When the world shut down in the spring of 2020 due to COVID-19, I, like so many others in the world, found myself laid off from my job. I have worked in the hospitality industry since 2001, mostly in leadership roles in hotels and restaurants in Duluth, MN, and as we now know, they were hit especially hard by the pandemic. So, for the first time since I was 15 years old, I didn’t have a job! Knowing that I would eventually find my way back to my hospitality career, I took the forced pause to fulfill a creative dream of mine.
I struggled through the last decade unable to wear earrings because I had developed a Nickel allergy. I’ve now learned that an allergy to Nickel is fairly common, but at the time I was so frustrated watching women wear beautiful, unique earrings. That is what started me on my journey initially. I began playing around with different ear hooks and metals to find out what didn’t bother my ears. Once I found a hypoallergenic option, the real fun began! I started playing around, making different designs and wearing them. Friends complimented me on my earrings and after they found out that I made them, they would ask me to make them a pair. When demand increased I decided I better create a business. Lake Superior Scandinavian was born!
The name comes from my deep love and connection to Lake Superior. I grew up in Duluth, MN on the shores of the Big Lake. I have Norwegian and Swedish heritage, so that is where the Scandinavian comes in. The Lake Superior Scandinavian tagline is, “Handmade on the Unsalted Sea,” I deeply admire the clean lines of Nordic design, so all of my jewelry has a minimalist and modern look.
I designed this website in May of 2020 and started selling in my online store. I was having great success, but the real turning point was when I started participating in the artisan “pop-up” markets. Duluth’s Bailey Builds and Duluth Studio Market were so supportive of me and my little company. They were already successful and had big followings. I am forever grateful for their generosity to open their spaces to local artists and makers to sell their goods and gain exposure. Talk about a selfless way to pay it forward!
Life took another turn in the fall of 2021 and my family and I moved to Bayfield, WI. Bayfield is a cute and quaint little town on the south shore of Lake Superior. I grew up coming to Bayfield as a kid on my parent’s Lake Superior Boat. I fell in love with the sweet town. If you haven’t visited, I recommend you do! It’s magical in the summer and fall and straight out of a Hallmark Christmas movie in the winter season.
The move presented an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. I’ve just celebrated a major milestone and opened my own brick and mortar store in downtown Bayfield, WI! The Lake Superior Scandinavian gallery officially opened on May 6, 2022 at 204 Rittenhouse Ave in Bayfield, WI. It’s a small space, perfect for me to showcase my minimalist designs. A unique part of my business model is that all of my designs are $39! I want all my creations to be accessible to everyone. We all deserve to feel beautiful and confident!
Another huge benefit of owning my own business is the flexibility it provides for my family. I’m able to spend more time with my partner Mike and our 8-year-old son, Sam. I’m more present, less stressed and overall so much happier and healthier! The high demand of my 20+ year hospitality career took a toll on me, and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to be an entrepreneur and business owner. Now looking back, I think I manifested this beautiful life and I will never take a day for granted.