Thank you Heather Shields of Threshold Property Shop for this great article on Park Bench!
Meet Beatrix Bell: Algiers Point resident, designer, artist and entreprenuer.
In the Spring of 2017, Beatrix opened Beatrixbell Handcrafted Studio Gallery + Gift. This retail location sits directly on the banks of the Mississippi River in Historic Algiers Point. Her curated gift shop features her entire jewelry line, as well as a selection of art and gifts. She focuses on stocking items representing female entrepreneurs and local artists.
Describe your business
I make jewelry for women who are individualists. They are in tune with trends, yet possess their own self-curated style. With an appreciation for artistry and handmade, my designs combine effortlessly with the free spirited style of today’s woman.
I split my time between the retail and wholesale aspects of my business. My line of jewelry is currently represented in over 150 retailers in the US. I travel to wholesale markets in Chicago, Dallas and Atlanta and write accounts with boutiques and gift shops. When I return from the shows, I stay busy in my studio creating the jewelry for each order. The other half of my time is spent on the retail side of my business. This includes my pop up shows, my website beatrixbell.com, and cultivating my brick & mortar gift shop. My gift shop features my entire line of jewelry, as well as a wonderful selection of mostly locally crafted arts and gifts.
What made you decide to open this business?
I really wanted to open a store that not only showcased my jewelry to its fullest potential, but also featured many of the local treasures and handcrafted wares that I’ve discovered on my entrepreneurial journey. I love being able to support other artists and entrepreneurs by carrying their items in my shop. I have been making jewelry since I was a kid, I had a childhood friend that when we had sleepovers and we would make jewelry. I continued to craft and put myself through college making and selling my jewelry. I became a full-time entrepreneur in 2009, after selling in pop-up tents at festivals for over 10 years, I was ready for a home base, a brick & mortar to call my own. So, in the Spring of 2017, I opened Beatrixbell Handcrafted Studio Gallery + Gift.
What has surprised you most when owning a business?
How many tourists, especially international tourists visit Algiers Point during the day.
What would your customers say they love most about your business?
My customers love shopping local, and this gives them a space to do just that. From a tourists perspective, my little shop is like a small discovery in their Algiers Point adventure. They get off the ferry and usually stumble across my establishment by accident. It’s a great shop to purchase a souvenir that is actually made in Louisiana.
What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had working with a customer?
I have many long-term clients, but one that has been shopping from me since I was 18. She has watched my work grow and develop through the years and has continued to encourage and support my business. When I opened the gift shop she came from Baton Rouge to see my shop and I was moved to tears.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future that you want customers to know about?
During Wednesdays on the Point (each Wednesday through, September 13th -October 18th) I will be hosting an Art Market which may also include a food truck. I am also constantly rotating inventory and looking for new products. This year for the holidays I will have holiday cards from Lafayette and Paper Mache' Poinsettia Flowers crafted by Brian Bush of Carnival Sculpture.
What is something most people don't know about the business?
There is so much more involved than designing and making the jewelry. It's a constant juggling act when it is your business- from paperwork, graphic design, logistics, financial management, marketing, inventory, planning trade shows, sourcing products and supplies, social media, etc.
As an entrepreneur, how do you give back?
One of my passions is to ignite change for women in our community. To support this mission, Beatrixbell Handcrafted chose Ignite for Change in 2017, as an area of impact that aligns with our brand's vision. This non-profit focus on positive social and policy changes for women such as violence prevention, educational opportunities, health, employment, and earnings.
Who are some of your business idols and role models? And why?
I’m a huge fan of Brene Brown. I feel like her work is very much aligned and suited to creative entrepreneurs. Overcoming fear & uncertainty, taking chances, putting yourself out there...which are all big parts of being an entrepreneur.. She has been a great inspiration to me.
What do you like most about being an entrepreneur?
I feel like working for myself allows me to channel all of my energy into the places where I want it to go….I love the freedom of not having to answer to a boss, and living my life on my own terms.
Do you have any advice that you want to share with other entrepreneurs?
Never compare yourself- learn from others, make connections with others but do not compare yourself to others.
What do you love most about the neighborhood?
Where do I start, I love everything about Algiers Point! First, the people, I have met so many friends in this neighborhood, other Mom's, entrepreneurs and neighbors. I also love the geographical location of Algiers Point- the sunsets, the river, the architecture, the small-town vibe, I even love the wacky weirdos!
Where are your favorite places to go in the neighborhood? Congregation Coffee in the morning and the Crown & Anchor in the evening. But now that Tavolino is opened, I am going to have to split my evenings!
What are your favorite things to do in the neighborhood? My favorite thing to do is spending time with my son, Max. We enjoy just walking around and exploring this neighborhood- we are constantly discovering new things. We love walking along the levee, swinging by the river and throwing rocks in the water.
Why do you think it's important for people to shop local?
To support the local economy, we all need to be conscientious about where the things we buy are made. When you shop and buy local you are helping support your own community and are getting more unique or one of a kind products.