Published in July 2010 – The Sarnia Observer
At age 23, Ingrid Banovsky has put her creative juices and business know-how to use and opened a successful custom jewellery boutique.
Banovsky launched two new collections just last week of one-of-a-kind necklaces, earrings, rings and pendants. She’s developing a customer base in Sarnia and also has clients across North America who have found IKB Boutique online.
“It’s not enough to have a great a great product,” said Banovsky who graduated from St. Christopher Secondary School and excelled in a fashion management program at George Brown in Toronto. “The secret to good business is networking” she said. “It’s so important to small business.”
When IKB Boutique was launched in May 2009, her father helped her make useful connections and she joined a number of networking organizations such as Women in Networking, which is a growing group of professional women who meet monthly for lunch, “I also went out and spoke to retailers and people in the downtown core,” Banovsky said, “The wonderful thing about downtown is that it’s a community and people support one another.” Soon she had a Sarnia retailer, Bare Roots Eco-Chic Boutique, carrying her jewellery line and other followed.
Banovsky’s first Christmas season saw her working long hours to fill all her orders. She still needs a second job to make ends meet but the business is rapidly expanding and she’s optimistic she’ll soon be able to depend on it for a main source of income. “Bridal is huge for me,” she said. “Brides come to me and want something unique and custom made.” They frequently order necklaces and earring sets for their bridesmaids and themselves. Creating something new from several old pieces is also a passion for Banovsky. Clients will either bring their family jewellery to her or she’ll find vintage pieces at second-hand stores or garage sales.
Ornate buttons can be made into dramatic rings, Cameos and pearls are reworked into trendy new necklaces for as little as $50 each. Banovsky is self-taught. She left Toronto after working a year for an independent clothing designer and travelled Europe for a while. In 2008, she returned to Sarnia and, on a whim, decided to make jewellery for her mother and grandmother on Mother’s Day. That set the wheels in motion for what was to become IKB Boutique. Banovsky learned to use hand tools, cutters and a torch and took a course to learn how to work with metal clay. She creates her designs using mostly semi-precious stones, Swarovski crystal elements from Austria, sterling silver and gold filled components. Several collections have been launched including summer, vintage and metal clay lines, Most recently she created a “girly-girl” collection called Sweet Treats with beads that look like pink cupcakes and cake slices, as well as one designed around a collection of pendents from India, Pakistan and Indonesia that she found in a barn. “I anticipate it will take two to five years to gain income in sales and I intend to stick with it”, she said. “I’m also interested in going to Italy to study metalsmithing and eventually work with precious stones.”