Buy or build? Circumstances choose for Farnes

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Jennifer Farnes and Pedro Llanas check out the final touches of remodeling at their store location, which they expect to open soon.

Jennifer Farnes and Pedro Llanas check out the final touches of remodeling at their store location, which they expect to open soon.

Jennifer Farnes took steps to buy an existing jewelry store. The steps she took led her not to an existing store, but to one of her own.

Originally, the owners of the existing store were going to sell the jewelry business for $300,000, the amount that the business owed at the time.

Instead of buying the debt and the business, Farnes decided to investigate why the business was losing money.

“I didn’t want to go into a business leaking money,” Farnes said. “Instead, I said, ‘Let’s see what’s going on.’ ”

So she did, all the while compiling documents to purchase the business.

“It had just started making money,” Farnes said. Two weeks from Farnes buying the business, the primary shareholder decided not to sell.

“It was kind of a knife to the heart,” Farnes said. “I went home and cried a lot. And my husband said let’s start over and see what it costs to switch gears.”

Start-up process

She instead decided to start her own business, Revolution Jewelry Works. Having already completed paperwork for a business acquisition loan with the Small Business Administration, she changed to a startup loan.

“I never would have thought I could have opened my own store after that letdown,” Farnes said. “Everything happens for a reason.”

The largest business hurdle was “getting the paperwork the way everyone wants to see it,” Farnes said. “Acquisition is a lot easier because the numbers are already there.”

The history is different, she said. Instead of sales history, Revolution Jewelry Works’ history involves the skills of a jeweler and stone cutter, for 15 and 10 years respectively.

Her business partner, jeweler Pedro Llamas, has worked in the industry in Colorado Springs.

“He was a bench jeweler; all he did was repairs,” Farnes said. “He wasn’t getting an opportunity to be creative and to do what he’s good at — design.”

“We had collaborated on projects,” Llanas said. “She cut the stone.”

“I definitely wanted him on my team,” Farnes said. “I’ve seen his work and I know what he can do.”

The decision to join “was difficult to make at first,” Llanas said. “The hardest part is … I’m waiting to sit down and get work done.”

The business is located at 5928 Stetson Hills Blvd. in the Powers Boulevard corridor of northeastern Colorado Springs.

In preparing for the store to open, Farnes used the Pikes Peak Professional business networking group to convert the empty space to a usable shop. She used painters and roofers and others whom she met through the networking group.

The Farnes-Llanas duo have five custom sets “sold already,” before opening the shop, Farnes said. That includes earrings, a wedding ring remake, an earring and necklace set and making a new wedding set from components of an old set, Farnes said. The grand opening is scheduled for Nov. 8.

Revolution

Farnes became a stone-cutter after years of collecting rocks and minerals. The Montana native worked as an apprentice under a master faceter in Colorado Springs; five years ago, she became a master faceter, or stone cutter, on her own.

“I’ve taken a dying art and turned it into my career. In the country, only about 150 people do what I do,” and three are in Colorado, Farnes said. “Jewelers all over the country are my clients. I actually cash-flow by myself just with my income.”

At Revolution Jewelry Works, the jeweler’s bench is located in the main store lobby, behind plate glass so customers can see work being done. Traditional jewelry stores locate their work benches in the back of the store, behind walls, Farnes said.

The store will showcase items made in America.

“Instead of purchasing a bunch of inventory and having it in our showcases,” the store will show work from other jewelers in a business model similar to consignment, Farnes said.

“If something sells, we pay them right away. If it doesn’t, they have the opportunity to rescind it,” Farnes said. “They can try selling it somewhere else, but that’s up to them.

“A lot of what we’re doing is encouraging them to be creative.”

Jewelers handle all facets of jewelry, from design to repair, Farnes said. Designers will visualize and create the art, rather than maintain it.

Revolution Jewelry Works offers CAD, or Computer-Aided Design.

“We can build a piece digitally to show the customers what the piece will look like before we build a model or cast a piece. We’ve got high-end technology here,” Farnes said.

Also, the business has a laser welder for delicate, antique pieces.

“If you want to do a repair on a filigree ring, a vintage piece, if you try to put a torch to it, you’ll turn it into a blob,” Farnes said. “You have to have the ability to do finite pinpoint work, and that’s what the laser welder enables you to do.”

 

Revolution Jewelry Works

Website: revolutionjewelryworks.com

Contact info: 650-6000
5923 Stetson Hills Blvd.

Years in business: Start-up

Number of employees: 2