By Rhett Davis, Region 6 Advocate
Named for its owner, Beatrixbell Handcrafted Jewelry began as a business-to-business jewelry company in 2008, selling items to more than 300 stores across the United States.
In May 2017, Beatrix Bell decided to open a flagship retail store in up-and-coming Algiers Point, the historic district that hugs the Mississippi River levee across from the French Quarter. The views of the New Orleans skyline are incredible from Algiers, New Orleans’ second oldest neighborhood, founded in 1719. So it only seemed appropriate that Beatrix chose a site for her new store where small businesses have thrived for 298 years.
“After working closely with small businesses, I was inspired to open my own gift shop,” Beatrix said. “I focus on selling art and other handmade wares created by local artists and female entrepreneurs.”
An array of prints, original paintings, housewares and bath and body products stock the shelves, all created and owned by women-owned businesses and artists. Beatrix’s complete line of jewelry is also featured in this curated gift shop.
The gift shop launched on Mother’s Day weekend in 2017. The former public school teacher who turned her hobby into a small business participated in the post Black Friday’s Small Business Saturday.
“I had a really great turnout,” she said.
Beatrix circulated a Small Business Saturday promotion to everyone on her email list and distributed 1,200 “door knob hangers” in Algiers.
“We had more than five times the normal traffic that day,” she added.
Beatrix loves the personal interaction with customers at her new retail store. “We provide consistent customer service and provide local shoppers and tourists with an opportunity to shop local. My customers have the opportunity to purchase items made right here in Louisiana. They love learning the story behind each item, instead of just grabbing something off the shelf,” she said.
“The store also has an e-commerce site, beatrixbell.com, so that people can shop online. I feel that is imperative these days. Small businesses should have an online presence in order to compete.”
Beatrix is one of 9.9 million businesses that are majority-owned by women and contribute $1.4 trillion in sales to the economy, according to the Office of Advocacy’s report “Women’s Business Ownership: Data from the 2012 Survey of Business Owners.” The report was coincidentally published during the same month as Beatrix’s brick-and-mortar store opened. Read the report and more research on the topic here. Research published regularly by Advocacy include small business profiles for each of the 50 states and U.S. territories, and small business statistics.
Rhett Davis is the Office of Advocacy’s regional advocate representing Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Our Regional Advocates in the 10 SBA regions stand ready to hear from you about small business concerns and to help you level the playing field for small businesses in your state.