Bismarck’s Hidden Gem

9 mins read
Lacey Madsen of Lacey's Custom Jewelry
Lacey Madsen, Owner of Lacey's Custom Jewelry

Meet Lacey Madsen, the proud owner of Lacey’s Custom Jewelry, who has carved a niche for herself by offering personalized, one-of-a-kind pieces that make a lasting impression on her clients. Lacey’s journey from passion project to busy storefront is an inspiration to entrepreneurs. I had the pleasure of connecting with Madsen to discuss her products, customer-service-oriented mindset, staff, the company’s future that lies ahead, and much more.

Lacey’s Custom Jewelry Shines Bright on the Horizon

Lacey Madsen started her business adventure with just her knowledge and a whole lot of enthusiasm. Wasting no time and setting up shop in her own basement, Lacey took on every task herself, from reaching out to people at events to having conversations with anyone who would listen. Lacey even attended vendor shows to make connections and introduce her craft— creating unique custom jewelry.

She built her business without having customers come to her place; instead, she went to coffee shops, visited their homes, or wherever was convenient for them. Sometimes she showcased her jewelry at rummage sales and other events to get noticed. It all started there, and she kept building from that point forward.

Lacey’s path to success was a winding one. Coming from a background in the construction industry, she initially went into the trades after realizing that college wasn’t the route that piqued her interest the most. However, her love for jewelry and gemstones sparked a new passion.

“When I got a job at the mall, I found a love for gemstones, how they grow and how they become the product they are today, and found that I have a very mechanically-focused brain. I worked at a jewelry store downtown for over 10 years, leading to nearly 20 years of jewelry store experience,” Lacey said.

She yearned for something more, a place where she could create unique, custom pieces while providing unparalleled customer service. With honesty and a vision, Lacey set out to establish her own jewelry store, focusing on personalized designs and a smaller, more intimate scale.

Did You Know?

Lacey’s Custom Jewelry also has a sister store, Estate Gallery, that acts as both a vintage/ estate jewelry and gift boutique! Estate Gallery carries an array of hand-selected unique and beautiful jewelry that is reclaimed, upcycled, or promotes less waste.

“We worked through the 2008 recession and worked so hard to make it through on the other side successfully. I loved that job, but I wanted something more out of it. I’m a very honest person, so I went directly to my boss and told them my goals. I wanted to open a small store that focuses on unique, custom pieces that people aren’t seeing every day, as well as more customer oriented service at a smaller scale,” Lacey said.

Check out some of the many notable pieces of work from Lacey’s Custom Jewelry.

What started as a humble venture in Lacey’s basement has blossomed into a thriving business that caters to individuals seeking one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces. As she honed her skills and experimented with different techniques, she discovered her unique ability to translate her clients’ desires into tangible, wearable art.

Starting from her basement, Lacey spared no effort in spreading the word about her custom jewelry business. Lacey struck up conversations with people at events and introduced herself at vendor shows to put her name out there. By showcasing her creations at rummage sales and other gatherings, she ensured that her work caught the attention it deserved. Lacey’s tireless dedication and entrepreneurial spirit formed the foundation upon which Lacey’s Custom Jewelry would flourish.

A Small, Determined Team

Even when only one or two people are in the store, Lacey and her team are constantly assisting customers with their jewlery needs. Whether it’s crafting custom designers for customers, providing advice on repairs, or helping customers repurpose their existing pieces, Lacey and her team are consistently conducting these processes in-house.

What sets Lacey’s Custom Jewelry apart is the personalized touch that she infuses into every piece created. Whether it’s a custom engagement ring, a sentimental pendant, or a statement bracelet, the team is invested in capturing the client’s vision.

Uniqueness Defined: Customer-Oriented Service and Expertise

Lacey’s Custom Jewelry distinguishes itself from other jewelry businesses in town in multiple ways. One significant aspect is the store’s commitment to education. With a team that includes three graduate gemologists, Lacey’s Custom Jewelry ensures that customers receive the highest level of expertise and knowledge.

“That’s one of the things that we love to pat ourselves on the back for. We love to collaborate and work with other gemologists in the jewelry industry outside of my business,” Lacey said. “However, there are fewer and fewer in this town that we’re not already working with, considering that we already have the majority of them on our staff. It’s great to know that we have the education to feel confident in the numbers and products. The difference between glass and cubic zirconia can be reflected in the value.

While the customer may not know the difference between an item that’s $10 or $10,000, we can tell the difference and we make sure that the customer is getting the best deal possible.”

This proficiency allows the store to confidently showcase its products, provide accurate assessments, and guide customers toward the best choices. Moreover, the store’s exceptional customer service has become its hallmark, going above and beyond to meet and exceed clients’ expectations.

“We can also credit our terrific customer service as another reason why Lacey’s Custom Jewelry has been so successful. I hear that over and over again because we go above and beyond for our customers, which I have to credit to the same great staff that’s been supporting this business since we began. I’m incredibly honest with my customers and my staff, which is how any working relationship should feel and be,” Lacey said.

Presenting Quality First

“We have a huge window into the storefront because we want the customer to see everything that’s being laid out and worked on for them. We’re not doing our work in a back room that’s hidden from the public, because we take pride in the work that we do. I love that a customer can ask any questions they want about our processes, selection, or standards that we’re committed to in our industry to provide the best product and experience possible.”

– Lacey Madsen, Owner of Lacey’s Custom Jewelry

Pricing: The Art and Science of Valuing Jewelry

Determining the price of a piece of jewelry is no easy task. Designing and pricing custom jewelry is a meticulous process that demands a delicate balance of artistry and economics.

Each custom piece requires careful consideration of various factors, such as the type and quality of gemstones, the intricacy of the design, and the craftsmanship involved. Many of Lacey’s designs involve repurposing existing jewelry or incorporating sentimental elements, which adds a layer of complexity to the pricing process. Lacey takes into account the cost of materials, labor, design intricacy, and the sentimental value associated with the piece. Each custom creation is carefully evaluated to ensure that the final price reflects its true worth while remaining fair and transparent to the customer.

“The majority of custom designs come from people reusing what they already have, which is a major part of our industry. I’ve heard of people that spend $1,000 on a custom piece. However, at the end of the day, you still get to dictate your own price that you want to sell it for. The majority of that cost comes from labor, design casting, polishing, and setting stones. How many stones do you want to be set? How difficult is the design going to be? We will always take you through that and walk you through those steps. You may have spent $1,000 on a piece, but design casting and polishing can increase the piece’s value significantly. I love figuring out the best way to utilize a customer’s money and get them the best custom product possible,” Lacey said.

Challenges and Triumphs

Like any business, Lacey’s Custom Jewelry has faced its share of challenges along the way. One notable hurdle has been competition from larger jewelry chains and online retailers. However, Lacey believes that her personalized approach and emphasis on quality and expertise set her apart from these mass-market options. She understands the importance of continuously adapting to changing customer preferences and market trends while staying true to her brand identity.

On the other hand, Lacey’s triumphs have been numerous. With each satisfied customer and positive testimonial, her reputation as a trusted jeweler grows. Word-of-mouth referrals and a strong presence on social media platforms have played a significant role in expanding her customer base. Lacey also takes great pride in the success stories of her clients, who often return to her for their future jewelry needs and refer their friends and family. The support and loyalty of her customers serve as a constant reminder of why she started Lacey’s Custom Jewelry in the first place.

“I’m a very honest person that will tell you how it is. People are oftentimes assuming that you’re going to steal, cheat, or do something wrong to their pieces. Jewelry is an incredibly sentimental product and our staff respects that it can’t just be fixed like most other products,” Lacey said.

The Future Shines Right

Looking ahead, Lacey envisions a future filled with growth and exciting opportunities. She aims to continue building her brand, expanding her team of experts, and exploring new avenues to reach customers beyond Bismarck. Lacey also plans to collaborate with local artists and artisans to offer unique jewelry pieces that incorporate different artistic mediums. With her passion for custom jewelry and dedication to exceptional service, Lacey’s Custom Jewelry is poised to become a gem that shines even brighter in the jewelry industry.

“I’m lucky enough to have a supportive staff, but also grateful that I’ve never been able to say that we’re fully staffed. I’ve always felt that if the right person came forward, we couldn’t turn them away. Training someone in this industry can take anywhere from one to three years, and I’m still learning new things every single day in this business. It’s about finding the right person with a problem-solving mindset and mentality that’s motivated to fix things,” Lacey said.

A Q&A with Lacey Madsen

Q: Can you discuss the importance of long-term retention within you staff?

A: Almost all of my staff has been with me since the beginning, with the exception of a few staff members that have trickled in as I’ve grown. Since starting nearly a whole decade ago, we’ve slowly added more staff to our team and we’ve grown into a business that I’m truly proud of and impressed with.

When you’re looking for a job, it’s not necessarily about how much money you make. Always look at the benefits that an employer will offer; both on and off the formal job offer. Here, family is number one to us. If something happens with a family member where an employee needs some time away, we will make anything work. I’ll work extra hours for my staff so that they can be with their family, but I’ve also found a staff that would do the same for me, which is great.

I’ve taken them on trading trade show trips with me, and love bringing them coffee and treats. I’ve never considered myself the boss, even though I know I’m the boss. I remember what it was like to be an employee that’s been pushed to the limit, just as most have been before. Knowing that can happen, I always try to let them know how much I appreciate them and the work that they put in every day.

Q: Could tou tell me a bit more about the community outreach you do with Lacey’s Custom Jewelry?

A: We’ve done many different things over the years both for and with the Bismarck-Mandan community. Around the holidays, we spark some healthy competition by donating to local charities based on which charities people comment to donate on our social media platforms. We also work with a lot of women-empowered charities and organizations, such as Go Red For Women. It’s great to see women entrepreneurs support other women entrepreneurs. I have kids at home and have had two children since opening the store alone, so we also try to work with other sporting organizations and youth.

Q: How are you tacking work-life balance as a business owner, mother, and more?

A: That balance is something that is always getting figured out, and nobody has that balance completely figured out. When my daughter goes to college for her first year, my youngest goes to their first year of kindergarten, so we have a wide age range in the house. I do try to shut off the outside world when I’m with my family. When I’m at work, I’m at work. When I’m at home, I’m at home.

As a business owner, you’re always trying to cram as many minutes in a day as possible back into the business. I’m grateful for my staff that’s always there for each other. We value each other’s time and if someone has to be with their family, then we pivot and move our schedules as needed so that they can be with their family when needed.

Q: What advice would you give the young entrepreneurs reading this?

A: Don’t second guess and doubt yourself as much as most people do. For the entire first year of business, I had convinced myself that we weren’t going to make it and would close before our anniversary. It’s important to never assume anything and keep pushing when your head is high.

Lacey’s Custom Jewelry

[email protected]
Facebook | /LaceysCustomJewelry
Instagram | @LaceysCustomJewelry
4521 Ottawa St, Ste 5 Bismarck, ND