303 Magazine Sarah O. Jewelry carries on the family legacy – Low Calorie Diets Tips

Sarah Ortega from Sarah O Jewelry designs diamonds, gemstones and custom jewelry in their two Denver stores as well as online. Her growing business has weathered the challenges during the pandemic due to a strong online presence while introducing dreamy new collections of fine jewellery.

Rich history and heritage

Ortega’s mother, Maria VigilShe started her business by selling jewelry made out of a shoebox at her daughter’s swimming practice. She later opened a shop before her daughter entered middle school. Oh! Ah! jewelry is still going strong today and Vigil has no plans to retire anytime soon.

Ortega’s passion for jewelry design developed early in her childhood when she was introduced to her mother’s boutique Ooh! Ah! Jewelry in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“I think everything my mom did when I was young inspired me and gave me the will to be an entrepreneur,” Ortega said.

Ortega’s mother wasn’t the first in the family to be entrepreneurial, and she certainly wasn’t the last. Her grandparents, Ralph and Dominga Flores, owned a farm in New Mexico that expanded over time. She recalled stories of her mother and grandmother preparing dinner for the farmhands every night to show their appreciation for their hard work. Although their grandparents’ business was successful, the family work environment was most important to them.

“They really valued the people who worked for them,” Ortega said. “I think that passed to me. It’s the people who make the business.”

Sarah O Jewelry heritage collection, which was launched in 2021, was based on exactly this concept. Ortega designed the collection with reference to her New Mexico roots and her rich family history, which continues to influence the way she runs her business today.

Sarah O. Jewelry dazzles Denver

Roxanna Carrasco, Sarah O. Jewelry

Ortega’s entrepreneurial journey began in her dorm room at Regis University. While she was studying mathematics, she also designed bead pieces, earrings and necklaces on the side. When she was asked what she wanted to do after graduation, she discovered that her heart lies in the jewelry industry. After college, Ortega began working for a local jeweler and learned more about the jewelry design process.

“One day I was driving down Tennyson and I saw a tiny place. we [her and her husband] decided to rent it,” Ortega said.

In 2006, Ortega began selling jewelry from her small shop in Tennyson, which eventually adapted to another location down the street. At the time, her shop was more of a boutique, selling handbags, jewelry by local designers, and a small box of Ortega’s own designs.

While Tennyson St. is a bustling community today with small businesses burgeoning on every corner, it wasn’t nearly as bustling in the 2000s. Before the days of social media, Ortega found creative ways to market her brand and the street. By dropping off postcards in the neighborhood and benefiting from the First Friday Art Walks, she put in the work to get the attention of the Denver community.

“We’ve worked so many hours to popularize Tennyson as a place to shop at boutiques,” Ortega said.

Roxanna Carrasco, Sarah O. Jewelry

When a corner store opened at 4301 Tennyson St., where Sarah O. Jewelry resides today, Ortega took the leap of faith and made it a jewelry store, not a boutique. Little by little she added her own pieces to the boxes until it became a shop filled only with her designs.

Eventually word got around and people wanted custom pieces from Ortega. She enjoyed working face-to-face with her clients to build a strong bond of trust.

“Customers want to trust the company they buy a piece of fine jewelry from because they will have it for the rest of their lives,” Ortega said. “So I have to build that trust between them and me.”

Now Sarah O. Jewelry can be found not only at its Tennyson location, but also at the Dairy Block at 1825 Blake St. Suite 120.

Fine jewelry in the digital age

By 2019, the brand was gaining more traction on social media and business was doing better than ever. However, like many small businesses, 2020 presented Sarah O. Jewelry with a variety of challenges to overcome. Ortega decided to shut down fairly early for the safety of her team.

Roxanna Carrasco, Sarah O. Jewelry

Ortega faced the possibility of losing everything she had built up. After a hard night of wondering what to do, a wave of courage came over her.

“I thought, ‘We’re going to start over. We will get everyone to work from home. We’re going to find a way to make this work on the internet,'” Ortega said.

Ortega did not renounce a single one of her employees. She gathered her team for a morning meeting and asked everyone to share something they were grateful for, which boosted morale. The camaraderie of the team, confidence in the mission, and determination to move forward all contributed to Sarah O. Jewelry’s success during the pandemic.

Despite the precarious position of selling fine jewelry on an online marketplace, Sarah O. Jewelry has still found a way to get customers to trust her. Online consultations and virtual shopping experiences have been implemented to enable the sale of fine jewelry in a digital world.

“It was challenging but so cool to see our team coming together at a really difficult moment,” Ortega said. “I knew every day that we would make it.”

A sparkling future

Roxanna Carrasco, Sarah O. Jewelry

Just as the history of Sarah O. Jewelry is full of beauty and meaning, so is the jewelry itself.

According to Ortega, the gemstones she finds on her travels stimulate her imagination and inspire her to create. But she also takes into account what her customers are looking for, which has influenced her upcoming collection.

“I’ve always felt that there are two different types of people who buy jewelry from us. Some people want a unique gemstone while others want a unique white diamond. So these two things marry in this collection,” Ortega said.

As always, many of the rings will be stackable, meaning you can add other bands for added sparkle. In fact there is stacking guide to her website for inspiration on how to stack your rings Sarah O. style.

“There are certain ways you can customize your piece every day without having to go to a jeweler to have it exchanged,” Ortega said.

The new collection is set to launch sometime in July. But that’s not all the brand has in store for the future. Ortega also shared the news that Sarah O. Jewelry will be touring the United States for trunk shows. The dates and locations of these trunk shows will be announced shortly. As the business for Sarah O. Jewelry continues to grow and expand, you can keep up to date with her efforts through her website and Instagram.

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All photos by Roxanna Carrasco unless otherwise noted.

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