Minneapolis Jeweler Got Its Start and Has Grown with Help from the SBA
Jen Bellefleur and Kelsey Lee-Karol, co-owners of New Gild Jewelers in Minneapolis, Minn., met as jewelers working in the industry for others. Restless, they dreamt of opening their own business, one where they could focus their talents on designing beautiful custom pieces for a wide range of people and occasions. They also wanted to create a work environment that would value staff, have good wages and supportive working conditions.
Going for it in 2017, they made the leap from employees to owners with a clear vision but no formal business plan. They found a location and signed a lease and then started looking for outside capital to augment their savings and credit card spending.
Luckily for them, they were referred to WomenVenture, an SBA microlender. Working with a loan officer who saw their vision and said, “I’m going to help you make this happen,” they quickly created a written business plan to get a start-up loan.
In addition to start up help, New Gild has benefited from SBA COVID Relief programs including the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance. Those programs allowed them to weather the mandated closures and focus on strengthening the business. In fact, during the pandemic, they opened a second location that houses their lab equipment and gemologist in an adjacent space where they can focus on jewelry appraisals and gemology work.