Some people classify themselves as right-brained or left-brained when describing what they are good at, whether analytical and practical or creative and artistic. There is value in both aspects, and Maddy Schoenfeld ’20 (Metal and Jewelry Design) believes that a combination of analysis and creativity can improve your small business.
When Schoenfeld first started her business, Madison Sophia Jewelry, she sold her creations at local craft fairs. Her jewelry can now be found in her five brick-and-mortar stores in Rochester and will be available to order online once her new studio has secured space.
It takes talent to design products that people love, but it takes skill and experience to run a business. Schoenfeld got his first management experience at Shop One (a contemporary design shop showcasing arts, crafts and design made by RIT), jewelry and expanded his business to earn a graduate degree. became.
“It’s hard to be an artist. It’s especially hard to be an artist without a representation. It’s really hard to do the bookkeeping yourself, talk to galleries, be able to market yourself.” Schoenfeld said. “As a community artist, I see people struggling with these things because it’s hard without a heart for the business. Now I can do those things myself and It gives me great satisfaction to be able to help other artists.
Scott Semler + Jacob Polsin-Evans
Schoenfeld’s time at Shop One began with a chance meeting at James E. Booth Hall. She was selling some of her jewelry at Vendor Day, and her booth caught the eye of her Wendy Marks, director of her F&A gallery and Shop One. Initially, Marks wanted her Schoenfeld to sell her own work in the shop, but her relationship quickly developed and Schoenfeld joined the team as her student manager. I was. In December 2021, she became the exclusive store manager of Shop One.
“When Wendy approached me, I thought, ‘This is amazing.’ I didn’t know anyone would be interested in selling the work I was making in school. Shop One was really my first representation, as early on I was selling some of my favorite pieces in the shop, and when other galleries approached me later, I was like, ‘Oh, I love that. I was like, you can. I had already had the opportunity to sell on Shop One, so I wasn’t scared. ”
As she took on more responsibility, the veil of mystery about her business success thinned. Becoming the manager of has changed the way I approach my business. Her experience includes employee management, wholesale product purchasing and bookkeeping, and curating positive customer experiences. The more she learned, the more interested she became in all the logistics involved in running a business.
Scott Semler + Jacob Polsin-Evans
A college education helped sharpen my skills, but I also knew I needed more knowledge to run a successful jewelry business. When Schoenfeld learned about her RIT Master Plan Scholarship for her 2021 graduate studies, it was the last she needed to apply to her School of Business and earn her MBA. it was a push. Established in 2020, the scholarship enabled her and other graduates to pursue a master’s degree and receive financial support covering her 45-50% of postgraduate tuition.
“I’m very technical minded, but not necessarily creative. Slipping into business school was a natural fit for me. I felt it was the right choice for me and my business.” ‘ said Schoenfeld.
Between taking on more responsibilities at Shop One and new knowledge gained through MBA coursework, the future of Madison Sophia Jewelry has become more tangible and full of possibilities.
“Now I can see where my business can go. I wasn’t sure what I was doing.All of these experiences have helped me to approach other retailers.We also expanded into wholesale this year, which is It’s interesting,” Schoenfeld said. “Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but being able to see his owner’s point of view has changed the way I market my work.”