Episode 435: How She Prepared For and Won the 7500K Halstead Grant for Her Jewelry Business with Stephanie Howell
Stephanie Howell, the founder of S Howell Studios, has a passion for creating jewelry that's inspired by the beauty of the natural world. Her goal is to encourage her clients to slow down and find wonder in even the simplest moments.
Stephanie's journey into jewelry-making began during her first semester of college, and her love for the craft only grew from there. After years of exploration and travel, she decided to settle into her creative passion by launching her jewelry business.
Today on the podcast, I had the pleasure of chatting with Stephanie specifically about how she used the knowledge she gained from Flourish & Thrive Academy's Laying the Foundation program and the Thrive by Design podcast to successfully apply for and win the prestigious Halstead Grant after her third attempt.
Finding the Path to Success in Her Jewelry Business
As Stephanie approached her 30s, she knew she wanted to build a jewelry business that would satisfy both her creative and entrepreneurial sides. When seeking resources to help her navigate the complex world of building a thriving jewelry business googled “jewelry business podcasts,” which led her straight to the Thrive by Design podcast.
It was on the podcast that Stephanie first learned about our 12-week program, Laying the Foundation, which focuses on helping jewelry designers and makers build a strong business foundation.
Stephanie realized the importance of structuring her business properly from the start to align with her life goals, particularly the balance between financial freedom and time. And she knew building a solid foundation was essential to her long-term success.
Preparing for the Halstead Grant
After just a few months in business, Stephanie decided to apply for the Halstead Grant, a $7,500 award for emerging jewelry brands. Her first encounter with the grant came while listening to the Thrive by Design podcast episode with past Halstead winner Kristin Baird. Stephanie was inspired by Kristin's story and thought one day she’d be good enough to win the Halstead Grant, too.
“Ever since hearing your interview with Kristen, I had the thought like someday I'm gonna win, I'm going to be the Halstead grant winner, which sounds like a little bit arrogant, but I was like determined to grow to the point of like being able to win.”
Initially, Stephanie had no immediate plans to submit an application, but she was curious about the questions and requirements for the grant. This early exploration of the application process played a pivotal role in her eventual success.
The Journey to Winning Spanned Three Attempts
Stephanie boldly set out on the journey to win the Halstead Grant in her very first year of business. She placed in the top five after her first attempt, and then she used the feedback from Halstead to make improvements on her 2nd application the following year.
Again, she placed in the top five.
With one more opportunity to apply (Halstead’s limit is three times) Stephanie decided to wait until her business was a little further along to have a better chance. She applied in May of 2023 and she won!
Stephanie relied on the training, information, and resources she received in Laying the Foundation, and the feedback from the Halstead judges to help her make improvements and win the grant.
She shared that the key to her success came from everything she learned in Laying the Foundation. Additionally, Stephanie honed her business acumen, connected with past grant winners and finalists and worked with a SCORE mentor to organize her thoughts and ideas in preparation for each application.
“I don't know where I would be without Flourish & Thrive Academy. So thank you
for bringing it into existence.”
The Impact of Laying the Foundation
Stephanie shared that, hands down, Laying the Foundation played a crucial role in her journey from novice jewelry brand to Halstead Grant winner.
In LTF, she learned how to:
- Identify her ideal client
- Create a brand story
- Develop strategic calls to action
- Build cohesive collections
- Price her work for profitability, and
- Maintain the right mindset for growth
Without this foundation, Stephanie likens her business to a house without a solid structure…
“LTF literally laid the foundation for my business. If my business were a house without LTF, I would have some of the fixtures and a few pieces of furniture, and maybe even a floor plan but I would not know what goes in each room. My House wouldn't even be standing because there would be no foundation.”
Stephanie’s Words of Wisdom
Stephanie offered valuable advice to fellow designers aspiring to win the Halstead Grant:
- Invest in education: Seek the knowledge you need to succeed. Stephanie highly recommends Flourish & Thrive Academy's programs for jewelry entrepreneurs.
- Stay organized: Start early and give yourself ample time to complete the application. Write down your thoughts and ideas as they come to you, even if you're not actively working on them.
- Don't let finances hold you back: If you're concerned about the cost of educational programs, consider them an investment in your future. Stephanie believes that the program pays for itself and that the information you gain is invaluable.
“If you're worried about the money, you're gonna make it back super quickly… the program is going to pay for itself. And you need this information. So yeah, just take the plunge. Like, it's worth it, I promise.”
Stephanie Howell's journey from a budding jewelry enthusiast to a Halstead Grant winner is a testament to the power of education, determination, and a well-structured foundation.
Her success story illustrates how investing in jewelry industry-specific business training, like Laying the Foundation, can empower jewelry entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams.
Stephanie's achievements are a powerful reminder that with the right knowledge and support, any dream is within reach.
I know you’ll find so many inspiring moments in this episode of the podcast.