Thursday, August 4, 2016

Genevieve Towner is a rock hound who loves turning nature’s works of art into unique jewelry. She has sold her jewelry all over the country and added some famous names to her list of clientele.

Towner describes the Introduction to Entrepreneurship class she took with John Paul Engel as authentic. Instead of sitting and reading books about businesses, an approach that Towner specifically wanted to avoid, students were encouraged to go out into the world and ask questions. While the task might have seemed scary, Towner said Engel’s approachable attitude made the experience enjoyable.

Towner is a non-traditional student, deciding to return to the classroom after twenty years in the workforce. After the first day of class, she remembers asking Engel if she should drop the course.

“I told him ‘I’ve been out of school for twenty years, and I came here to learn.’ Instead of getting angry, he was real with me. He told me to stick it out through the first week and then drop the class if I wasn’t feeling challenged by the curriculum.”

Towner decided to stay enrolled, a decision she is grateful for. Although her business, Clezarie Beads, was already in existence before the class, the business’ focus has since shifted. She originally took the class to expand the market reach of her business, but Engel’s curriculum taught her that there were other problems to address.

Clezarie Beads products have been sold all over the country during jewelry and craft shows, which has kept Towner out of her workshop. The class taught her that she should outsource the marketing and selling and focus on her passion: jewelry design. Towner has since renewed her efforts to design and produce the beautiful pieces she is known for.

When asked about her more famous clients, Towner doesn’t bat an eye.

“I just treat everyone the same. It doesn’t matter who my customers are, I appreciate them all. I want to maintain my client’s anonymity and not single them out.”

This down-to-earth approach is evident in Towner’s vision for her business as a whole.

“I’m not trying to be the next Tiffany’s. I just want to be known as Mother Nature’s artist. Mother Nature is already beautiful, and my job involves making that beauty more apparent to others.”