Shannon's Jewelers of Hot Springs was started in September 2021 by Shannon Branstetter after she spent about 30 years in the industry.
"You have to find your passion and the things that you enjoy, and making people happy, designing jewelry, helping people find something for their special event or occasion, I get a lot of enjoyment out of that," Branstetter said.
"So, that's what I'm passionate about. I guess that's my why. And I do love it."
Starting out at 19, she worked part-time for a jewelry store in the mall and "knew nothing," she said. She later moved up in management for a larger corporation before returning to the small, independent jewelry store owner in Hot Springs.
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Originally from Atlanta, Branstetter attended three years of high school in Bismarck. She then moved back to Atlanta for her senior year, but ended up back in Hot Springs, working part-time in the jewelry store, she said.
In her 30-year career, she was transferred to Little Rock and then Atlanta before deciding to move back to Hot Springs, she said.
"I guess those years that, you know, I was here, I loved it," she said. "It wasn't anything that I ever thought that I wanted because it was a culture shock when I originally moved here. I loved it because you just have so much room to play and do, you know, and you don't have that in a big city."
Branstetter worked under the store owner in Hot Springs for about 15 years before he retired, which is when she decided to open her own jewelry store.
In her three decades of experience, Branstetter has acquired the skill of designing custom jewelry for her clients.
"A lot of times, people inherit jewelry that's been in the family a couple generations or even more," she said.
"It wouldn't necessarily be your taste or my taste anymore. It'd probably have a lot of wear to it and not really hold up for everyday use, so at that point in time, you need to look at redesigning it, resetting those stones into something that is more wearable or more to your taste."
Branstetter can even turn old stones into a new piece. It typically takes four to five weeks for a redesign, she said.
Although she only has a handful of employees, Branstetter tries her best to take all of the requests she's able to and get them done in a timely manner.
"I don't like telling people no, as far as 'Can you fix this?' or 'Can you help with this?'" she said. "I try and figure out a way to make it happen or make a compromise. ... Sometimes it has to be 'No.' Sometimes it should be. But I still search for a solution until I can figure out how to get them what they're looking for."
What's kept Branstetter in the industry for so long is not only her enjoyment in creating new beautiful pieces, but also in the reactions of her clients, which is one of the most rewarding parts of her job, she said.
"I love seeing the engagements," she said. "I mean, I love seeing the surprise on her face when these young men or any ages really, you know, when they have got the ring that they want and then they give it.
"I mean, any gift-giving occasion, all of it, when the recipient gets it. ... That's what it's all about because jewelry is not a necessity. It's not something we need every day. So when they're happy with what they have and excited, that's the rewarding part. That's why I do it."