September 19, 2018

Maine jewelry entrepreneur awarded national grant ahead of Ellsworth move

Courtesy / Emily Shaffer Studio
Courtesy / Emily Shaffer Studio
Jewelry designer Emily Shaffer has won the 2018 Halstead Grant for new jewelry businesses, which includes a cash grant of $7,500. In October she will relocate to a space in downtown Ellsworth, where she plans to hire an employee to help with sales and production.

Emily Shaffer, a Franklin-based jewelry designer who's headed to Ellsworth to open a downtown studio, has won a prestigious national grant for her three-year-old startup.

As the winner of the 2018 Halstead Grant for emerging silver jewelry artists, Shaffer will receive prizes including $7,500 in cash, $1,000 in jewelry supplies and detailed feedback from the judging committee.

Shaffer "has a very compelling and marketable body of work supported by a well thought-out business strategy and a realistic approach that is sure to propel her forward," said grant juror Michael David Sturlin in a statement. "I am excited to see her make the next big steps in her continuing success story."

Asked by Mainebiz what she'll do with the prize money, Shaffer said she'll use it to further her business locally and nationally, adding, "it will allow me the opportunity to get in front of overhead costs and fees."

She plans to relocate her business to downtown Ellsworth next month to a rented downtown location on the second floor of 121 Main St., above the Alchemist Salon.

The building and salon are owned by Melissa Bradford and Jessica Chadwick, whom Shaffer credits with turning the space into "something special."

"They have great taste and I can't wait to be a part of the building," she added.

Shaffer received her bachelor of fine arts in crafts and fine metal jewelry and a bachelor of science degree in art education from Kutztown University, where she was selected as a student exhibitor in the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Craft Show.

She also received the J. Allen Pawling Craft Memorial Award, was named an American Craft Week "30 under 30 Rising Star" and was a top 5 finalist for the 2017 Halstead Grant.

She said her interest in jewelry design was sparked during her years at Kutztown and meeting jeweler Cara Romano at the art show in Philadelphia.

Shaffer moved to Maine after graduation to intern with Romano and later permanently relocated here and went into business for herself. Her creations are sold online and at retail locations in half a dozen states, including Maine.

In Ellsworth, Shaffer looks forward to engaging with the downtown community on a daily basis and said her clients "will have the opportunity to see my work in person and also gain a behind-the-scenes look into the studio."

She plans to hire an employee in the new space to help with sales and production.


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