A new upscale jewelry shop is location up shop on S. Kansas Avenue this tumble.
Just after about 13 several years away from Topeka, Midwest indigenous Michele Billam has returned to the capital metropolis to pursue a business enterprise enterprise that builds on her several years of encounter in the jewellery-retail realm.
On Sept. 24, Billam plans to celebrate the grand opening of MB Addis & Co. Legacy Jewelers, a retailer she hopes will turn out to be Topekans’ go-to shop for stunning diamonds and sterling company.
“The room is meant to be a really high-end boutique — sort of jewelry-salon come to feel — but with the lens of attainable, affordable luxurious for the regional marketplace,” Billam stated. “My preferred way of describing it is it truly is a modern Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
The name MB Addis & Co., Billam stated, is a nod to Martha Addis, just one of the to start with female jewellery-keep homeowners in the United States.
As a result of investigate, Billiam found out Addis was a Kansas native who owned a shop in Topeka. And a picture posted on the Kansas Historical Society’s internet site suggests Addis’ jewelry shop could have been situated in the similar downtown block Billam is now opening a storefront.
“I like to say that she’s my muse,” Billam explained. “At the time that she started out, which was the early 1900s, there ended up not other women of all ages jewelers recognized. … It was a nod to her getting this kind of a good pioneer.”
Prior jewelry, retail working experience organized her to open storefront
Billam, who is a Washburn University graduate, said she started off her career in retail by doing work 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 jewelry, fantastic jewellery in basic,” Billam reported.
She ongoing down that route, functioning for Signet Jewelers, which is the mother or father enterprise of this sort of brands as Kay Jewelers, Jared and Zales.
“I was in the Zales division, which is found in Dallas so I spent a variety of many years with them,” Billam mentioned. “Just ongoing to increase my vocation there. Fell in enjoy with even much more jewellery. Did a large amount of international traveling, diamond sourcing, diamond marketplaces.”
As Billam dove deeper into the jewellery earth, she obtained a increased appreciation for the craftsmanship powering each polished piece.
“You will not recognize the craftsmanship and artisanship and enjoy that goes into generating a great deal of jewellery,” she mentioned, “(right until) you commit time in the factories and you get to sit upcoming to an individual who’s really slicing and sharpening a diamond or finishing a piece of metalwork.”
Billam most not too long ago labored in Miami for a specialty retailer of LVMH, whose subsidiaries include this kind of models as Louis Vitton and Dior. Billam was responsible for working with cruise ships to curate their on-board assortments of high-close jewellery and luxury watches.
“That was my very first authentic flavor of large-end luxury, like the Bulgaris or the Tiffany’s, for the reason that they were being also element of the collections that I carried,” Billam explained.
As a result of that job, she managed a team of about 20 folks, and that working experience prepared her to embark on the jewelry-store venture she is standing up these days.
“I considered, ‘I’m heading to choose the finest parts of all the items I love in the jewellery business, and I’m heading to start and do this myself,'” Billam mentioned.
MB Addis & Co. appears to be to be total-support jewellery retailer constructed on interactions
Although Billam has been absent from Topeka for a lot more than a 10 years, she felt termed to stand up MB Addis & Co. in this article in the funds city — where by she lived for numerous a long time and where both of her sons have been born.
“When you commence contemplating about ‘I want to do this for myself,’ you think about the community and exactly where you happen to be relaxed,” Billam mentioned. “And also I experienced frequented a few occasions, and the vibe was switching below. It felt extremely distinctive than the city we left.
“I began to see this vivid, different tradition within just Topeka, specifically in the downtown corridor. There is certainly a great deal of electricity and remarkable issues taking place.”
Nevertheless Topeka has some jewellery suppliers, Billam said she didn’t see a local store concentrating on attainable luxurious merchandise.
And that’s exactly where her company will come into participate in.
“It truly is a whole-services jewellery store,” Billam mentioned, “unquestionably an engagement, wedding jewellery spot, along with other diamond essentials — all the items you ever needed in your jewellery box.”
But she also options to have some specialty offerings on website, this sort of as a floral birthstone selection, a full vary of pearls, some men’s jewelry and vintage luxury goods.
“There will be classic and luxury, pre-owned Cartier and Rolex here,” Billam mentioned. “There will be pre-owned, unvintage Tiffany, Cartier, Bulgari — some of these vital designer collections.”
Billam reported her financial investment in the enterprise thus significantly is approaching $1 million, including inventory.
She is the first tenant of Gary and Martha Piland, who spoke with The Topeka Capital-Journal earlier this summer time about their renovation of the 111-calendar year-previous creating in which Billam’s organization now sits.
Billam stated she hopes to arrive at a wide variety of shoppers.
“The suitable customer is anyone who is searching for a regional jeweler connection,” Billam claimed. “When I grew up, you experienced a jeweler. You might be family realized a jeweler in town. … So I certainly imagine 1 of my focus on consumers is a person who’s wanting for that romance and not just a transactional company. That is pretty crucial to me.”
With her background and the connections she has constructed in excess of the years, Billam reported, there isn’t a piece of jewelry she can’t get her hands on. And she appears ahead to helping folks of all backgrounds, which include individuals who may seek ring cleansing or repairs.
“Give us a shot,” Billam said. “You don’t have to vacation to other marketplaces. … We will have anything right here.”
Billam appears to be like ahead to welcoming prospects to her retail outlet, at 923 S. Kansas, following month. And the timing of it all could not be better, she mentioned.
“It is really just appropriate,” Billam mentioned. “The timing is appropriate. The experience is suitable.”