The 2022 Discover Basalt magazine features several of the family-owned and operated businesses that make Basalt special. Below is the full version of one of these “It’s A Family Affair” profiles.
Sarah Graham Metalsmithing is a jewelry business run by Sarah Graham and her husband Michael, specializing in high end unique designs crafted in 18K gold and oxidized cobalt chrome, with diamonds and gemstones. The style is a mix of Old World workmanship and the latest technology, resulting in statement making jewelry.
Photo by Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times.
What is Sarah Graham Metalsmithing’s success story?
Sarah: I started training to be a goldsmith in 1993. My husband Michael and I started our goldsmithing business in 2000. At first, I made all the jewelry and Michael, a trained wood craftsman, built the jewelry shop. As business picked up, I trained him to help with the jewelry and by 2005 he was managing all our production. Eventually I transitioned into handling sales, marketing and traveling, while he managed and trained our growing staff of goldsmiths. We then brought on Michael’s sister, who served as our business manager for more than ten years. Michael’s mom has even baked cookies for clients during the holidays!
What is it like running a family-owned business?
The dedication and passion an owner brings to a business can’t be matched, so having two of us with that commitment has been a big part of our success, especially during lean times. We have always been careful not to overlap duties. Michael is happy to let me be the face of the business, and brings so much integrity to his work that we have managed to avoid conflict for the most part!
Why did you choose to do business here?
“It’s the best move we ever made!” We came here about seven years ago from San Francisco, for the same reason most people migrate to the valley. We love to ski, and we love the amazing weather and gorgeous landscape! Doing business in a big city is expensive and stressful, and coming here has been so healthy for our business and our family. We have an 11 year old son, and we have found parenting to be a breeze compared with the challenges of raising children in San Francisco.
What do you love most about Basalt?
We live just across the river from our shop, so if I had to choose one favorite thing about working in Basalt, it would be the commute. I pinch myself when I walk to work and enjoy the beauty, and express my gratitude each time I forget something and have to only walk another five minutes to get it! My son has free rein in town, so often stops by for a few dollars on his way to get pizza and friends stop by to sit and visit as we enjoy the Fryingpan River. It is all so easy. And having such a short commute means I have plenty of time to ride my bike along the Rio Grande trail.
What is the impact of “supporting local” to you and your business?
Locals are great for the health of our business, and the community it builds is fantastic for the health of our family – I feel so cared for and seen. The other day my son had a bike crash outside Tad’s pharmacy (Basalt Clinic Pharmacy), and he was immediately looked after by my downtown neighbors. I’ve never belonged to such a strong community.