Connect with us

Designer Profiles

Designing Lives: Sarah Graham

mm

Published

on

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.

EARLY SIGNS

 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.”

IN THE BEGINNING

“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.”

Advertisement

PURE INSTINCT

“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!”

TRUE LOVE

“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

WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN ANY OTHER CAREER?

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

Advertisement

WHAT DON’T PEOPLE IN THE BUSINESS KNOW ABOUT YOU?

“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.”

FAVORITE VACATION SPOT?

“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!”

DESIGNER’S PICKS

Advertisement

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].

Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials

Wilkerson Helped This Jeweler to Navigate His Retirement Sale Despite a Pandemic

Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

Promoted Headlines

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Subscribe


BULLETINS

INSTORE helps you become a better jeweler
with the biggest daily news headlines and useful tips.
(Mailed 5x per week.)

Latest Comments

Most Popular