(PRESS RELEASE) NEW YORK — The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) announces the expansion of its jewelry design business incubator across North America with support from De Beers. “One of De Beers’ corporate visions and goals for the future is to accelerate economic inclusion and support diverse voices to help shape the future of our business, our communities and our society. . We are proud to support WJA in the Jewelry Loupe 2022 project because we are aligned with our core values. – Charles Stanley, President of De Beers North America
Through De Beers’ partnership, WJA is able to keep the Jewelry Loupe project free and support more emerging designers, especially those from underserved and underrepresented communities, including BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ designers across the country. De Beers is also offering free access to its Diamond Foundation course to all attendees. This year, the program received nearly 100 applications from across the country. Participants for the WJA Jewelry Loupe 2022 project have been selected and the program begins this month.
WJA’s Jewelry Loupe Project was founded in 2019 by leaders from local Northern California chapters with the goal of training new designers on how to start a jewelry business or elevate their existing business. The program’s success over the past three years is due, in part, to its unique incubator model. Designers are paired with industry mentors for one-on-one support and monthly instruction is led by expert contributors from various parts of the jewelry supply chain.
“I developed the Jewelry Loupe project not only to help emerging designers, as most mentorships do, but also to create a strong community of dynamic jewelers aided by a large group of industry veterans. From there, most participants actively contribute to the program beyond their year, essentially paying for it and continually fostering an extensive community network of jewelers,” – Marie McCarthy, co-founder of FiatLux and former president of the WJA, Northern California Chapter.
The incubator’s virtual training modules cover a variety of important topics, including:
- Concept and design with Prerna Sethi and Lauren Hardwell Godfrey
- Marketing and Branding with Temi Adamolekun and Alexei Angelides
- Wholesale and retail partnerships with Lauren Wolf and Alicia Goodwin
- Supply and Materials with Jared Holstein and Noelle Habib
- Trade shows and sales with Morgan Miller and Randi Molofsky
- Packing with Casadevall’s Scott Wolfe
- E-commerce with Ariel Gordon Maffei
The designers meet with their mentors once a month to discuss how the trainings can be incorporated into their work and how they can redesign their collections based on new information provided. The program concludes in September with a final studio review where all designers share their final collections through a sales pitch and, in turn, receive feedback from program mentors and WJA representatives.
Former participants of the Jewelry Loupe project had the opportunity to present their collections in February at MELEE THE SHOW in Tucson, Arizona. WJA looks forward to spotlighting this year’s Jewelry Loupe project participants at future trade shows and industry events.
For a full list of 2022 Program Expert Mentors, Designers and Contributors, visit: here To sponsor the program or participate as a future mentor, contact WJA Membership & Operations Manager, Rachel Jurisz at [email protected].