Name: Jen Westmoreland Bouchard
Business: Litany Jewelry Designs, one of a kind antique and vintage jewelry pieces
Industry: Clothing & Accessories
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Reason for starting: After years of collecting jewelry on my world travels, I was inspired to start designing my own. With so much mass-produced jewelry currently available in stores and online, I saw the need for one-of-a-kind pieces with personal value, cultural significance, and aesthetic appeal— jewelry that people are proud to own and pass down to future generations. Litany Jewelry Designs is unique in that I use internationally sourced vintage and antique medallions, pendants, gemstones, beads, tassels, and chains to create custom collections for boutiques and private clients. The name “Litany” is a synonym for “list.” I have a background in literature and I am as attracted to words as I am to jewelry. I keep growing lists of concepts that inform my collections and make each one meaningful and unique.
How do you define success? My process is to get to know my clients and boutique owners and then return to the studio and design a piece or collection that absolutely thrills them. I can tell immediately by someone’s expression if they are in love with what I’ve created— that look of complete joy is how I define success. I also know I’ve been sucessful when I receive feedback from people who own my jewelry telling me that they always reach for their Litany pieces because they are both beautiful and significant. In terms of fiscal success, I work hard to maintain relationships with boutique owners to promote sales and grow my business— and this has definitely paid off.
Biggest Success: In the two years that I’ve been running this company, I’ve placed my designs in over twenty boutiques across the country. I’ve had the opportunity to work with nationally recognized stylemakers and organizations that share Litany’s values, such as prAna and Wanderlust Yoga Festivals. Part of my mission is to donate a portion of Litany’s revenue to organizations that facilitate global education, work to ensure human rights, and help our fellow global citizens thrive. Over the past two years, Litany is proud to have supported both local and international nonprofits.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Sourcing materials is both a joy and a challenge. When I travel, I comb flea markets and estate sales for unique vintage pieces to use in my designs. When I’m back in the studio, I figure out the most cost-effective and efficient way to source quality, unique materials to be able to continually supply inventory to all of my boutiques. Over the past two years, I’ve developed working relationships with antique and gemstone vendors from all over the world who assist me in sourcing these products. This mutually beneficial collaboration has really streamlined the process.
Who is your most important role model? My aesthetic muse is my late grandmother who instilled in me a love of travel and adornment; I think of her often when I am in the studio. In terms of entrepreneurship, I have many role models. I am drawn to individuals and organizations that maintain a commitment to quality, ethics, and continue to contribute to their local and global communities in inspired, creative ways. We have so much to learn from and offer one another.
Edited by The Story Exchange