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How This Former Nurse Built a Custom Fine Jewelry Business

Golden Thread founder Jennifer Welker; Image courtesy of Golden Thread
Golden Thread founder Jennifer Welker; Image courtesy of Golden Thread

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Lately it seems monogramming has made the rounds in trend reports, jewelry collections, and handbags. Specializing in that movement, Golden Thread allows a bevy of luxury customization options for its jewelry line, including hand-engraving in a Houston studio. Founder Jennifer Welker will bring her dainty pieces to Saks Fifth Avenue tomorrow from 10am to 5pm—and her story is an interesting one. As a creative outlet during demanding years in nursing, Welker begin making her own jewelry, which she has since parlayed into a blossoming business.

How did you get into jewelry?
I was a neonatal ICU nurse for about six years and loved it, totally different side of my brain. It was a difficult place to work at times so it started very much as a therapeutic outlet for me. I was steady with my hands, I'd come home from work and would be a little sad. My husband would encourage me to use my creative side so I'd sit on the floor and make jewelry.

What called you to jewelry instead of say, knitting?
I know, right? That's what most people do with their hands. I've always been in love with accessories. It was so natural for me to choose jewelry and I get to redefine monogramming and create classic, dainty, everyday pieces.

Why do you think monogramming has gained momentum?
We're seeing a change in fashion in general. People want to put an individual touch on their bag, their necklace, shoes, whatever. It shows a little bit of individuality. People want something custom to just them.

How did the name Golden Thread come about?
Well I always said I loved wearing necklaces so dainty and thin that it almost looked like a thread. A lot of my pieces started with yellow gold. I didn't want to be Jennifer Welker; plus it leaves the door open for other types of collections that may not be jewelry.

Is that a hope you have for the brand?
Right now we're focusing on accessories, but I want to keep my focus on quality, handcrafted pieces that are timeless and unique. We'll see where it goes.

Diamond Bezel Crest Necklace, $2280

How have you scaled your operations from a creative, post-work outlet to a business?
It's been a whirlwind. This is all while having children, and my husband has an MBA so he's been helpful on the business end. I have five girls working for me in-house so that's been a huge help. We have about twelve people total on staff. It's something I never thought it'd become, which is the biggest blessing.

Saks is a big account. How has that changed your brand?
As you can imagine, I'm so proud and thankful being sold there alongside brands I shopped forever. Saks has done so much for us in all the cities and shows we get to have across the country. It's part of brand awareness and puts a face with a name.

What do you think distinguishes Golden Thread from competitors?
We offer a special level of customization: 14k rose, yellow, or white gold. Chain lengths. The customer gets to be their own designer. Every piece is handmade in our studio in Houston. We get to put a personal heartfelt touch on each piece. At Saks its all solid gold and diamonds and is a reasonable price for fine jewelry.

What is the customer customization experience like at Saks?
The cases are 50/50; some samples and then customers can special order on what they see in the case. It takes three weeks to ship back. Almost like online shopping in the store. The other half is non-personalized pieces.

What is your favorite style you're bringing to Boston?
I'm obsessed with our diamond bezel crest; it's kind of our signature shape. Everyone has seen the monogram disc and we wanted to introduce something different. It's about the size of a crest and looks like a shield with a diamond border around it. I wear mine every day.
· Golden Thread [Official Site]

Saks Fifth Avenue

800 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199 (617) 262-8500 Visit Website