We had the good fortune of connecting with Julia Winter and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Julia, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When I consider the “why” behind Jewel Ya it was all about flexibility. I was searching for flexibility both professionally and personally. For my search to find it I engaged a life coach. I was struggling to find the guts to change. Having a safe person to discuss options and think about different perspectives helped me find the courage. I wasn’t leaving a roll, company or opportunities that I didn’t like. I’d been in technology sales and management for over 15 years. Walking away from the comfort and frankly strong future options was scary. But, what I didn’t have was flexibility. Building Jewel Ya allowed me to create exactly what it would look like and how I would operate. I can’t say that I’ve never looked back. But I can say I found the flexibility and a job that I love and challenges me.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I love what I do. I’m excited to create pieces and get to know my clients. My business is a mix of working directly with customers, offering a wholesale line, having a online web boutique and participating in events. The mix allows for the business to sustain itself when one or two areas are slower. For instance during this past year and a half of Covid if we didn’t already have a strong online store there would have been no way to keep revenue coming in. All of our wholesale and event business came to a halt. Thankfully the investment of building an online presence was done years before and staying current in the digital world remains a top priority.

The one “thing” that sets Jewel Ya apart from other jewelry lines is the client service. From my years in technology sales I had the best training in taking care of customers and learning to listen to what they need. I take the client experience personally (sometimes to a fault) and I strive to find away to make challenges work out.

And it’s difficult to offer top notch support when you’re not working with high quality metals, gemstones and beads. I start with suppliers and parts that I trust which allows me to warrant our workmanship. I love nothing more than running into a client who is wearing a piece from 15 years ago.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I could write a book on this question…… so I’ll do my best. My favorite visitors are my sister Meg and her husband Ed. They come from Portland and love all things new that involve laughing and eating great food. We’d start with a planning trip to Lux Coffee. I’ve been a groupie for about 20 years. I loved them when they had a tiny spot next to their funky current location on Central. For me I can never leave without taking some of their “healthy muffins” with me. It’s an addiction. But, since it has the word healthy in the title I’m good with it.

We’d spend our time plotting several dinners and choosing one road trip. Their are 2 on my current list. I’ve always wanted to go spend the night at DA Ranch in Cornville. A friend of mine is one of the owners and she used to let me pick up bottles of wine from her house. I love the Red Barn Red. Having a tasting and staying over would be a fun and relaxing adventure. This fall is the perfect time so I’m hoping this visit happens soon.

The other road trip on my list is heading down to Bisbee and staying at the Shady Dell. The concept of staying in their one of a kind trailer and eating at Dot Diner sounds so fun.

After our decision we’d head to FAME Cafe for a fresh lunch. I’m crazy about their their Turkey Avocado Sandwich with Kennebec House Chips. Unbelievable. Next we’d need to go rest to get ready for dinner at my all time favorite restaurant Tarbell’s. I love sitting at their bar for dinner but since I’m hosting my sister and brother in law we’ll plan for the patio. Their new outdoor seating is pretty special.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Where do I start! I work with so many amazing people. Retailers, hotel and resort groups who said yes to my line. Girlfriends who worked events and hosted trunk shows. Charities and important causes that invited me to sell and help raise money for their causes. Talented artesians who taught me skills, and most importantly my husband Matt. Matt drove me to my first gem buying show while I took a conference call the entire way in the car. He came up with the kitschy name for my business, schelpped a milliion boxes to events, hand hammered many metals, and offered pro-bono legal help with branding. To this day he does all of that plus puts up with me discussing a million scenarios daily on how to keep growing, expanding and re-inventing.

Website: jewelya.com

Instagram: @jewelyadesigns

Facebook: @jewelyadesigns

Youtube: jewelyadesigns

Image Credits
Dani Westfall model Kay Eskridge Photographer Nina Blaicher model Julia Chavez Photographer

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