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Betty Elrod: The Woman Behind Blue Smoke Fine Jewelry

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your brand. What part of New England is your company based out of? What do you make

Blue Smoke Fine Jewelry is based out of Cambridge, MA. I am an artist/jewelry designer with an interest in handpicking beautiful stones and selling jewelry pieces at an attainable price, without forgoing quality. I focus on showcasing personal favorite precious and semi-precious stones such as sapphire, diamond, ruby, opal, turquoise, amethyst, moonstone, and pearl among others. I like to highlight the beauty of the materials, so I keep the designs minimal. 

What inspired you to start your brand or craft?

I was the buyer and manager for a boutique in Boston and became curious about how to make some of the jewelry pieces we sold. When I went to trade shows I started looking for raw materials rather than finished jewelry, so I then started working with a local jeweler on creating some pieces. The finished pieces were well-received by our customers, so I kept making more.

There was also a very specific ‘aha’ moment I had in a restaurant when a friend’s bracelet broke, and I picked up all of the beads for him and said, “let me fix it!” 

How did you come up with the name of your company? 

Blue Smoke Fine Jewelry references the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. The mountains were originally named Shaconage by the Cherokees, which translates to ‘Land of Blue Smoke.' If you’ve ever driven through the mountains, it’s almost always raining and there’s a mist that rises up which looks blue from a distance. My family has lived in Tennessee and owned and operated retail locations for many generations. I am a merchant at heart!

While I'm talking about Tennessee, I also recently learned that my favorite icon, Dolly Parton, sings a song called Blue Smoke, with an album of the same name! Check out the fabulous podcast, Dolly Parton’s America

What does an average day look like? 

An average day could include anything from talking to clients; delivering jewelry; product and model photography; sourcing new materials which I could keep doing forever; lots of trips to the post office and/or Fedex, and I almost always do my creative work at night when it’s quiet. 

What’s your favorite part of the job?

I love working on something I am truly passionate about and I hope that by being passionate about what I am doing, I get to share that enthusiasm with others and hopefully brighten their day. 

When you’re creating do you have a person in mind?

If you are a strong, independent and driven woman, I am creating my pieces for you! 

When was your business founded and how has it evolved over time? 

It was officially founded in 2016 but I took a break and went to work in the corporate world for a couple of years. Now I am back in full force with the confidence and energy I needed to follow my dream, which is building a beautiful jewelry brand.

What's one thing on your bucket list?
I really want to spend time in India, and I also want to live in Paris for a year (yes I had this idea before Netflix produced Emily in Paris :) 

Are there any challenges that you’ve had to overcome?

There have been many challenges— a business venture of mine stalled in 2017 and it really set me back. I lost a lot of faith in my capabilities, but looking back, I wish I hadn’t given up at the time because I know that setbacks are an important part of growth. 

What is one piece of advice you have for a female entrepreneur just starting out?

Believe in yourself, and don’t give up or walk away even when the odds seem against you. The time to go out on your own will never be “right,” so why not start today?

Let us know where we can follow you.

Please follow me on Instagram @bluesmokejewelry

I am also on Facebook:  

Shop Betty's designs at Wyllo

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