written by: Zanne Lamb-Hunt
When it comes to having local roots, Stacy Krantz is the real deal as a 4th generation Fredericktonian. Her maternal great-grandfather operated the Braddock Hotel prior to its burning down. He then ran the Devona and Frederick Hotels. On the paternal side, they were all farmers and millwrights.
Graduating from Frederick High School in 1988, Stacy went on to earn a degree in social work at Radford University, about four hours ‘down the road.’ That was far enough to gain a little anonymity.
“Both of my parents were really highly revered, respected and loved educators in the county. I couldn’t go to the grocery store while growing up without knowing everybody in the aisle. It made for a real good reason to get out of Dodge to go to college. You can’t act up when everybody knows you!”
After college, Stacy was accepted into the Peace Corps. She was sent to Gabon in Central Africa where she taught farmers how to build fish ponds and raise tilapia. When that assignment ended, she returned to the US to spend a year in New Mexico as a youth counselor at an Indian Pueblo.
When she finally returned to the East Coast, she brought a new hobby with her — jewelry-making. It eventually led her to entrepreneurship as the owner of In Bloom Jewelry.
Stacy offers some very compelling reasons to work with a jewelry artisan.
“Jewelry is an expression. It’s an artistic expression. It’s a personal expression. What you adorn yourself with is the most personal form of expression, stylistically and otherwise. It can mean all kinds of different things.”
For example, “It can be a football ring meaning ‘I won the Super Bowl’ or it can be a simple pair of blossom earrings received as a gift from your father that represents the love and bond between you.”
She adds, “Jewelry is highly personal and highly specific.”
* Traditional Techniques
Stacy points out that many jewelry shops today have CAD (Computer Aided Design) and other modern tools for creating unique pieces. “You can build a ring on a computer and have it carved by a machine and waxed and cast.”
But, there’s a lot to be said for carrying on the torch of traditional methods. “Part of the cool thing about working with a traditionally trained goldsmith is that the techniques used haven’t really changed. It’s a very ancient and special craft.” And, it makes those special pieces even more special.
* See The Hand In The Work!
Whatever the inspiration, a lot of thought, feeling, care and craftsmanship goes into creating each custom piece of jewelry.
“I feel like I work very hard on that. To take special stones or heirloom pieces that we put together to represent your life story, your family’s history that can be passed down is an exceptional thing and not something to be afraid of.”
* Create Memories That Last
“The combination of the technical skills, the artistry, the business systems…all together create what we can do here in In Bloom Studio.”
* Why Not? Why wait?
Working with an experienced jewelry artisan is the best way to bring your custom jewelry ideas to life. It’s probably far more affordable than most people think and with far greater meaning.
The Entrepreneurial Spirit Was Ignited By The Women of Gabon
Stacy gives credit to the women of Gabon for igniting her entrepreneurial passion. “The fires began to burn when I watched the women there and what they did.”
She continues, “They were so industrious. They were really crafty. They just knew how to make the most out of what they had and to earn money. They inspired me.”
Then, while in New Mexico, the flame had a little more kindling. She met a goldsmith at a party — “an old guy who had a handle bar moustache. He was an archeologist character.”
And, he shared some of his techniques. Then she found her own little gold mine in a $25/day vendor’s table.
A Humble Start At The Eastern Market in Capitol Hill in DC
Back on the East Coast, Stacy displayed and sold her early jewelry creations at the Eastern Market. “The first day I did it, I was shaking in my boots! But, I sold four of the seven pieces that I had. Then, I just kept going back.”
The endeavor was successful enough that she continued this routine for about three years. “It just really took off. It was in the late 90s and the economy was very good.”
The networking was good, too! “In that market, I met a lot of people and I started to do some wholesale events. I decided to do a wholesale show.” That did it!
Stacy reveals that she wrote more in orders in that one first wholesale show than she probably would have made in a year as a social worker. Being pulled even stronger in the direction of entrepreneurship, Stacy fully committed to that path.
Creativity Was A Natural But The Business End Was A Challenge
“The creative aspects were pretty free-flowing and natural for me but learning and accepting the reality — respecting what business concepts and business structure means — was the biggest challenge for me.”
She continued, “Don’t spend all your cash and then you have none left to buy materials or booth fees. Just basic cash flow concepts.”
“I went in very naive but, after a few years, I started to recognize — oh, wow! look at what I’m in! — and I may have recoiled a bit and taken less risk artistically,” she confides.
Asked what would have been different if she knew at the start what she knows now, Stacy responds, “I would have trusted more and taken more risks.”
Making A Difference Through In Bloom Heroes
“I always get asked to donate jewelry to a lot of the local charities and auctions, which I don’t mind doing. But, I wanted to be a little more pointed about it and choose an individual who is really special about how they contributed.
Last year, we started doing this thing called In Bloom Heroes. We choose a person in the community and award them the status of In Bloom Hero. I chose a woman named Shari Ostrow Scher who helps children whose parents are incarcerated.”
Stacy adds, “COIPP is the name of her organization — Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership. I made her a beautiful pendant that sells for $100 or $340. It’s called Resilience. We sell it online.”
It has been a great success! “We’re getting close to almost $5000 in total that we’ve raised and donated directly to her.” The 2016 In Bloom Hero has been chosen and will be announced soon.
Making A Difference For Everyone!
“Jewelry is so personal. There are beautiful stories every day of representing, memorializing, celebrating life, important moments in people’s lives that are highly personal. To take part in the building of that is just really, really special.”
Everything at In Bloom Jewelry is handmade. “I do all of the one-of-a-kind and custom work by myself. I do all of the designing for the In Bloom lines and have established all of the In Bloom lines over the years.”
Stacy notes, “Each jewelry designer has her style. My work is all botanical, nature-inspired. I feel like I’ve developed my own signature in terms of my design language.”
And then there’s the rest of the In Bloom Studio team! “Jenifer Nicodemus is a metalsmith who has been with me for about eight years. Katie Urquiza is the business and marketing manager. She does the logistics — she does everything! Dylan Warner is in training and works part-time at the bench assisting Jen.”
Stacy Gets A Little Help From The Canva App
“I really love this App called Canva. It’s like a Graphic Design for Dummies. It’s very easy to use. If you’re wanting to do things like put graphics onto social media, do a banister headline or just do a quick postcard. It’s really intuitive.” A free version is available.
“I have a wonderful graphic artist, Heather Bodnar from Three Old Souls. She’s wonderful for more complex projects.”
Words To Work By
Stacy borrows a quote from Aristotle who once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.”
She takes it to be very true and it’s something they all live by in the In Bloom Jewelry Studio.
Reach out to Stacy at In Bloom Jewelry to get the ball rolling to perpetuate old memories or create new ones with custom jewelry.
“Why not? Why wait? Necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings — We do everything!”
Call 240-490-8038 “If there’s no answer, everyone is busy being creative! Leave a message and your call will be returned at the end of the day.”
or Text 240-285-2517
Content Provided by Frederick Advice Givers Podcast #044: Eric Verdi Interviews Stacy Krantz