“Mompreneur” Scores Success in Tough Economy By Applying Business, Social Work And Creative Skills to Jewelry World

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Defying a challenging economy, New Jersey mom Susan Miller has created SKM Artworks, a thriving new jewelry maker, by combining skills learned through her corporate and social work careers with her expertise as a craftswoman. The result -- a striking handwoven collection perfect for today's marketplace.

SKM Artworks Gold Rush

We love her fresh and creative approach to unique materials so much we've given her a showcase in our store.

Success can come even in a difficult economy when a business has great products, a professional, realistic plan, a creative approach, and the awareness to make their work a perfect fit for the current market.

That's just what's happening with SKM Artworks. Two years ago SKM's founder and president, Susan Miller, decided to turn the craft work she loved into a business. Miller brought together skills gained through working as a corporate manager, social worker and mom with her love of gems and creating handmade textiles. The result—a new line of jewelry that has tapped into today's zeitgeist so well that jewelers and boutiques are rushing to sign up for her line. The company's retail base already includes some of the Northeast's leading jewelers.

Miller combines precious metals, gemstones, ancient coins and spiritual symbols with waxed linens and certified green leathers creating astonishingly beautiful pieces that powerfully combine natural beauty and appealing, up to date style. Each SKM piece is unique and handmade -- rustic and spiritual with a luxury twist.

“Today people want to express their individuality when they choose jewelry and accessories. SKM Artworks accomplishes that and more,” Miller says. “These are meaningful, yet versatile pieces that transition seamlessly from your daytime adventures to your evening lifestyle... wearable art that expresses your individuality.”

Jewelers and customers like the results.

“Susan Miller is a delightful and talented jewelry designer who we found literally in our "own backyard." We love her fresh and creative approach to unique materials so much we've given her a showcase in our store. She is developing a following among our customers who happily come back for more of her jewelry,” says Nancy Schuring, president and founder of Devon Fine Jewelry, one of the Northeast's leading jewelers.

Miller credits four factors with her success:

Hard work and a good plan. SKM Artworks has tapped into multiple sales platforms as it's grown. The business began with a bang when what Miller envisioned to be a show of her designs turned into a full-out frenzy with many orders for her unique earthy woven pieces. The buzz ensued, followed by the launch of her online store and a blossoming wholesale business. The online orders continue as SKM artworks pieces fly off the shelves of the east coast boutiques and jewelry stores carrying the line.

Quality and design. Gold. Silver. Ruby. Turquoise. Sapphire. Emeralds. Aquamarine. SKM Artworks utilizes nature's full pallet of beautiful precious and semi-precious gems as well as ancient coins and lovely spiritual symbols. Consistent use of fine materials means that SKM's pieces have the excellence needed to fit in the inventory of fine jewelry stores and in the jewelry boxes of the most demanding collector. At the same time, the gems SKM works with usually have a rawer, more rustic feel that fits perfectly with their natural style and affordable price points.

Value, flexibility and knowledge of customer needs. “When I shop for myself, I’m always trying to find that one piece that can be everything. With SKM, I try to create versatile, flexible designs at a reasonable price” Miller says. Case in point, SKM’s Infinity Plus One, a gorgeous silver Celtic knot pendant on a hand-crocheted 34 inch necklace that can be doubled for wear with a favorite T-shirt or worn full length over a dressier tunic or turtleneck. Another lure of this innovative collection is its ability to layer amazingly together or with pieces from a customer's existing stash. "You don’t have to spend a lot to create a different feel - just add one new piece to what you already have and you’re good to go."

Contribution and connection. “People everywhere are recognizing their need for meaningful connections including connections with the things they purchase and with the people who make them”, explains the artist. “That’s what the handmade movement is all about. That’s what SKM artworks is all about,” she says. At the same time, SKM also contributes a share of its income to qualified non-profits, supporting numerous local New Jersey charities as well as the iHug Foundation that serves some of the most impoverished children in Uganda. The SKM line includes the iHug Wristhug of which 20% of the proceeds benefit this amazing grassroots organization.

“No one factor makes a business a success. But, it's feels really wonderful to be where I am right now.” Miller concludes.

This unique collection is currently available at http://www.shopSKM.com and various exceptional east coast boutiques and jewelry stores. Retail prices for SKM's necklaces range from $89-$299; earrings, $45-$125; bracelets $59-$199.

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