Darrel Benoit has been designing fine gold, silver and platinum jewelry for more than 25 years. Although his wife Adair was trained in bookkeeping, she has been producing jewelry as well for the past three years, since the couple moved to Gasquet from Santa Rosa. On March 3, Benoit Designs in Jewelry held a grand opening for their new store at 1222 Second St. The Benoits sat down this week with us to talk a little about their business:
Q: What inspired you to go into this line of work?
Darrel: To be honest with you, I was studying to be an architect. Back in 1978, the drafting teacher informed us we would be the first class who would have to return for an additional two years' training to learn AutoCAD, so I shifted my whole curriculum to focus on the industrial arts wing.
Adair: I always liked math and numbers, and I've always been in business. The jewelry making allows me to find a creative outlet.
Q: What training or education did you need?
Adair: I have a certificate in bookkeeping and accounting.
Darrel: I was trained in visual arts merchandising at Rosenberg's Department Stores, and I trained with the head of the California Jewelry Association. I was studying to be an artist at the junior college and I was given the opportunity to be paid to learn this trade. I've had a great deal of wonderful mentors.
Adair: Jewelry is historically learned through apprenticeship.
Q: How has your business changed over the years?
Darrel: We opened up a store here in Crescent City in February. It's located at 1222 Second St., across from the health food store. Before, we were working at our 2,700-square-foot workshop in Gasquet near She-She's.
Adair: We had a grand opening for our new shop on March 3. It was a combined Merchant's Square event. We gave away three pieces in a drawing. First place was a gold seagull pendant on a gold chain, which is available on our website. Second place was a sterling silver angel and third place was a cultured freshwater pearl necklace and earring set.
Q: What business decision or action would you change if you could do it again?
Darrel: Coming here, I've learned that dealing more with commerce on a political plane is critical.
Adair: I would have opened a store here right away.
Q: What's the toughest business decision you've ever made?
Darrel: Purchasing our property in Gasquet and sticking with it. A lot of difficulties were involved in the purchase. I contemplated continuing further up the coast. So, to follow through with our vision of clean air and fresh water for our lifestyle.
Q: Is your family involved in the day-to-day operation of your business?
Darrel: Both of our parents.
Adair: My mom is a retired tax professional from H&R block and she does our taxes. My dad is a retired commercial artist and he does a lot of our advertising.
Darrel: My parents have provided financial and emotional support.
Adair: And both sets helped with babysitting.
Q: How do you define success for your business?
Darrel: World peace.
Adair: A profit.
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