Events & Awards

WJA Takes Emerging Designer Mentorship Program Nationwide

Events & AwardsApr 27, 2022

WJA Takes Emerging Designer Mentorship Program Nationwide

De Beers is supporting the initiative.

New York—With support from De Beers, the Women’s Jewelry Association is expanding a jewelry design business incubator program across North America.

WJA chapter leaders in northern California created the Jewelry Loupe Project in 2019.

It sees new designers and emerging brands partner with industry mentors for individual support, as well as monthly instruction for the entire incubator group from expert contributors who work across the jewelry supply chain.

Past President of WJA’s Northern California Chapter and co-founder of San Francisco jewelry store FiatLux Marie McCarthy said: “I developed the Jewelry Loupe Project to not only assist emerging designers, as most mentorships do, but also to build a strong community of dynamic jewelers aided by a large group of industry veterans.

“From there, most participants actively aid in the program beyond their year, essentially paying it forward and continually fostering a large community network of jewelers.”

Now, De Beers is partnering with WJA to expand the Jewelry Loupe Project across North America, offering it to more designers with an emphasis on those from underserved and underrepresented communities, WJA said, such as BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ designers.

The project commenced this month, with 14 new and emerging designers selected to participate out of more than 100 applicants.

In addition to monthly Zoom meetings with their assigned mentors, designers will hear from experts via virtual sessions.

Topics and experts are as follows.
•   Concept and design with Prerna Sethi and Lauren Harwell Godfrey
•   Marketing and branding with Temi Adamoleukun and Alexei Angelides
•   Wholesale and retail partnerships with Lauren Wolf and Alicia Goodwin
•   Sourcing and materials with Jared Holstein and Noelle Habib
•   Tradeshows and sales with Morgan Miller and Randi Molofsky
•   Packaging with Scott Wolfe
•   E-Commerce with Ariel Gordon Maffei

The six-month mentorship program concludes in September with a final studio critique in which designers share their collections with a formal sales pitch. Mentors and WJA representatives give feedback.

De Beers is also offering incubator designers complimentary access to its Diamond Foundation course.

President of De Beers North America Charles Stanley said, “One of De Beers’ company visions and goals for the future is to accelerate economic inclusion and support diverse voices to help shape the future of our business, communities, and society.

“We are proud to support WJA in the 2022 Jewelry Loupe Project as we are aligned in our core values.”

More information on the project is available online

Those interested in acting as future mentors or sponsoring the project can contact WJA Membership and Operations Manager Rachel Jurisz at rachel@womensjewelryassociation.com.

 Related stories will be right here …
Ashley Davisis the senior editor, fashion at National Jeweler, covering all things related to design, style and trends.

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