DOWNERS GROVE – Running a small business is nothing new for Dana Mitchell. She's been making handcrafted jewelry and selling it from her home studio for several years.
But on May 3, Mitchell took a significant step in her entrepreneurial career when she opened her new store in downtown Downers Grove. Adorn512, 1010 Curtiss St., opened its doors during National Small Business Week.
“I wanted it to be the perfect spot,” Mitchell said. "I've been thinking about a store-front location for quite some time."
Adorn512 joins a variety of boutiques and restaurants that line Curtiss Street. Mitchell is hopeful the variety of businesses and the proximity to Main Street will benefit her shop.
"It's a good time for me," the Downers Grove resident said. "This is a nice venture. I just want to enjoy what I'm doing. It's a great foundation for me."
Opening the handcrafted jewelry store is the culmination of Mitchell’s journey as an artisan, which began eight years ago.
She worked for 15 years as a nurse at both Evanston and Good Samaritan hospitals before leaving the medical profession and turning her full attention to making and selling jewelry.
Mitchell created jewelry in a home studio that she sold to boutiques, as well as at home shows and on e-commerce sites such as Amazon Handmade. She also maintains her own website.
“I just kind of built my business from there,” Mitchell said.
Today, 50 percent of Mitchell’s sales are generated on Amazon, thanks in part to using Fulfillment By Amazon, a platform that lets her send products to the online retailer, which picks, packs and ships the items.
Despite the success she’s experienced with online sales, Mitchell has long desired a brick-and-mortar store – a presence in the community where she can display her creations and interact with customers.
“A brick-and-mortar store, it’s more meaningful,” Mitchell said. “Customers can come in and look.”
In fact, customers will have an opportunity to do more than just look. Mitchell plans to host workshops and classes that will let clients try their hand at creating jewelry. She expects to host the first class later in May.
Mitchell creates unique jewelry pieces, many of which are made to order, she said.
"We work with all different types of metal," she said, including gold, silver and sheet metal.
One unique creation Mitchell sells is personalized bracelets and rings that include a message in Morse code.
"We've been killing it with Mother's Day gifts," she said.