WAXAHACHIE

A world-renowned jewelry designer operates her business discreetly in Waxahachie, manufacturing over 7,000 pieces a month for shops in Dubai, Paris and Milan. A few of those same featured collections can even be purchased locally.

Sarah Briggs attended college in Utah and lived quite the New York lifestyle until she was offered the ultimate job with a buying program at Neiman Marcus in Dallas. The opportunity also allowed for the 1998 Lake Highlands High graduate to return home to North Texas.

“It was my dream job,” Briggs emphasized. “I was a nanny, making jewelry in Philly right after New York.”

In the five-month gap before her start date, Briggs made a name for herself.

Cotton Island, a high-end fashion store in Dallas operated by Patty Feinstein, was the first client to purchase a Briggs original — a small collection of three earrings. Briggs just had to scope out her merchandise on the counter to believe it was real.

And then, once she ventured into the store, none of her merchandise was displayed. Feinstein then disclosed the Sarah Briggs earrings were the first items to be purchased that morning. The owner promptly asked for nine sets of earnings and to see more designs.

Before Briggs could wrap her mind around the opportunity, Feinstein had ordered $7,000 worth of product.

“I hadn’t even been to a wholesale trade show. But I needed production at that point, and I couldn’t physically make this order,” Briggs explained. Dallas Market Center then caught wind of her designs and pursued her to open a booth.

After a discussion with God, Briggs knew she needed to dedicate her time in her jewelry business instead of her dream job with Neimans.

Her sister iterated the words, “You could be a designer,” and that struck a chord with Briggs.

“And within two months I had celebrities on the red carpet," she recalled. "I got invited to the most prestigious wholesale trade show in New York —NOTANONYMOUS showroom.”

Briggs was still yet to sign with a wholesaler and already created a wall full of celebrities that showcased her handmade designs. Paris Hilton was the first to don a pair of metal earrings for a Frederick’s of Hollywood red carpet appearance.

"The guy that was styling her that night was my sister’s prom date from Lake Highlands High School in Dallas,” Briggs said as a side note.

The stylist had a dining room table full of accessories. He explained to Briggs that Hilton perused through the selection and was in immediate aw with the jewelry by Sarah Briggs. The photo of Hilton in the jewelry was featured in US Weekly, and before Briggs knew it, Jessica Biel, Oprah Winfrey, Jessica Simpson, Kellie Pickler and Eva Longoria all had worn her jewelry — and that's just to name a select few.

“I used to say the pinnacle of success in this career for me was if I could flip channels on TV and see it (her jewelry),” Briggs said. “That’s happened to me now.”

At one point, Briggs gazed at a news rack at the grocery store and saw five magazines with her jewelry featured — one front page displayed Madonna with Sarah Briggs jewelry beside her.

Since 2004, Briggs mastered her design once she ignored the desires of buyers and took more chances. She explained over the years the designs adapted more to her taste.

“I slowly gave myself more permission to be true to my vision and my style — the niche that I see. I see a very specific woman,” Briggs explained. “I see her being the newer woman in merchant fashion, like have hot yoga that morning [...] and then go be a girl boss at work and then she might run to Home Depot and do some heavy lifting. She shouldn’t have to change her jewelry for that.”

It is essential for Sarah Briggs jewelry to be functional, versatile and fabulous. It is the tiny details in life, nature, animals and architecture that inspire her vision. She explained her collections as down to Earth, reasonable, masculine, industrial and modern.

“I want to find a new way to construct things. I want to blow your mind with something new without over designing,” Briggs elaborated.

“Honestly the transitional moment was believing in myself a step further,” she stressed.

Briggs disclosed she struggled with finances back in 2015 when her family was in personal debt of $68,000. Briggs and her husband had an infant and a toddler at the time and lived by the gazelle method coined by Dave Ramsey in his book, “The Total Money Makeover." The Briggs family operated on a $100-a-month budget.

“In six months we got out of our personal debt,” Briggs said. “Freeing ourselves of that changed [everything]. You control your money, instead of your money controlling you.”

This experience gave her confidence to take risks in her business, knowing she could come back from a mistake.

In February, Briggs made the brave decision to transition her operations from her house in Waxahachie to a manufacturing studio along U.S. Highway 77 in Waxahachie. She went from five employees to 28 and upgraded into a 1,800-square foot shop. Briggs said every year the product and staff seem to double. Briggs currently ships out over 7,000 pieces of jewelry a month.

When asked if she ever dreamed of such quick success, Briggs immediately responded, “No.” She then took her answer back and explained that she has been a dreamer and an optimist her entire life.

She then shared before the success of Sarah Briggs jewelry she had 13 other attempted-businesses that flopped that involved mosaics, wedding cakes, painting and home furnishings.

Even when the industry dipped down, obstacles rose, and Briggs took those challenges as opportunities to learn and adapt. “Through this journey, I’ve learned it’s brick wall after brick wall and each time I’ve just gotten a bigger truck. It’s like bring it,” she expressed.

Briggs disclosed she is buying out the spot next to her that used to be a salon that used to be Hidden Beauty Salon. The space will display jewelry and will host parties inside and a sample sale twice a year. It will start out as an appointment only and will evolve to a storefront.

Currently, her product can be purchased locally at Multitudes, Gemini Moon and North Gate Salon.

“We are such fans of Waxahachie, and we have such pride not only being made in Texas, but Waxahachie and being a business that’s growing and our staff is from Ellis County,” Briggs boasted.

For more information on Sarah Briggs, log on to sarahbriggs.com or follow her on Instagram or Facebook.

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450