We had the good fortune of connecting with Pamela Raskin and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Pamela, what do you attribute your success to?
Since 2005, I have built a loyal clientele by providing high quality jewelry designs and personalized service. I pride myself on the originality and integrity of my designs and my ability to please my customers.

Jewelry is very personal, which is why I based my entire business on designing one-of-a-kind pieces that make people look and feel special! Jewelry is more than an accessory, it is an expression of one’s personality and it is important that it be as individual as the person wearing it. I hand-select all of the materials, develop unique designs and handcraft each piece to assure the finest quality.

The other major factor behind the success of my brand is personal service. I truly enjoy custom work which often includes designing jewelry for weddings, proms and other special occasions. In addition, I welcome the challenge to put a fresh twist on an outdated design by redesigning vintage items that are dear to my clients. Personalized design consultation ensures that each customer receives individual attention and affordable custom options.

 

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
When I think about the fact that I’ve built up this business over the past 16 years, I find it ironic that it was never my intention to start one. I’ve always loved jewelry, so when my sons were both in school, I took a class at a local bead shop back in Connecticut and began designing as a hobby. My friends admired my work so I started making gifts for them and it shortly evolved into a business. I was extremely fortunate with word-of-mouth promotion and my business grew quickly through referrals, home shows and craft fairs. Jewelry donations for charity auctions and other fund-raising events created further goodwill and interest in my designs.

My passion for color and design was instilled from childhood by my father, a graphic artist and painter. Designing jewelry allows me to use my love of color to create pieces that make people look and feel special. The hallmark of my style is the combination of innovative color palettes with interesting textures, natural elements and unusual findings. The collection includes necklaces, bracelets and earrings crafted using a combination of semi-precious gems, natural stones and pearls, as well as precious metal and vintage chains. I employ a variety of techniques including silk knotting, wire-work, tassel-making, Kumihimo, Coraling and more.

As my craft evolves, I continue to learn new techniques but have never strayed from the main reason I started my business – the creation of one-of-a-kind designs. While it is important to keep pace with the latest jewelry trends, I always find a way to put my own spin on my jewelry designs to make them unique. My business has been largely successful because I offer a product that cannot be readily found anywhere else. I attribute my loyal customer base to the fact that they see quality and value in my products and love the compliments they get while wearing their Gembellishment’s designs!

The greatest challenge I have had to face with my business was moving it from Connecticut to San Diego during the height of COVID! We had been trying to relocate to California for several years but it took a pandemic to jumpstart the real estate market so we could make our dream a reality. We just had our one year anniversary as Oceanside residents and it has been wonderful, however, the challenges for my business have been significant. I basically have had to start over on many fronts. It has motivated me to accelerate my social media presence, but there is just no substitute for connecting with the local market. I am very interested to get involved with my new community and to understand how my business can evolve to meet the fashion preferences of the West Coast.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Day 1: Pick them up at airport and go to Coronado Island to get lunch at The Del. Go downtown to walk around the Embarcadero and Seaport Village. In the evening, we would have dinner at Café Sevilla in Gaslamp for awesome tapas and sangria.

Day 2:
Spend the day at the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park to visit the Botanical gardens and artisan shops. Then over to Liberty station to visit the Sea Hive and other shops, followed by dinner at The Lot.

Day 3:
Spend the day in Oceanside at the beach. Then walk into town for a glass of wine at Orfila Wine Bar and dinner at Local Tap House or the Switchboard restaurant.

Day 4:
Out to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido. Dinner in Vista at the Belching Beaver or Yellow Deli.

Day 5:
Down to Torrey Pines for a hike along the coast. Dinner in La Jolla at Duke’s overlooking the cove.

Day 6:
A morning walk along the strand in Oceanside and brunch at The Stratford at Oceanside Harbor. A drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, stopping and shopping in Carlsbad and Solana Beach on the way. Happy Hour at my favorite Tiki-themed speakeasy, The Grass Skirt in Pacific Beach. Dinner at The Henry in Coronado.

Day 7:
Breakfast at The Coffee Mug in Oceanside. Then a stop at the UTC mall for a little shopping and a drink at the Prohibition-themed speakeasy, Raised by Wolves. Finally, we’d go back downtown to Little Italy for a casual dinner at Filippi’s Pizza Grotto.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
A key factor in transitioning my business from Connecticut to California last year, has come in the form of a chance meeting with the owner of a new boutique in Carlsbad. This wonderful shop, called “75 Degrees & Fuzzy” is located at 520 Grand Avenue in Carlsbad. It is jointly owned by Tanya Dewald and her daughter, Layna Hathaway. They work together to merchandise an impressive array of fashions to appeal to a wide audience, from young teens to mature women. They also support local artists like myself and carry home décor items in addition to an amazing selection of clothing and accessories.

I am fortunate not only to have a selection of my jewelry displayed at 75 Degrees and Fuzzy, but also to be working part-time at the boutique. This gives me an opportunity to interact with customers and to see what types of fashions and accessories inspire them. I can then create new designs to complement the every-changing styles in the shop.

On a personal front, I would be remiss without a shoutout to our relatives here in San Diego. My brother-in-law Glenn and his wife Aileen have made it their mission to include us in their social calendar at every opportunity. Aileen’s twin sister Megan and her husband, Al, have also been incredibly welcoming and supportive of our transition to California. Our son, Kyle and his fiancée, Katie, have taken us into the fold with their friends as well, keeping us young at heart. Together, they have provided a critical springboard for us to develop a social network here in San Diego and we are extremely grateful to them and their extended families!

Last but certainly not least, I would like to thank our younger son, Craig, for his full support of our move to California as he stayed back in New York. And to my wonderful husband, Barry, for encouraging me and my jewelry business through all the bumps in the road!

Website: www.gembellishments.com

Instagram: instagram.com/gembellishments

Facebook: facebook.com/gembellishments

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