Why Small Businesses Matter
Shop small, do big things for your community
Why Small Businesses Matter puts a spotlight on the local merchants who donate their time, talent, goods, and services for the betterment of our community. The shop local movement spreads virally as local businesses who are “tagged” have the opportunity to share their story!
You're IT Sonja Rose Designs!
Four questions with Ellen Webb, owner of Sonja Rose Designs.
Why did you start your business?
I began my training in jewelry design over 12 years ago while living in NYC and working at the time in the field of environmental health science and policy. Being highly creative, I was looking for artistic pursuits to explore on the side.
I found that both art and science are similar in that they are both attempts to understand and describe the world around us. Both are driven by curiosity, discovery, and the aspiration for knowledge of the world or oneself.
Now I make jewelry that is inspired by the colors, moods, and textures found in the environment. And my goal is to create pieces that inspire and bring joy to the human experience.
My work is an extension of who I am. As a scientist driven by curiosity, and as an artist looking to connect to the human experience and bring joy—my designs are influenced greatly by nature, creativity, healing, and uplifting others.
What is your best-selling product/service?
One of my best-selling products is my monocle/magnifying glass necklaces made with gemstones and beautiful stones. They are fashionable boho-chic necklaces with brass, gold-toned, or sterling silver monocles that can be used to magnify small print or see small details. It is a spin on the trend from the late 19th century when men and women in the upper classes sported a monocle as an elaborate fashion statement.
My other popular items include pieces from my design collections using rare vintage beads such as Dragons Breath Opal and beautiful gemstones such as Ethiopian Opal, Rainbow Moonstone, Blue Fire, and Multi-Fire Labradorite.
How many local businesses do you use to support your business (products and services) and can you name them?
I sometimes get my stone and beading supplies from Sugarbeads and I rely heavily on the Redding and Georgetown Post Offices for my frequent shipments. I love many of the local shops including Oliver’s Deli & Pizza, Wire Mill BBQ, Milestone, Tusk and Cup, and Ancona’s Wine & Liquors. I am excited that the Guilded Lynx Jewelry Studio is opening back up with some classes! I plan to take some metalsmithing classes there and do some bench time in their studio.
Have you "reimagined" your small business?
As our daily lives have changed with this pandemic, so does consumer behavior. As such, small businesses are stepping up to create new product and service offerings to meet the needs of consumers in our current climate. To meet the changing climate, we have had to make some adjustments, for example, instead of trade shows for stone and gemstone supplies, we have had to rely on smaller companies and businesses to get supplies (which is not a bad thing!).
We also have added additional items to our inventory--since it looks like masks are going to be around for the foreseeable future--we are now making beaded mask lanyards and will be selling those both online and at local pop-ups and craft fairs this holiday season. We also had to pivot our selling strategy and sell more items online and rely more on social media for marketing.
The challenges small businesses face to get recognized and appreciated emphasizes the importance of news outlets like the HamletHub and HelloRedding, and why they are essential for preserving the vitality and livelihood of small local businesses and their communities!
Ellen would like to nominate the following businesses to be featured next:
HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!