When Emma Jane Hunt was working in a boutique 16 years ago, she realized that girls were buying outfits with minimal options for accessories.
Having made jewelry for the past six years, she decided to start her own business making affordable, quality pieces. She kept it on the side while she finished high school and college, but in January of 2013, she started Emma Jane Designs full time.
Hunt, the creative director and owner of Emma Jane Designs, has since grown her business to reach 50 boutiques across the country.
At the beginning of May, Emma Jane Designs moved from Hunt's home all the way downtown, placing her closer to the boutiques she sells her pieces to.
Hunt said it is her priority to make sure her customers are happy with each piece they receive. Emma Jane Designs uses 14 karat gold filled to ensure that the jewelry does not rub off or break.
Each piece of jewelry is made locally in her office space, located at 337 East Magnolia Ave, and comes with a handwritten note.
"We've had our eyes and hands on every piece that ships out," Hunt said. "[The notes] are just something we do to make each customer feel truly appreciated."
Hunt currently works full time with the help of two part-time staff members and offers customers time to browse her products from 12-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday.
Hunt said her jewelry is meant to be great quality without the huge price tag. The problem she noticed in her boutique days was that jewelry was either cheap quality or priced too high for the good quality pieces.
"If someone is spending close to $100 on an outfit, they don't want to spend another $50 on jewelry," Hunt said. "And I knew because I was using these materials that there was a middle ground."
Hunt has big plans for her business. In the fall, her current office space will expand into the downstairs unit, adding a new showroom.
With the expansion of the showroom, she also plans to expand her Brand Representative Program, which will have more brand reps selling her products at trunk shows.
Hunt believes she can continue to grow without outsourcing and continue making her jewelry locally in Alabama.
"I love being in a small town, and I love being in a college town," Hunt said. "Auburn is so diverse that it doesn't even feel so small."