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Designing Lives: Sarah Graham




Designing Lives: Sarah Graham

FOR THE PAST DECADE, Sarah Graham’s experimentation with organic forms, non-precious materials, and blackened metal have made her jewelry line one of the most distinctive in the industry, and her keen sense for business has made it one of the most respected. Her designs reveal a talent that equals her social consciousness and her ability to form strong relationships with retailers and consumers. Her strongest bonds — those with her husband, Michael, and infant son, Strummer — have been instrumental in teaching her how to balance her career with family. “Being a mom has given me a new awareness about how precious life really is, which I bring to work with me each day,” Graham says.


 I always wanted to be a secretary when I was a little girl. But when I look back at old pictures of me from high school and college, the signs were there — lots of really big, gaudy jewelry. Turns out I developed a passion for jewelry early. Developing good taste took a little longer.”


“Right after I graduated from college, I designed a bracelet for my sister’s Christmas present and took it to a local jeweler to have it made. Working with the jeweler introduced me to a world I found very intriguing. Much to my father’s dismay, I quit my job at a stock brokerage and offered to clean the jewelry store in exchange for lessons. Fortunately, the jeweler hired me, and eventually, I made my dad proud.”



“I launched my first collection on Jan. 1, 2000, with jewelry that was basically a knock-off of some estate pieces. I also had a little line of this black jewelry that I thought was super cool, but never imagined anyone else would buy. At my first trade show, I put these pieces off in the corner of one case and everyone that stopped only looked at them. You know that feeling when you almost get hit by a car? You are safe and fine, but a little shaken up by what could have happened? I often feel that way about my first show — what if I never put that black jewelry out? I would probably still be waiting tables!”


“My husband and I found out we were pregnant after being married for 17 years. Huge shock. Neither of us ever thought we wanted children and agreed on this on our first date. I’ve always had such a huge passion for my business and have happily put in seven days a week, for years. ‘Good thing I didn’t want kids,’ I often told myself, ‘How would I ever have time?’ Of course, having Strummer changed everything, and I’ve never been so happy in all my life.”

Q&A with Sarah Graham


“I would love to be a writer or a window dresser… and I haven’t written off either as future possibility!”



“Our son Strummer, born in October 2010, was named after Joe Strummer, lead singer of The Clash. He was a social justice advocate, a proponent of global warming policy, a man of uncompromising principles, and a bad ass guitarist.”


“Since having Strummer, my favorite vacation spot can be anywhere as long as it has the following: direct flight, nice weather, a pool to swim in, a park to crawl around in, lots of dogs to chase, and an auntie or grandma to supervise … all so I can finally get some sleep!”


Designing Lives: Sarah Graham


Description “Shadow” earrings in 18K gold and oxidized cobalt chrome with cognac diamonds.

Interest “Combining yellow gold with the matte black of oxidized cobalt chrome creates a contrast that is more striking than if you were to use either metal alone.”

Materials “I chose these diamonds to echo my metal colors so they complement rather than contrast.” 

Inspiration “The lacy design for these earrings is  inspired by the cellular structure of  dehydrated wood.”


Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].



Wilkerson Testimonials | Sollberger’s

Going Out of Business Is an Emotional Journey. Wilkerson Is There to Make It Easier.

Jaki Cowan, the owner of Sollberger’s in Ridgeland, MS, decided the time was right to close up shop. The experience, she says, was like going into the great unknown. There were so many questions about the way to handle the store’s going-out-of-business sale. Luckily for Cowan, Wilkerson made the transition easier and managed everything, from marketing to markdowns.

“They think of everything that you don’t have the time to think of,” she says of the Wilkerson team that was assigned to manage the sale. And it was a total success, with financial goals met by Christmas with another sale month left to go.

Wilkerson even had a plan to manage things while Covid-19 restrictions were still in place. This included limiting the number of shoppers, masking and taking temperatures upon entrance. “We did everything we could to make the staff and public feel as safe as possible.”

Does she recommend Wilkerson to other retailers thinking of retiring, liquidating or selling excess merchandise? Absolutely. “If you are considering going out of business, it’s obviously an emotional journey. But truly rest assured that you’re in good hands with Wilkerson.”

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