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Beth Millner Jewelry

The Story

Beth Millner launched in Beth Millner Jewelry in 2007 as a home-based business from her kitchen table in Marquette, Mich.  From its inception, Millner has run her jewelry business by looking forward, selling her exquisitely crafted jewelry inspired by the natural landscape of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula at art fairs and music festivals.

The Challenge

Five years after opening, Millner had an opportunity to expand her business by opening a brick and mortar storefront in downtown Marquette.  But she would need a business plan and financial projections that would be critical in accessing any type of business loan.  She turned to the SBA-powered Small Business Development Center for guidance in developing a solid plan with financial projections grounded in market research.  This proved to be the winning combination and Millner was approved for an SBA microloan from Northern Initiatives, a regional community development financial institution. 

The Benefit

Since then, her company has grown nationally and internationally using digital assets.  As a small-town retailer, Millner understands that she has a limited supply of potential local customers.  Millner has embraced a robust e-commerce website that allows her to sell across the globe.  She also had to navigate changes in shopping habits of Millennials who would rather spend on experience rather than goods, and the proliferation of online shopping.  To combat these trends and grow her business she knew she needed a creative vision and sound strategy.  She started a program where she gives back to the community with a unique program where Upper Peninsula non-profit organizations apply to have a custom-designed pendant made for them.  A portion of the sales are donated back to the non-profit and over $24,000 has been donated in the last three years to various organizations.   In 2020, Beth Millner Jewelry was selected as the Michigan Women-Owned Small Business of the Year.  From her kitchen table to statewide recognition, Millner epitomizes the spirit of entrepreneurship.