Supplier Spotlight: Sharon Wei Designs
Thursday, August 16, 2018
In 2003, Sharon Wei was five months pregnant with her second child when she decided to strike out on her own. She made cold calls and knocked on doors, all with the weight of a baby and her sample line in tow.
Sharon recalls the first store she stopped in: “The owner, Jim, looked at what I had and asked: ‘What are these?’ I said, pearls. He said: ‘I thought pearls were either black or white.’ I replied that they are now being colored like fabric, so we can create different designs and patterns, like clothing. Jim said: ‘I’ve never seen anything like this before. These are your designs? They are very pretty. I’ll place an order.’”
Sharon just stared at him. She wasn’t prepared for what to do if someone actually placed an order.
But Jim read her well and said, “You don't know what you need to do, do you?” He then took a blank invoice for his store, put a line across his store name, wrote in Sharon’s name, made a list of items he wanted to buy from her, totaled it up, signed the invoice, tore the first copy off, gave Sharon the carbon copy, and then said, “There, this is what I have bought from you, here’s what I owe you, this is my copy, and the second copy is yours.” That was the start of Sharon Wei Designs.
From there, Sharon continued to visit stores until she went into labor. One of the stores she stepped into was Argo & Lehne. She was still too young and new to know they were one of the best known and prestigious jewelry stores in the industry.
“Mr. Robert Argo spent time with me, gave me guidance and advice that set me on a new path. It led me to who I am and what my company is today,” says Sharon. “Looking back, I am forever grateful for the encouragement, support, guidance, and friendship from the retail store owners. They are the reasons I love this industry.”
The American Gem Society had the opportunity to learn more about designer, Sharon Wei, and her business, Sharon Wei Designs.
"Center Stage" from the Couture collection: Peridot and freshwater pearls.
AGS: Your story of how you began your company is terrific! What would you be doing if you weren’t in the jewelry industry?
Sharon: On the creative side, I’d take up writing and painting. I enjoy giving a visual expression and a voice to what lies within.
On the physical side, I’d be a personal trainer/fitness instructor, helping people achieve a better quality of life by staying fit through exercises and healthy diet.
On the analytical side, I’d take up financial consulting; helping people get rid of debt, save money, create wealth and financial freedom. It pains me to see how many people are financially stuck. It is my passion to help free them from the weight of having to live from paycheck to paycheck. This is already underway!
AGS: Please tell us about your company's motto, “A design for everyone outfit, every color, and every woman.”
Sharon: I believe in individuality and originality, not conformity. There should be as many styles as there are women, yet our society seems to foster a herd instinct that rewards following, and in doing that, discourages being the beautiful originals we are born to be.
AGS: This may be a tough choice to make, but do you have an all-time favorite gemstone?
"Pirouette" from the Belle Vallée collection: Pink tourmaline and accent diamonds.
Sharon: May I give two? Color diamonds and tourmaline. The variety of colors in both—in addition, in tourmaline—I like the long clean crystal structure, which allows for an elegant, long emerald cut. This shape gives much room for creativity and makes designing fun!
AGS: Tell us how as being a member of the American Gem Society helped you?
Sharon: The AGS gives us instant credibility and industry recognition. I advise members to go to every Conclave. Meet fellow members; learn together, grow together, and have a blast!
AGS: You’re branching out into gemstone fashion. Please tell us more!
Sharon: I’m launching a multiplicity of brands.
- Belle Vallée: Color stones, accented with diamonds in 18K, for those who want luxury in a way that is delicate and an understatement. Think Millennials.
- Lido: A young, fun and sophisticated look in 9K
- di Terra: All hand braided with no metal clasp for those who like all things earthy and organic
- Fairytale: For the bridal party and beyond