This is the last post for my newest feature – SEVEN QUESTIONS. The concept is very simple. Basically, I ask jewelry stores or jewelry designers the same seven questions. You all know how much I love jewelry….. this just lets me talk to other people who love jewelry, too! Hopefully you, fellow gem gal, will discover a cool new store to visit or an amazing new designer that you’d like to check out!
But today let’s focus on Baleen, in Seattle. This is another great store in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. As someone who’s interested in sustainability, I’m a fan of theirs already. After all, their metal is 99% recycled, their facility is certified zero waste, and their packaging is recycled content. Plus, they believe sustainable products don’t need to be expensive. Everything I saw when I visited was very affordable.
<img class=" wp-image-7542 lazyload" src="https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2019-08-08-17.18.27-e1570330926740.jpg" alt="Minimal geometric gold necklace" width="375" height="500" /> Minimal geometric gold necklace
I interviewed Leah, who owns Baleen with her partner Billy.
Let’s dive into the interview, shall we?
What’s unique about Baleen jewelry?
1. What do you think is unique about your store? What kind of customer do you appeal to?
We believe that quality, handmade jewelry (and other items) can also be affordable and sustainable. Often times they are exclusive of one another and we don’t think you should have to make that sacrifice. We think this appeals to people with strong values and a good eye for design.
<img class=" wp-image-7545 lazyload" src="https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2019-08-08-17.17.40-1.jpg" alt="selection of ring from Baleen" width="501" height="501" /> selection of rings from Baleen
2. What do you enjoy most about being part of the jewelry industry?
Hand-making items that people love to wear! And working with creatives from all kinds of backgrounds.
3. When people find out where you work or what you do, what’s their most common question to you?
Do you make everything yourself?
Seattle small business
4. How long have you worked in your current job and what kind of training did you need to get it?
Baleen started in 2008 – this is the first time I’ve worked in jewelry professionally. Billy (my partner in Baleen and life) had a men’s jewelry and leather goods brand before this. He is self taught.
5. What’s the biggest (business) challenge you face right now?
Passing off certain tasks and responsibilities to our staff and getting them properly trained. As we continue to grow, Billy and I can’t do everything ourselves. We already have a great team of four people doing production work, as well as a sales and fulfillment team. We still manage everyone and oversee everything, but the more we’re able to hand things off the more we can focus on design and growth.
What sells at Baleen?
6. What’s your top seller? Why do you think it resonates with people?
Our U-Shaped earrings are one of our top sellers and we have had them in the line since almost the beginning of Baleen. We and our customers love their super minimal look.
<img class=" wp-image-7550 lazyload" src="https://valthegemgal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2019-08-08-17.18.47-1.jpg" alt="gold hoop earrings from Baleen" width="500" height="500" /> gold hoop earrings from Baleen
7. What’s your current favorite piece of jewelry?
Right now we are loving hoops of all sizes and shapes – we have some new styles coming out that we are really crushing on. They incorporate organic-shaped pearls.
My own view of Baleen
I loved this little store. It was bright and cheerful, and everything was organized and easy to find. I appreciated how affordable everything was, and their commitment to sustainability is impressive. What are you waiting for? Head over to the Ballard neighborhood and visit this store!