After moving back to Minneapolis in 2010, Sara Goldfine Baratz has seen Goldfine Jewelry take off from her design studio in the North Loop. Using gold, silver, crystals and a lot of vision in her designs, Sara juggles her work of creating innovative jewelry with a 15-month-old. So Who The Folk is Sara Goldfine Baratz?!
How long have you been doing jewelry design?
I started when I was in college, so about 2003. I launched my first brand in 2005 when I was in L.A., and that’s where I really started my business and made a name for myself. I would do shows here everytime I came in town and sold to boutiques here. We moved back here in 2010 and I got the studio space and developed it more here. About a year ago I rebranded to Goldfine Jewelry from SBG Designs. I wanted to rebrand anyway because I had my business for 10 years; my jewelry had changed and my branding was kind of stale. I also wanted to incorporate my maiden name into it; the deal with my husband was that as soon as we had kids I would take his name. I wanted to hold onto my maiden name somehow, so I put it into the business.
Did you see it as a risk rebranding something that had been successful for 10 years?
I was nervous about it. Everybody that knew my brand, I was nervous that they wouldn’t know I switched. Some people it took them a while. Through social media helped spread the word so well. There are some people who aren’t on social media that I’d see once a year at events, they didn’t catch on right away. It ended up being a much bigger success than I hoped for. Social media generated so much excitement. I wasn’t expecting it to be as big a hit as it was.
When designing new pieces, how do find the inspiration to create?
Sometimes I’m inspired by the latest trends in fashion. Other times, I will be inspired by certain materials and try to figure out how to make that work into something I would want to wear. And my mood. I also try to design pieces that are multifunctional, like my Spy necklace. There’s so many things you can do with this one piece. My customers they know that about my jewelry, that it’s multifunctional. They’re asking me how it could work. If two friends have the same piece, they can wear it differently at the same time.
As a consumer, there’s inherent value in the versatility, isn’t there?
Right. It’s not your $10 piece of jewelry. You’re getting so much more for your money. I have a lot of customers that come for gifts and they get excited to give it because there’s so many things you can do with it. You can wear it with so many different outfits.
What materials do you generally work with?
I use a lot of Swarovski crystals, 14kt. gold, and sterling silver for the most part. Part of one of my collections is vintage glass, so once those pieces are gone, it’s gone. I do a lot of limited collections.
How do you find the vintage materials?
I found those in L.A., and I still work with the same vendors. Sometimes in New York I’ll pop around the jewelry district and see what I find.
What’s the biggest challenge to trying to be on top of trends?
I think the challenge is getting it out there and choosing which trends to focus and how my customer will react to it. The chokers are really in right now. I didn’t want to do something that’s super trendy and in the moment. Everyone else is doing it, so I try to do something that relates to the trend, but is different enough so that it relates to my customer, too. So it’s not something out there that’s mass produced.
Is it nice for your husband to be off the hook and not have to buy you jewelry since you can just make what you want?
Yes, he’s off the hook. The first gift he got me was jewelry.
With trends, how do you know that you’re setting the curve?
When I see how my customers react to it or when I do events and see how they react to the jewelry. I’ll design something and see similar things in magazines after.
Who’s your customer?
I have moms buying Bat Mitzvah presents from me, but I also have women in their 70s buying jewelry from me. I have something that can relate to so many people. I would wear everything that I make. I won’t make a piece that I wouldn’t wear. I’d say my average customer is a working woman that wants to have a good presence with their jewelry, and someone who wants to have a piece of jewelry that’s super-versatile and special, rather than a quick fashion piece.
Do you have any Judaic jewelry?
I have done things in the past, but I do a lot of custom work.
Do you sell direct or are you in stores?
We sell to boutiques all over the country, so Minneapolis, St. Paul, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York. All over. I also sell on my website. And I do pop ups; it’s new for me this year but I’ll be at Ridgedale on Dec. 17-18 on the second level. Ironically across from Swarovski Crystal and right above Shop Local.
Favorite Jewish holiday?
Probably Hanukkah. I love that time of year. It’s cozy and you get to give gifts.
Favorite Jewish foods?
I like potato latkes. But probably kugel.Click here to nominate your favorite TC Jew to be featured on our weekly Who the Folk?! series!