Revolution Jewelry Works is a custom design fine jewelry studio that’s true to its name. Its full-time staff, with a collective 95 years of experience, pride themselves on being approachable experts, not salespeople. Owner Jennifer Farnes, one of only about 100 master faceters in the country, took a leap of faith to open the award-winning store.
“Instead of doing ‘business as usual’ with a stuffy environment and everyone in suits vying to upsell, we wanted to cater to anyone and everyone by fostering a creative environment that is casual enough for any client to walk in and feel at home, whether they are a mechanic or an investment banker,” said Farnes.
“Shiny things are more fun than corporate jobs,” she quipped. “We expected it to just be the three of us — my husband and I, and our only jewelry designer at the time, Pedro — for about five years as we carved out our piece of the pie, but we were almost immediately drowning in custom work.”
Farnes chalks some of their rapid growth up to the demand for customization and individuality.
“I think the younger generations are used to customizing their lives,” she said. “Custom phone case colors, computer backgrounds, you name it. That’s a major driver for our custom business. So we’ll do your Star Wars-themed ring, and also do formal, traditional jewelry work.”
Farnes pointed to an experience with an older couples as an example of Revolution’s custom work.
“The woman had amassed pieces from her husband over the years, but they wanted to make it meaningful in the present,” she said. “So we reworked the pieces into something that speaks to who they are now, after 35 years of marriage.”
Farnes estimated more than 65 percent of business is custom design, including sketching, designing, carving, casting and finishing.
Aside from the market demand, Farnes believes that Revolution Jewelry Works’ success is rooted in its profit-share program. A percentage of the studio’s net profits are offered to employees, and the rest is reinvested in the studio.
“Profit-share has opened up many new suggestions from the team, from new approaches to our advertising, display ideas for our showcases, tools to invest in. … Our employees take ownership in the decision-making process, and it shines through in our customer experience and design work,” said Farnes.
“We’re picky about our hires. That’s been the biggest learning experience for us as we grow,” she said. “Sometimes you have to filter through a lot of coal to find a diamond.”
— Hannah Caproon