At the same time, it’s me – designer and entrepreneur Sarah Lewis creating and releasing seasonal jewelry collections that I sell online and to over 300 different shops and companies.
In addition to jewelry, I make and sell home decor and ritual offerings – like crystal sets, incense, and sage kits. Oh, and I own a retail boutique! I wear many hats, and I guess what sets me apart is my drive, my motivation, and dedication to my craft.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite memory from my childhood is going mining with my family! I grew up in upstate New York, and my parents used to take my sisters and me to Herkimer, NY, where we went mining for quartz crystals. I’ll never forget those moments, finding those glimmering gems in the dirt, and that is definitely what sparked my love of crystals and stones. I’ve been searching for them and working with them ever since! We also did a lot of hiking and camping, and I grew up playing in nature, which has always been a huge inspiration to me.
- Website: www.HiouchiJewels.com
- Address: Hiouchi Jewels at Midnight Rambler Boutique
2220 E. Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80206
- Phone: 5185052017
- Email: info@HiouchiJewels.com
- Instagram: @HiouchiJewels