Stores where Cheryl's pieces can be found
Jobs provided for women in the community
Cheryl Stevens was looking for a new project after she closed a gift shop she owned. One day, she remembered the ceramic kiln in her backyard shed. Cheryl decided to combine her passion for of creativity and her art degree and open up Cheryl Stevens Studio in 2008.
How the SBDC helped
Cheryl’s business was outgrowing her shed. She was selling at craft shows almost every weekend, and was ready to expand into wholesale. Cheryl was introduced to a Michigan SBDC Consultant and she knew she would be able to get the assistance she needed to expand. The Michigan SBDC aided Cheryl in securing a new building to work in and entering the wholesale market.
Working with the Michigan SBDC has allowed Cheryl to grow her business by entering the wholesale sector. She is now selling in 115 stores around the country, and traveling to art shows selling her hand made pieces almost every weekend. Cheryl also has been able provide jobs for 7 women in her community.
After closing her Sault Ste. Marie gift shop of eleven years, Cheryl Stevens was ready to take on a new project. Art degree in hand, and an old ceramic kiln in her backyard shed, Cheryl decided to combine her passion with her business experience and opened Cheryl Stevens Studio.
“Retail was in my blood and I had an innate desire to make and create. I just went with my gut and decided to pursue this business,” states Cheryl.
Cheryl soon realized she had a niche market. Her ceramic jewelry and artistic creations were gaining popularity, inspiring her to travel to local art shows on the weekends. Over the past nine years Cheryl has had the opportunity to travel to art shows all over the United States selling the jewelry she makes by hand. In 2016, she decided to expand her business by selling her designs at the wholesale level and is now offering artwork in 115 stores across the country.
Cheryl Stevens Studio has unarguably made a significant impact in the community. She has hired a team of seven women local to Sault Ste. Marie to work on the wholesale side of her business. Above all, Cheryl wants to provide a place in her community where women are able to have respectable careers doing good work.
“It is really important to me to continue providing job opportunities for women in my community. Offering even one job for one woman is extremely rewarding. I’m inspired to continue growing my business to help more women have a job that they feel proud of,” commented Cheryl.
In 2014, Cheryl was introduced to Michigan SBDC consultant Josh Billington. Cheryl and Josh have been working together ever since. Josh has provided Cheryl with tools to grow effectively and efficiently. Cheryl appreciates Josh’s constant encouragement and understanding. Together, they were able to locate a space for Cheryl to relocate her growing business.
According to Josh Billington, “Cheryl is the most energetic creative entrepreneur I've worked with. She is such a joy to work with, eager to learn, forward thinking and not afraid of change - all invaluable characteristics in owning a small business.”
In the future, Cheryl hopes to continue to expand her wholesale business and sell in even more locations around the country. By growing, she also hopes to hire even more women from her community.
“The Michigan SBDC has helped me understand that business growth can be challenging, but it can be done. They have helped me reach my limit, not stop and keep pursuing success,” Cheryl adds.