SNAG celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019 and is honoring its membership by highlighting different people on the SNAG website.
Please introduce yourself.
I am the President of Halstead and the founder of the Halstead Grant. I have an MBA in Marketing and Masters of International Management. I am the second generation of Halsteads to lead our company. I’m proud to continue the work that my parents began to support jewelry artists and build an organization on our own terms. I’ve experienced first-hand the transformative power of small businesses for clients, suppliers, employees, owners, and all of their families. I firmly believe that entrepreneurship is one of the most effective paths to positive change in communities. I am passionate about both jewelry and small businesses. I’m so lucky to have this dream job.
How did Halstead begin and how has it progressed or changed over the years?
My father loved anthropology and archaeology. In the 70s, he bought a hank of antique trade beads on a whim. When he showed them to friends at work, they all asked to buy some. Both my parents then began making and selling jewelry at local festivals as a hobby. Over time, the business evolved to sell components instead of finished jewelry. It steadily moved into metals, findings, and chain in addition to beads. The annual printed catalog morphed into a website and full set of resources for the thousands of small jewelry studios we supply around the world.
Our team has grown from that young couple to about 30 employees. We are committed to professional development and personal growth for our entire staff. Many on our leadership team have grown with us from entry-level positions. Everyone who works at Halstead takes free metalsmithing classes in our in-house studio. We set high standards for performance and we achieve results. We offer medical coverage, profit sharing, continuing education, generous paid-time off, and an awesome work environment. Working for a family-owned business is different and we couldn’t be happier about that.
What opportunities are you offering or what projects are you working on currently?
We are proud to be offering our 15th Annual Halstead Grant in 2020. This is a start-up funding award for new silver jewelry artists in the US. It provides a learning opportunity for all participants to analyze their business, set goals, and create concrete action plans to build their studios.
We’ve spent the last six months conversing with past participants and community leaders to learn how we can evolve the program to support more diverse participation in our field. Our mission is to support jewelry entrepreneurs and we hope to see the industry make great strides in diversity in the years ahead. We are making adjustments to the program to make sure small business development resources are widely accessible to BIPOC artists. We will be reaching out to diverse makers through new channels to connect them with small business resources.
How has the field of metalsmithing and jewelry evolved since Halstead began?
Halstead has been in business for 47 years. In that time, we’ve experienced recessions, the digital revolution, globalization, and now a pandemic. Small businesses must constantly adapt to survive. We’ve been proud to be a part of the rise of business management principles among jewelry studios. It has also been exciting to see women break through so many barriers in the jewelry world. When I was growing up in the jewelry industry, it was all men. The field looks entirely different now. Diversity is our next challenge to conquer at every level. We need to be attracting more BIPOC artists to the jewelry field and nurturing them through careers into leadership roles.
What are your plans for the future? Is there anything specific that you hope to accomplish in the next year?
All business owners are juggling multiple crises right now. It is hard not to be in survival mode. We are trying to see current challenges as opportunities. For example, we see consumers embracing digital media and small businesses. Many jewelry store franchises are downsizing. That presents an opportunity for independent jewelry studios that sell through local brick and mortar shops or online. Those are our clients. We are hyper-focused on helping our client base and all small jewelry businesses to survive this difficult time. We do that through our supply chain but also through blogs and webinars on relevant topics for our audience. This year, we will reinforce the core pillar of our mission: small business development in the jewelry field. We want to help all jewelry artist entrepreneurs to pivot and thrive in the years ahead.
How and when did first become involved with SNAG?
My first SNAG conference was Phoenix in 2012. I think I only missed one or two events since then. I loved seeing the passion and raw talent of the many students who attended the conference. That sparked with my own personal work to help emerging artists during their start-up phase. I enjoy the mix of perspectives at SNAG. It is wonderful to bring students, educators, professional makers, and conceptual artists together in the same space to exchange ideas and support one another. SNAG’s greatest strength is its unique community. Its important to have an organization that unites varied voices and provides a forum for conversations.