Designer Judi Powers said her involvement with Ethical Metalsmiths allows her and other like-minded designers and metalsmiths the ability to share ideas when it comes to sourcing.
New York--Living in her own “Wild West” when she was younger and now working in a collaborative Brooklyn studio to create jewelry, Judi Powers says these drab winter days mean colorful pieces are on the way for her next collection.

Powers is the focus of the second installment of “One to Watch,” National Jeweler’s new monthly feature that introduces retailers to up-and-coming jewelry brands and designers who are looking to expand.

Below, the Pennsylvania-native-turned-Brooklynite answers questions retailers need to know about her eponymous brand.

National Jeweler: What was the inspiration for your newest collection?
Judi Powers: It’s always in the gray winter months that I miss color, so my new work is really inspired by color. I’ve just completed a new collection I’m calling “Prism,” and within that are sweet, delicate prong-set cabochons that I’m calling “Gum Drops.” These pieces are all about the stones, and their range of beautiful nature-inspired color and their shape, which resembles gum drops.

NJ: Where is your jewelry made?
JP: I handcraft all of my jewelry in Brooklyn, N.Y. at a collaborative metalsmithing studio. I always enjoyed working with colleagues in my past career and even though I work on my own, I’m surrounded by incredibly talented artists who inspire me and help me problem-solve on a daily basis.

NJ: What should retailers focus on, or what story should they tell, when showing your line to customers?
JP: All of my work celebrates joy. It’s about simple elegance; I want my customer to feel comfortable wearing my pieces for every occasion. It’s about nature, it’s about color, it’s about finding peace within and it’s about love for both ourselves and those closest to us.

I make everything as sustainably as possible and use recycled precious metals and diamonds and ethically sourced colored stones as much as possible. I belong to an organization called Ethical Metalsmiths, and it’s such a wonderful resource for those of us who are trying very hard to work sustainably.

I think that’s an important piece of what I do because it’s important to create work that makes my clients both look and feel good because there’s been real love and care put into making them.

NJ: How much inventory must a retailer invest in to carry your brand?
JP: I have a 10-piece minimum order.

NJ: What retailers are currently carrying your line?
JP: My collection is available at Van Scoy Jewelers in Reading, Pa. and online at HatchJewelry.com, UncommonGoods.com, EcoHabitude.com and AhaLife.com.   

NJ: What are your plans for upcoming collections?
JP: I just spent the past week in Tucson attending the AGTA gem show. I was really excited about colored stones and gemstone bead strands in particular. I found some big, juicy tourmalines, effervescent beryls and icy blue topazes, among many others. In the future, you’ll be seeing some gem-intensive statement necklaces from me.

NJ: Are you exhibiting at any trade shows in the next 12 months?
JP: I’m exhibiting this month at GlobalDesign, the wholesale-only show within American Craft Council Baltimore curated by the late Cindy Edelstein, my mentor and friend. And I’ve just learned that I’m a JCK Rising Star, so I’m planning to be in Las Vegas in June.

NJ: Complete this sentence. “People would be surprised to learn that I …”
JP: I lived in a small amusement park/recreated “Wild West” town when I was a child. It was originally built as a film set and had a small train line that ran around the circumference of our little homestead. And this town was in Pennsylvania--nowhere near the Wild West!

Retailers interested in contacting Judi Powers may do so via her website, JudiPowersJewelry.com.

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