When Nanz Aalund needed to buy supplies to help her toward a Masters of Fine Arts degree in metal at the University of Washington, she found out a little can go a long way.
The Seattle-based jewelry designer and Women’s Jewelry Association member had decided to go back to school, but as a working mother, money was tight. So when the WJA’s scholarship program came through with a $500 grant, she was able to get what she needed to complete her pieces.
"I was incredibly grateful for receiving it because every little bit helps," she said. "I did some research and WJA was the only jewelry organization offering scholarships for jewelry design and manufacturing."
The WJA’s scholarship and mentor programs are an important part of the organization’s mandate, said Gillian Schultz, WJA scholarship chair and vice president of Metronet Safe & Sound in Chicago. "The program has great value, it adds to the professionalism of the individual and the industry, which is extremely positive.
On the scholarship side, money for students has been given out for the past 17 years as a way to help female students with their jewelry studies, with scholarships of $500 to $2,500, as well as one $5,000 scholarship given in honor of the late June Herman, who had been an active member of WJA. This award was given for the first time in 2001. In 2002, the prize was awarded to Chih-Wen Chiu, a native of Taiwan, who is a student in the jewelry studies program at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
"WJA’s Scholarship program is consistent with its mission to empower women to achieve their highest goals in the jewelry, watch and related industries," Schultz added.
Last year, a new grant program for WJA members was started to help those who are already in the industry and want to continue their education, even if it’s not on jewelry-related subjects.
"I was quite vocal about starting a grant program for the last five years," Schultz said. "I am a believer in constant and never-ending improvement."
In October 2002, $500 grants were awarded to 15 people, one for every WJA area in the country. Some chapters were so impressed that they increased the grant fund for their own members and gave out several extra awards. Funds for the scholarships are raised from a silent auction of donated jewelry and other specialty items, a well as from the contributions of individuals and companies who support the program.But, money isn’t everything. Sometimes information, advice and contacts are what are most needed and that’s where WJA’s mentor program comes in.
Joy Toback-Galicki, the organization’s mentor chair and vice president of Myron Toback Inc., said when women are just starting out in the industry and don’t know where to turn, having a more experienced member steer them in the right direction can be valuable.
"It can be intimidating to be a woman in a still-male-dominated industry," she said. "It’s not just building up confidence, it’s educating and sharing the experience you have with these young women. They really don’t know where to begin. It’s about everything in the business, from how to do markup and how to find stones to finding someone to do a rendering or a casting."
Toback-Galicki mentors five women, while other committee members take care of several others. She’d like to see more established women take the time out to help these bright women, she said, because it’s about giving them a chance.
"They so eager, they’re like sponges," she said. "They just want to soak up everything you have to say."
Sheryl Jones, a New York-based jewelry designer, has absorbed a great deal since getting involved with WJA four years ago and being mentored by Toback-Galicki.
"She has been amazing," Jones said. "It’s nice to be able to narrow down such a large organization and find someone who you can talk to and bounce ideas off. She makes it a priority, even though she has a busy schedule and it’s been tremendously helpful for someone like me who is a complete outsider."
For Jones, the philosophy behind the program is important and she hopes to pass on what she knows to others someday.
"I think it’s great that the women who join WJA know the power of passing on information," she said. "You get as much as you put into it."
Schultz hopes that even more will be "put into it" in the coming year. "We’re hoping to award 20 scholarships and 20 grants in 2003," she said. "That’s a nice goal for our anniversary."
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty