A day with Gretchen

A day with Gretchen

5am arrival at the airport, masked up and empty carry on luggage.  It was a whirlwind!

Less than a week after a middle of the night email to Tim Horner, President of Premier Designs and a very good friend and mentor for many years, I was on a plane bound for DFW.  I had asked if Premier Manufacturing was selling components as Premier was going out of business.  And I shared my dream of a company to create jobs for the women of Faith Home Honduras.  His answer: buy a plane ticket and I’ll give you a day with Gretchen.

Gretchen, one of our designers, and a master bench jeweler, picked me up at the airport and we drove straight to Premier Manufacturing.  Seeing the vacated factory and offices I had often toured brought some tears, but we had to stay focused to accomplish the task ahead.

Looking through inspiration pieces that would have been upcoming spring collections, and collecting pieces and parts available in the warehouse, we dove in.  Pieces started to come together!  First an earring or two, a necklace, then 3.  I had hoped for maybe 3 or 4 pieces, simple enough to make without many skills in hand yet.  What I walked away with was 3 stories, 15 pieces! (Our first mock ups...not what we finished with but a great start.)

With some more work to do when I got gone, we furiously began counting pieces and packing my bags.  But the big question, “Gretchen, I told Tim what seed money I had to spend on this.  How are we calculating what I’m packing?”  “Don’t worry about that...”

A quick text message later, “Sarah, Tim wants to donate this to your vision.”  I cried.  Premier gave so much to me over 23 years.  More than I ever earned or deserved.  My heart was aching and broken for the end of my career and this great company.  It hurt to work in the empty building that once bustled with jewelry production.  But as I walked out the last time, a precious and priceless gift: components for our spring collection, and a day with Gretchen I will never forget.

And our flower and crystal antique silver earring in the Give Hope collection bears her name in honor of that day and her heart to give (and the generosity of the Horner family one last time).  Thank you Gretchen for your skills and inspiration, and one exhausting but exciting day of design to make Alegria a reality.  (Oh and she had a hand in the design of our logo too!)


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