Boyle woman's business is a jewel

October 11, 2004|JOHN T. DAVIS

Alycea Pittman had always wanted to have her own business before starting Simply Silver two years ago, and, so far, she hasn't been disappointed.

"It's just the idea that you are your own boss. You can make your own decisions," said Pittman, who lives in Boyle County and is a nurse at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center in her "day job."

Like its name, Pittman's business is "simple," but it works. She goes to a wholesale jewelry market, picks out the jewelry and handbags and then sells them through home parties, fund-raisers or by word of mouth.

"The big thing we stand for is quantity and variety," she said. "I try to buy only a few of each piece. Women don't want to see women coming down the street wearing the same piece of jewelry."


Pittman said her prices are reasonable because she doesn't have the overhead of a store.

"Everybody has champagne tastes and a beer pocketbook," she said.

Most sales are at home parties

Most of her sales take place at home parties. She's helped with the parties by her "partners": her mother, Celesta Lawson, and friends Connie Alston, Rita Zirnheld and Beverly Royalty. Pittman provides people who would like to host a party with invitations to send to their friends and relatives, and she and her partners come in and set up. The hostesses get 10 percent of the proceeds in jewelry.

There are no "song and dance" sales pitches or ordering from catalogs, Pittman said.

"People can shop and just wear it home."

Pittman also has organized parties to raise funds for Hospice, Relay for Life, Alzheimer's research and other causes.

"I really love helping and being involved with the fund-raisers," she said.

For fund-raisers, 20 percent of the proceeds in cash goes to the charity, she said, and there's little work involved for the organization.

"You just provide me a place and you invite everyone and you don't have to do any work," Pittman said.

In addition to parties and fund-raisers, Pittman gets numerous calls from people who are just looking for a birthday gift or a piece of jewelry that matches a particular dress.

Thinking about what others might like

One of the things Pittman has learned in the past two years is that she has to think about what items other people might like.

"I try to have a wide variety," she said. "Every piece that I might like would not suit everyone else's taste. It's challenging to think about what your clientele would like."

She said her husband, Michael Pittman, has been supportive of her business from the beginning.

"He didn't hesitate," she said. "He said, 'If you think you can do it, go for it.'"

She said the whole family pitches in when she returns from the jewelry market with new inventory. "All of it has to be priced and tagged," she said.

Pittman said she and her husband have one child in college and are helping another pay off college loans, so the profits from the business come in handy.

"It's fun. I make some extra money, but it doesn't really seem like an extra job."

Pittman may be reached at (859) 236-1707.

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