Jacqueline Carter Houston is a young “fabpreneur” making her mark in the jewelry business. Her business, A-1 Jewelry and Accessories, sets the bar for jewelry as the slogan of her business suggests by providing quality merchandise at fantastic prices. She also has an organizing business, The Gift of Organizing.
We caught up with her to chat about her jewelry business, check out our interview below.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Are you originally from Mississippi?
Jacqueline Carter Houston: I am.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: What part?
Houston: I’m originally from northeast Mississippi, from a place called Prairie, like “The Little House on the Prairie.” It’s the midpoint between Starkville and Tupelo. I moved to Jackson in 1999.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: As far as your industry, how did you get your start in the jewelry business?
Houston: OK, A-1 Jewelry and Accessories was actually an idea of my husband’s. We started two years ago. He knows that I always like to shop for jewelry and I ball on a budget. And so I was always buying jewelry every week and so one day he said, “Have you ever thought about having a jewelry business?” I was like, “No, not really because it’s not something that I particularly want to do.” Then, he said, “Well I think you would do great because you’re always color coordinating and you’re always accessorizing. People always ask for your input on how to accessorize and so you should do a jewelry business.” And so I said, “Well hey, you wanna do it? We’ll do it.” So we created our own business, A-1 Jewelry and Accessories. We started on a part time basis. My husband would help me do trade shows and different events like at conferences and conventions and then I started doing parties for people. If you host a party, then you get free jewelry. And, so, that’s basically it for the jewelry other than the fact that I just love jewelry.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: What’s your take on success in Mississippi as far as the jewelry business?
Houston: Success in Mississippi… There are a lot of jewelry competitors because I think every time I pin an event at the Convention Center or at The Marriott, I always notice a new jewelry business. I think however, our jewelry business can continue to be successful because we offer quality merchandise at affordable prices. I always tell people they can look like a superstar on a super low budget.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: What does being a Mississippian mean to you?
Houston: Being a Mississippian means to me being hospitable, being caring, being able to accept people for who they are, and being culturally diverse. It means that we tend to strive more in order to succeed because of the negative stipulations that people have put on the state of Mississippi saying that “we’re always gonna be first in everything bad and last in everything good.”
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: What’s your favorite piece of jewelry in your store and why?
Houston: Ok, I don’t necessarily have a favorite piece. I always tell people all of my pieces are my favorite because they’re all “fantabulous pieces at fantastic prices.” However, if I had to choose one particular piece, I would choose what we call a flexible chain and it’s because it’s expendable. You can wear it as a necklace, you can wear it as a bracelet, you can wear it as a choker, and you can also wear it as a belt and I like it because it’s versatile and it’s very unique.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Houston: In the jewelry business as well as in any business, I always tell people to make sure that you’re passionate about whatever it is that you decide to pursue and to make sure that you understand that you may have to dedicate twice the amount of effort if you’re going to own a jewelry business as well as any other business. You just have to work harder as and when you’re an accessory store and to make sure that when you’re selecting jewelry pieces, you always try to select something that’s trendy as well as unique because you don’t want people to view your jewelry and not be able to distinguish that they’re wearing A-1 Jewelry Accessories versus wearing jewelry from any jewelry store.
Make sure to “like” A-1 Jewelry & Accessories on Facebook by clicking here. Jacque also has another business, A Gift Of Organizing.
This interview was a part of our annual Mississippi Month feature. Like what you read? Share it using the hashtag #JSMississippiMonth!