Jewelry designer, mom and business woman extraordinaire, designer Heather Straw was selling about $1,000 a month in handmade jewelry when she attended a trade show in Las Vegas in 2005. In two days, she sold $43,000 and knew that her life was about to change.
“I was a young mom, I’d just lost my shop in downtown Bend, and I was terrified about the future,” she says. “I gave my boyfriend, now my husband, the stack of orders, and we started filling them in our home.” Nashelle Jewelry soon had five employees working in her living room.
In 2006, she leased an industrial-sized bay on Bend’s east side to house a showroom and work area. The business grew at warp speed, today encompassing six industrial bays and twenty to thirty employees, depending on the season. More than 400 boutiques worldwide carry the Nashelle and Nash (for men) lines.
Nashelle rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings are sculpted in metal and studded with semiprecious gem stones, reflecting the sparkling personality of their designer. In addition to many loyal customers, the trendy Nashelle line has been worn by many celebrities, including Sheryl Crow and Kourtney Kardashian, and has been featured in national magazines.
“It’s been a long, crazy ride that we’ve done by the seat of our pants,” says Straw, 35—now the mother of four young children, including two who often accompany her to work.
Passionate about her community, Straw dedicates a share of Nashelle’s profits to several nonprofits, including NeighborImpact, Feeding America and the Family Access Network.