Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.
What do you do and how long have you been doing it? (Robert speaking) We're a retail jewelers, specializing in custom design and repair. We've been in business since 2005.
Business: Facets Jewelry Studio
Owner: Robert and Suezann Rushing
Address: 301 E. Main St., Medford
Facebook: Facets Jewelry Studio
How long have you lived in the Rogue Valley? We moved here from San Diego 23 years ago.
What inspired you to go into this line of work? My wife has been a goldsmith, starting right out of high school. The thing that really inspired her was a high school art teacher in Brainerd, Minn. She went to a trade school at Minneapolis Vocational Technical Institute and came out and got a job right away in Phoenix, Ariz., and never went back. She was living in San Diego when I married her. I was in the electronics field when we met and when we moved here I ran an after-market service for laminating printed sheets. Business was falling off when we started the jewelry shop and it was a perfect transition.
What decision or action would you change if you could do it again? (Suezann speaking) I think I was ready sooner to start our own shop. I was a little divided between family whether to make the jump because it was a commitment of time and energy. But I think I could have done just fine. I think, the sooner the better is always best. We're happy where we are at right now, but we definitely could've made the jump sooner.
What's the toughest business decision you've made? Cash flow. We've never really borrowed money to run the business. It has always been a fine balancing act to pull in as much new product and to expand offerings for our customers. We have a lot of repeat customers and we're trying to stay exciting for them yet stay secure for us. Our back room generates most of our business with repair and custom work. But I like having the sales floor and the ability for people to come in and try things on, and fill the quick need they have. So we want to showcase other designers and what they are doing.
The price of gold has made our repair and custom work stronger. People are getting jewelry handed down, where in the past they would've been parked in a jewelry box and put away. I think now people are taking those resources and breathing new life into them and creating new stuff, rather than just buying something.
Who are your competitors? Art FX in Ashland has the next strongest bench to ours. (The company name has been corrected in this version.) When people are looking for custom goldsmithing, you want something special for them. It takes a little bit of time, but not much more to produce something from the resources people already have to supplement the project. All of the jewelry stores in the valley — but I'm not familiar with chain stores — have distinct separate images serving a different need and we often share customers.
What are your goals? I would like to see another bench person and a couple of sales people here and we would like to see downtown Medford flourish.
What training or education did you need? I was at the Minneapolis Vocational Technical Institute a year-and-a-half. I moved to Phoenix and went to work under another jeweler, G. Bradley Jewelers in Phoenix. I did that for two years. When the partnership broke up, one of the partners opened a shop in La Jolla and offered me a job there. I worked for C.J. Charles for another two or three years. I left to be an independent contractor for corporate stores.
What's your advice for budding entrepreneurs? Be tenacious and not afraid and just do it. Figure out the challenges as they come along.
To suggest ideas for this column, about businesses that are at least five years old, contact reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.