A new upscale jewelry store is environment up shop on S. Kansas Avenue this drop.
Right after about 13 a long time absent from Topeka, Midwest indigenous Michele Billam has returned to the funds metropolis to pursue a business enterprise venture that builds on her yrs of expertise in the jewellery-retail realm.
On Sept. 24, Billam strategies to celebrate the grand opening of MB Addis & Co. Legacy Jewelers, a store she hopes will become Topekans’ go-to shop for stunning diamonds and sterling service.
“The place is intended to be a pretty superior-end boutique — sort of jewelry-salon come to feel — but with the lens of attainable, reasonably priced luxury for the neighborhood sector,” Billam reported. “My beloved way of describing it is it is a modern-day Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
The identify MB Addis & Co., Billam reported, is a nod to Martha Addis, just one of the first female jewelry-retailer proprietors in the United States.
As a result of investigation, Billiam uncovered Addis was a Kansas native who owned a shop in Topeka. And a photo revealed on the Kansas Historic Society’s web page indicates Addis’ jewellery store may have been found in the very same downtown block Billam is now opening a storefront.
“I like to say that she’s my muse,” Billam claimed. “At the time that she began, which was the early 1900s, there ended up not other females jewelers identified. … It was a nod to her remaining these a excellent pioneer.”
Prior jewelry, retail expertise prepared her to open storefront
Billam, who is a Washburn College graduate, said she begun her career in retail by performing for Payless. She then transitioned to jewellery, landing at Helzberg Diamonds, which is headquartered in Kansas Metropolis, Mo.
“From there, I fell in love with jewellery, fantastic jewelry in basic,” Billam mentioned.
She ongoing down that route, performing for Signet Jewelers, which is the parent business of these makes as Kay Jewelers, Jared and Zales.
“I was in the Zales division, which is situated in Dallas so I expended a selection of years with them,” Billam stated. “Just continued to expand my job there. Fell in enjoy with even a lot more jewellery. Did a lot of worldwide traveling, diamond sourcing, diamond markets.”
As Billam dove further into the jewelry planet, she acquired a bigger appreciation for the craftsmanship at the rear of every single polished piece.
“You you should not notice the craftsmanship and artisanship and like that goes into producing a ton of jewelry,” she reported, “(until) you expend time in the factories and you get to sit next to a person who’s really cutting and polishing a diamond or finishing a piece of metalwork.”
Billam most lately worked in Miami for a specialty retailer of LVMH, whose subsidiaries involve this kind of brand names as Louis Vitton and Dior. Billam was accountable for performing with cruise ships to curate their on-board assortments of high-end jewellery and luxury watches.
“That was my very first genuine flavor of high-stop luxury, like the Bulgaris or the Tiffany’s, for the reason that they ended up also portion of the collections that I carried,” Billam claimed.
Via that function, she managed a staff of about 20 persons, and that experience well prepared her to embark on the jewelry-store venture she is standing up today.
“I thought, ‘I’m going to just take the very best components of all the matters I adore in the jewellery company, and I am likely to start and do this myself,'” Billam stated.
MB Addis & Co. seems to be to be total-provider jewelry shop constructed on interactions
Nevertheless Billam has been absent from Topeka for a lot more than a decade, she felt known as to stand up MB Addis & Co. in this article in the funds metropolis — where by she lived for various yrs and where both of her sons had been born.
“When you start off imagining about ‘I want to do this for myself,’ you imagine about the community and the place you’re comfortable,” Billam stated. “And also I had visited a pair situations, and the vibe was switching listed here. It felt quite various than the town we left.
“I begun to see this lively, different society inside of Topeka, specifically in the downtown corridor. You can find a lot of power and exciting things happening.”
However Topeka has some jewellery stores, Billam said she didn’t see a community store focusing on attainable luxury items.
And that is in which her organization will come into engage in.
“It really is a full-assistance jewelry retailer,” Billam said, “certainly an engagement, wedding ceremony jewelry location, alongside with other diamond necessities — all the items you ever needed in your jewellery box.”
But she also options to have some specialty offerings on website, this kind of as a floral birthstone selection, a comprehensive variety of pearls, some men’s jewelry and vintage luxury goods.
“There will be classic and luxurious, pre-owned Cartier and Rolex here,” Billam explained. “There will be pre-owned, unvintage Tiffany, Cartier, Bulgari — some of these critical designer collections.”
Billam explained her expenditure in the enterprise so far is approaching $1 million, such as inventory.
She is the first tenant of Gary and Martha Piland, who spoke with The Topeka Capital-Journal earlier this summer months about their renovation of the 111-yr-outdated creating in which Billam’s company now sits.
Billam claimed she hopes to get to a wide range of buyers.
“The excellent shopper is an individual who is seeking for a nearby jeweler romantic relationship,” Billam said. “When I grew up, you experienced a jeweler. You’re relatives understood a jeweler in town. … So I undoubtedly think a person of my target customers is another person who’s hunting for that romantic relationship and not just a transactional business. That is incredibly critical to me.”
With her track record and the connections she has developed above the several years, Billam mentioned, there just isn’t a piece of jewellery she can’t get her arms on. And she seems to be ahead to helping folks of all backgrounds, which include all those who might search for ring cleaning or repairs.
“Give us a shot,” Billam claimed. “You do not have to journey to other marketplaces. … We’ll have every thing right here.”
Billam appears forward to welcoming customers to her store, at 923 S. Kansas, future thirty day period. And the timing of it all could not be improved, she mentioned.
“It is just proper,” Billam explained. “The timing is right. The sensation is ideal.”