A jewel of a job

Published in 2009, Sympatico.ca

Ingrid Banovsky is a one-person operation. She is responsible for all aspects of her jewellery and accessories company. She says it’s a “huge balancing act.”

At 23, Banovsky operates out of the basement of her parents’ house in Sarnia, Ont. in what she says is the furnace room. She does all of her designing, shipping, billing and manufacturing. She works with a wide range of materials including pearls, precious stones, Swarovski crystal elements, bronze, sterling silver and precious metal clay. 

She stumbled upon what she hopes is her future career when making 3 Mother’s Day presents. She wanted to do something unique for her mother and grandmother so she bought some beads and made them necklaces and earrings. The presents were a success and she started making more items including pendants, purses and reworking vintage pieces. She posted some of her jewellery on Facebook and found she had a market for her work.

In April 2009, she launched IKB Boutique specializing in unique jewellery and accessories. Her typical day begins with checking her emails before breakfast and then making a list of priorities. Those priorities could be to fill customers‘ orders, do deliveries or call one of the four dealers who carry her products to check in on sales.

While a lot of her sales, especially at the beginning, were to friends, now about 20% of her business is online. Through her own website and ETSY, a craft website, she has sold pieces to customers as far away as New York, Los Angeles and the United Kingdom. She has also made inroads into the bridal market – making custom pieces and doing bridal or house parties.

She says she finds her inspiration in many places including photography, travel and music which she says can often create a feeling that then flows into her designs. Sometimes that inspiration comes from people she meets at her part-time job working at a bar.

Although jewellery design is not her background, she says she was always into crafty things. She credits her mother, who was a part-time seamstress with encouraging her creativity.

Her business skills come from studying fashion management at college. “Sometimes one [side] overpowers the other and l just have to ride with it,” she says. For Banovsky the hardest part of her job is knowing that it’s all up to her and the frustration of not having enough energy to complete her priority list everyday.

Her hope is to be able to give up her other job and devote her energy fulltime to IKB Boutique.