Happy Women's History month! We wanted to celebrate by sharing our history as a woman owned business. Founded in 2000, My mother Lynne started Geneva Lakes Jewelry LLC at the age of 38. She worked out of our house providing appraisal and design services to friends, family and neighbors. At the time she was raising me and my sister, keeping up a beautiful home, and realizing her life long dream of owning a horse.
As me and my sister Mati grew up we became involved with our local 4-H chapter and started training and showing miniature horses. We traveled to horse shows across the midwest, showing in driving classes, showmanship, and drill teams. After 5 years of bringing us to horse shows and spending a lot of time at large expos, Lynne saw an opportunity to use that time to build her business. She decided to sign up as a vendor and sell jewelry at the places we were already traveling to. After a long search to find equestrian jewelry that was beautiful and made in the USA, she found few designs she thought were beautiful. This was her inspiration to start the Lynne Cole Equestrian Collection.
Mati and I retired from the showing circuits but Mom kept going, she traveled to art shows and horse shows selling her custom designs. Sometimes this would mean traveling a 16 hour day and loosing money. Sometimes this meant traveling to a show in Southern California and meeting a new best friend. A lot of times it meant donating to local charities in the areas she traveled to gain attention in the silent auctions. All of this traveling and selling started to accumulate inventory and when the showing season slowed in the Fall of 2007, she decided to open her first storefront and use it as a studio to paint.
By now, Lynne was really invested in her business. She was not only working weeks at a time when she while traveling but going into the office every day. She opened her door and met some amazing people who inspired her to try new things and continue growing. With the help of my wonderful step father, she was now working 365 days a year, keep for snow days, Christmas, and the occasional 6 hour trail ride. The amount of hours she has put into the company since then are astounding. Imagine driving all through the night to make it to the east coast by morning and save the expense of an extra hotel room. We would arrive in the morning, set up the vendor site, and check into the hotel to rest before the show started the next day. She showed up in the wake of a large international recession and provided solutions to keep our business growing.
All of this sent a strong signal to me and my sister - you can build the life you want by grasping at opportunities and lifting up others along the way. In this time she helped other women get on their feet by sharing skills she had learned growing her business and encouraging them to try. She would share her vendor spaces with friends who wanted to test their own products. She met amazing business women in the equestrian industries who would save money together by renting houses while traveling and extreme couponing when going out for business dinners. Geneva Lakes Jewelry would not have grown to what it is without each and every friend, partner and customer along the way.
This past year, 2020 has brought a lot of changes to my life. I was laid off from my job in event planning in Utah and me and my boyfriend (now Fiance) decided to move home to job hunt and be closer to family. My job search was tedious and lasted longer than I thought was possible. It ended up being serendipitous though, because we expanded our store when our space sharing partner retired. I am beyond thankful for an opportunity to continuing learning about the world of gems and jewelry while working alongside my mom.