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Conversations with the Inspiring Alison Goyette

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alison Goyette.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started Boston Sea Glass back in 2010, but I have been beach-combing and making crafts all of my life. I was walking on the beach every day when my son was little and it just lead to pockets and jars full of sea glass. That turned into bins and buckets all over the house and things were getting a little out of control. I was enchanted with the idea of putting the collection to good use so I decided to give jewelry making a try.

It turns out that wire wrapping is harder than it looks and I had a lot of jewelry fails. After a few months of trying different techniques, I found a style that felt good to me. I opened a shop on Etsy just before the holiday season in 2010 and I was thrilled with the response. The following spring a bride requested a set of 12 necklaces for her wedding party and I realized that there was a nice niche market for beach wedding jewelry.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The wedding jewelry business has changed substantially in just a few short years. Giving matchy-matchy jewelry to your bridesmaids has gone a little out of style. Brides are giving more thoughtful items that match the personality of the person, not just the color of the dress. It makes sense to me, but as a result, I find myself moving away from bridesmaids “sets”.

I am starting to switch my focus to more high-end materials. My skills, as well as the quality of sea glass I am able to get, have improved over the years, so I don’t have to stay within the price point that worked best for big wedding parties.

what should we know about Boston Sea Glass? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Boston Sea glass offers jewelry made with unaltered beach glass (although you will find the man-made stuff there, too). I tend to favor wire-wrapping because I don’t have to damage the glass by drilling or soldering it. Often I work with the customer to match a particular color or a personal project they have in mind. I love the challenges I get from clients. It pushes me to go a little further.

I’ve made custom jewelry for hundreds of weddings, as well as a few memorial items for loved ones who have passed away. One mother said her therapist compared the grieving process to a piece of sea glass, it starts out sharp and with time becomes smooth. She wanted a custom necklace for everyone in her extended family to symbolize this idea. It really touched me to play a small part in comforting them. In a sea of online retailers, it’s that human connection that seems to make the difference.

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
Sometimes, it’s hard for folks to take a woman running a craft business as a serious career path. When I applied for a car loan, I presented the dealer with a profit and loss statement for my sea glass business as proof of income. He looked at me like I was crazy. Haha, but I got the loan.

The younger women of today seem to have more confidence right of the gate than previous generations of women. I admire them for that. However, I think they have to work harder to prove themselves in a way that a man in the same position would not have to do.

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Image Credit:
Alison Goyette

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