The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Diamond in the Rough

What’s setting some college grads apart from the rest?

Hearing a name like Diamond Downs and seeing the petit beauty embellished in eclectic jewelry, people might think the 24-year-old fashionista standing before them is destined for the jewelry industry. However, while destiny and faith may have helped guide Downs into the world of jewelry design, it’s the young woman’s determination, realistic view of the job market, and her wise outlook on business relations that will truly guide her success.

Downs, originally from Washington D.C., graduated from Savannah College of Art & Design in May of 2011. At that time, and still today, the job market for college graduates was scarce, especially in the fashion industry. According to the New York Times, the unemployment rate for college graduates age 24 and under has risen to 9.4 percent, the highest level since the government began keeping records in 1985.

Downs, who graduated with a degree in fashion marketing and management, realized that it would take years of experience in her desired field before she would truly be placed in a career driven position.

“Throughout my college years, I interned for fashion and editorial companies and witnessed how unhappy people were working extremely hard for minimum returns – something that was once so passionate for them was turning into stress and resentment,” says Downs. “My internships are what made me second-guess my desire of wanting to work for someone else’s company. I figured if I’m going to work around the clock, it should be something I’m passionate about building into my career.”

So with that thought, Downs took her childhood love for making beaded bracelets for friends and family and decided to pursue a more desirable career in jewelry design. With no more than the direction from books and tutorials on handcrafting jewelry, Downs created her luxury jewelry brand, Gehati.

“The inspiration behind the Gehati brand is that every item is designed to carry the customer through life’s journey,” says Downs. “Each gemstone we incorporate has a significant meaning and aurora of good fortune behind it and wearing gold in everyday life increases personal power and promotes courage.”

After only a year since first introducing Gehati, Downs has already placed her brand in several retailers and continues to build her network and reputation. She is currently working on becoming a more recognized brand through potential placement in department stores and her devoted involvement with charities.

She may be young, but Downs is far from naive. Her work ethic and core business values reflect the designer’s strong grasp on the importance of customer service in her industry.

“It doesn’t matter what you know or how hard you work, your consumers are always top priority because they keep you in business. The minute you forget that is the minute your doors will shut,” says Downs. “No matter how busy I am building my brand, I personally try to keep myself very involved with my retail buyers and consumers.”

Given today’s economy, many college graduates like Downs take a leap-of-faith into entrepreneurship with hopes of achieving success in careers they love, rather than spending years locked into companies with little path up the corporate ladder. It is likely that this current trend in entrepreneurship will be more beneficial from some than others, however.

Only time will tell, yet Downs believes that being young can be both an advantage and a disadvantage when starting up a business. She says, “The advantage is you’re fresh with bright ideas that everyone wants a piece of. The disadvantage is not being taken seriously… so it’s your hard work that will have to set you apart in order to obtain success. “

For more information about Gehati, visit www.gehati.com.

For more information regarding entrepreneurship opportunities at SMU, visit http://www.smu.edu/Meadows/TheMovement/ArtsEntrepreneurship.
 

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