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COOL STORE. The Smithery in Columbus is the third-place winner in the Small Cool Division of the 2020 America’s Coolest Stores Contest.

THE PARTNERS. Anne Holman and Jen Townsend, owners of the Smithery, are graduates of the Columbus College of Art and Design. Their goal, which they achieved with the opening of their jewelry store and studio in 2014, was to teach workshops and sell and make jewelry as part of their business.

UNIQUE CONCEPT. When the Smithery opened in 2014 it was the only store in Columbus that contained workshop space for the public, exhibition space and studios for owners Anne Holman and Jen Townsend. While Columbus has a vibrant art community, metalsmithing and art jewelry venues were sparse. “We were anxious to bring the field we love to a greater presence in our city,” Townsend says. “Being both store owners and artists gives us a unique perspective and allows us to interact in a different way, to share artists’ stories and inspirations.”

ELEGANT STRUCTURE. The logo itself is a work of art and the design came from trial and error. Anne and Jen wanted something related to what they were doing that was not too masculine or generic, with a little flair and elegance balanced with some structure.

THE 2019 EXPANSION. In 2019, the Smithery’s studio and store separated to create more space. The update doubled the store’s footprint and kept the studio in the same block. Now there’s enough room to allow for another goal: hosting curated exhibitions featuring work by emerging and established artists making innovative art jewelry.

ARTISTS AT WORK. The Smithery offers custom jewelry services including heirloom, engagement and commitment rings. Design, fabrication, casting, and stone setting is all done in house using recycled precious metals.

HOUSE BRANDS. Anne and Jen each have their own line of jewelry and collaborate on a shared signature collection as well.

DIY DESIGN. Both owners worked in visual merchandising at times, and the outfitting of their store was largely a DIY effort. They built many of the cases and fixtures to meet display needs. They had a local craftsman ( make raw steel hairpin legs at varying heights that they added to tables they built and to some IKEA furniture that they hacked.

SMALL-BATCH JEWELRY. The shop represents work from over 70 independent artists from across the country.
When considering what to sell in the store, beyond their own work, Anne and Jen look at quality, wearability and price point. “We want a distinctive voice and look to their work so everyone can stand out and appeal to different aesthetics,” Jen says. What most have in common is they are making small batch, limited-edition jewelry.

FLAUNT IT. Exhibitions allow them to showcase more exploratory work and wearable sculptures. This has opened a curatorial and creative outlet for them, too, as they come up with ideas and seek artists for these shows.

WEDDING-BAND WORKSHOPS. More than 80 couples have made their own wedding bands in workshops at The Smithery. Such personalized experiential retail makes a lasting impression.

OPENING MINDS. Shoppers can find pieces with familiar aesthetics, but also pieces that challenge expectations of what jewelry can be. Over time, clients become comfortable trying on new things, and often find a path to bolder designs.

A Dozen Photos That Tell The Smithery Story

A Dozen Photos That Tell The Smithery Story

COOL STORE. The Smithery in Columbus is the third-place winner in the Small Cool Division of the 2020 America’s Coolest Stores Contest.