In May 1996, we opened our first store in the old Odd Fellows Hall in downtown Village of Pewaukee. It was a tiny store and shop, but we loved the village and being a downtown merchant brought us business insights that would have been harder to develop in a mall setting. Many of our designs come from nature, and the wild things around us, so working on the east end of the largest lake in Lake Country, brought us incredible inspiration.
In the beginning, no one knew we were open for business, until a near tragedy happened on our door step, and changed our business forever. A customer suffered what Mike thought was a heart attack, but later learned that it was a blood clot in her lung. When he worked for Miller Brewing (before his goldsmith training) he trained as an EMT on the fire team at the plant, so he quickly got the customer quiet and resting, called the fire department, and even went to her elderly parents home to tell them what had transpired in the store. A week later a story came out in the Lake Country Reporter with the head line “Jeweler’s Good Deed Appreciated – Jeweler a Hero”. After that event the stage was set, and people knew we were open for business.
In 1998 and 2000, Mike won a first place awards for a ring and a bracelet design, in 2006 he was awarded an Honorable Mention for his earring design in the state of Wisconsin Design Competition, and 2001 he placed fourth in an internaltional design competition put on by a Swiss gemstone company. Mike also took first place in the Wisconsin Jeweler’s Association 2008 competition. As word of our beautiful designs, and creative approaches began to spread it soon became apparent that in order to grow the business we would need more help. Our little shop in Pewaukee made that impossible, so we began to look for a location closer to our home in the town of Oconomowoc.The Richter House had been a landmark in the town since the turn of the last century. It is a large cream city brick house with a perfect layout for our workshop and gallery.
We can do mainstream jewelry any day of the week, but we especially enjoy the challenging jobs that push the boundaries of our artistic design. We created a pendant to hold a gentleman’s mother’s ashes, made a pendant to hold a homesick college freshman’s pony tooth, created jewelry from ancient coins, and pebbles from far away beaches. Jewelry is personal adornment. Prehistoric man used beautiful feathers, stone, leather, and dyes to adorn his body. The art form is more refined, but the desire to enhance our body with beautiful trinkets is still strong today.
Each new job allows us to expand the knowledge base of our skill set, while creating unique and wonderful pieces of jewelry for our customers. We feel truly blessed to be able to live and work in our town, while creating beautiful artwork that will last for many generations.