SCORE Mentors: George Stern & Allen Weaks.
Athena Ways-Jamison visited with Detroit SCORE mentor, George Stern, in late March 2016.
With over 20 years of experience in merchandising, traveling abroad and living in New York City buying accessories for Kenneth Cole stores, she returned to Detroit and was looking to market semi-precious stones from Shanghai. While she had bought better jewelry for many years, she only had sales experience in established stores.
They discussed finding suppliers in Rio, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Thailand and many other areas. They discussed holding shows for invited guests, having displays at fashion shows and annual meetings. They also discussed the need for investment in inventory. At the time, Athena seemed overwhelmed.
George on the other hand knew a woman who had been in this business for a dozen or so years and offered Athena a chance to talk with her. Athena agreed instantly. George called the woman in Florida where she spent her winters and asked her to talk with Athena. She agreed too. They did talk and, starting in May, they met several times. Propitiously for both of them, the woman in Florida was thinking of retiring but had not considered how she could sell her inventory at a reasonable price.
George met with Athena in late May. She told him that his contact had an inventory of nearly $100,000 which was far above the amount of units she could amass. He suggested she consider taking the inventory on consignment with a pre-arranged amount that she would render to the owner upon sale. She should also ask that the owner to help her with an initial show or two, give Athena her customer list and her list of suppliers overseas. Not only did the owner agree to all these conditions but offered to accompany Athena to Asia to meet the suppliers.
Among many events for exposure, Athena had her first display at the Walk Fashion Show in Detroit at the Eastern Market in May 2016, her first panel to discuss Fear, Heels and Capital in June 2016. As well as participation with a cause for the Sisters Hope Pretty n' Pink breast cancer luncheon and fashion show in October 2016. She is thrilled to be in business and, of course, is thrilled with the help she received from SCORE.