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A new upscale jewelry shop is environment up store on S. Kansas Avenue this slide.
Right after about 13 yrs absent from Topeka, Midwest native Michele Billam has returned to the capital metropolis to go after a enterprise undertaking that builds on her years of expertise in the jewellery-retail realm.
On Sept. 24, Billam designs to rejoice the grand opening of MB Addis & Co. Legacy Jewelers, a retail outlet she hopes will come to be Topekans’ go-to shop for stunning diamonds and sterling service.
“The area is meant to be a very higher-conclusion boutique — sort of jewellery-salon experience — but with the lens of attainable, cost-effective luxurious for the regional market,” Billam mentioned. “My most loved way of describing it is it can be a fashionable Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
The title MB Addis & Co., Billam claimed, is a nod to Martha Addis, a person of the first female jewellery-keep house owners in the United States.
As a result of research, Billiam uncovered Addis was a Kansas indigenous who owned a shop in Topeka. And a photograph printed on the Kansas Historical Society’s website suggests Addis’ jewelry shop may perhaps have been found in the similar downtown block Billam is now opening a storefront.
“I like to say that she’s my muse,” Billam stated. “At the time that she started, which was the early 1900s, there had been not other women of all ages jewelers regarded. … It was a nod to her currently being this kind of a terrific pioneer.”
Prior jewellery, retail expertise geared up her to open storefront
Billam, who is a Washburn University graduate, said she started off her profession in retail by working for Payless. She then transitioned to jewellery, landing at Helzberg Diamonds, which is headquartered in Kansas Town, Mo.
“From there, I fell in adore with jewellery, fantastic jewelry in general,” Billam said.
She continued down that route, doing the job for Signet Jewelers, which is the parent company of these types of brand names as Kay Jewelers, Jared and Zales.
“I was in the Zales division, which is located in Dallas so I spent a selection of several years with them,” Billam explained. “Just continued to develop my job there. Fell in enjoy with even a lot more jewelry. Did a ton of intercontinental traveling, diamond sourcing, diamond marketplaces.”
As Billam dove further into the jewelry environment, she attained a bigger appreciation for the craftsmanship driving each individual polished piece.
“You do not notice the craftsmanship and artisanship and enjoy that goes into building a lot of jewelry,” she claimed, “(till) you invest time in the factories and you get to sit up coming to somebody who’s essentially cutting and sprucing a diamond or ending a piece of metalwork.”
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Billam most not long ago worked in Miami for a specialty retailer of LVMH, whose subsidiaries consist of such makes as Louis Vitton and Dior. Billam was responsible for doing work with cruise ships to curate their on-board assortments of high-conclusion jewelry and luxurious watches.
“That was my to start with true flavor of significant-conclude luxury, like the Bulgaris or the Tiffany’s, since they had been also component of the collections that I carried,” Billam reported.
As a result of that function, she managed a group of about 20 people, and that expertise ready her to embark on the jewelry-store venture she is standing up these days.
“I believed, ‘I’m likely to acquire the finest components of all the factors I like in the jewelry company, and I’m likely to launch and do this myself,'” Billam mentioned.
MB Addis & Co. appears to be like to be complete-services jewellery retailer created on relationships
While Billam has been absent from Topeka for additional than a ten years, she felt called to stand up MB Addis & Co. here in the capital city — wherever she lived for various several years and where both of her sons were being born.
“When you begin contemplating about ‘I want to do this for myself,’ you feel about the network and exactly where you happen to be snug,” Billam reported. “And also I had visited a few occasions, and the vibe was altering listed here. It felt pretty diverse than the city we still left.
“I started to see this lively, distinct society within just Topeka, specifically in the downtown corridor. You can find a ton of vitality and fascinating factors going on.”
Even though Topeka has some jewelry suppliers, Billam said she failed to see a community shop focusing on attainable luxurious merchandise.
And that’s where by her business arrives into perform.
“It is really a total-provider jewelry retail store,” Billam said, “certainly an engagement, wedding ceremony jewellery desired destination, together with other diamond necessities — all the items you ever wanted in your jewellery box.”
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But she also programs to have some specialty choices on web-site, this kind of as a floral birthstone assortment, a total selection of pearls, some men’s jewellery and classic luxury things.
“There will be vintage and luxury, pre-owned Cartier and Rolex here,” Billam reported. “There will be pre-owned, unvintage Tiffany, Cartier, Bulgari — some of all those vital designer collections.”
Billam reported her financial commitment in the company as a result far is approaching $1 million, together with inventory.
She is the initial tenant of Gary and Martha Piland, who spoke with The Topeka Cash-Journal previously this summer months about their renovation of the 111-year-previous creating in which Billam’s enterprise now sits.
Billam said she hopes to arrive at a assortment of buyers.
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“The perfect customer is someone who is hunting for a nearby jeweler romance,” Billam reported. “When I grew up, you had a jeweler. You happen to be relatives understood a jeweler in town. … So I absolutely consider 1 of my goal customers is an individual who’s on the lookout for that marriage and not just a transactional business. Which is pretty critical to me.”
With her background and the connections she has developed around the a long time, Billam explained, there is just not a piece of jewelry she can’t get her palms on. And she appears ahead to helping folks of all backgrounds, which includes all those who may request ring cleaning or repairs.
“Give us a shot,” Billam mentioned. “You do not have to vacation to other markets. … We will have everything listed here.”
Billam appears ahead to welcoming consumers to her retail store, at 923 S. Kansas, up coming thirty day period. And the timing of it all couldn’t be better, she claimed.
“It can be just right,” Billam reported. “The timing is right. The feeling is ideal.”