Jewelry-making is a return to his roots for Donald Poe, whose uncle and grandparents both owned jewelry stores. (Donald can remember wheeling his tricycle around his grandparents’ store as a little boy.) After enjoying a career teaching Earth Science to 9th- and 10th-graders, he’s now learning the skills he was so familiar with while growing up.
Jewelry-making, he says, is “an ancient craft meeting new technology”—technology that is continually evolving. This technology can be a boon to the jewelry industry but, for Donald, it reinforces his appreciation of the traditional art of making jewelry. He strives to marry the old traditions to the new techniques. He has come up with a business model that will allow him the flexibility of working at home while still having a “shop.” He calls his model a “jewelry spa”, and here’s how it works: Donald schedules events inside local businesses (the first one took place at a local tavern). The term ‘jewelry spa’ comes from the idea that he brings the jewelry ‘baths’ with him (ultrasonic and steam cleaners, for example) and the pieces he works on—repairs, re-sets-re-news—are returned to their owners re-energized and sparkling.
His approach appeals to the while-you-wait convenience we all love as well as the “what ’cha doin’?” curiosity in each of us. Imagine getting that stone tightened or that clasp repaired while you relax doing something you’d be doing anyway (like enjoying a snack and a brew, for example). And you can even watch the work being done if you like. I wouldn’t be surprised to meet Donald again someday soon, manning one of his many little spas in upstate New York. If you’re in the neighborhood, keep an eye out for him . . .