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Rhythm Jewellery: Small business with global appeal

Being an online business allows Tasha Sattler to have clients in other countries.

SASKATOON — Rhythm Jewellery has only been in operation for about five years, but founder and goldsmith Tasha Sattler has been working in the jewelry-making industry longer than that. Her love affair with the art of making trinkets and accessories began when she was in high school, working part time in a jewelry store in North Battleford.

Sattler said she’s always been artistic and creative and that helped her a lot when she further studied the art of jewellery making.

“After graduating [high school], I moved to Saskatoon and went to Asia for a couple of years. After that, I went to Montana and took schooling for goldsmithing. So, I’m trained in goldsmithing and I have a certificate in CAD,” Sattler told SASKTODAY.

She finished with a degree in goldsmithing and 3D jewellery design at the Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, Mont.. After finishing her studies, she came back to Saskatoon and worked for about 10 years in the city and then started Rhythm Jewellery.

With the help of her friends in the local dance community, she created pieces that reflect their lifestyle.

“I still do all kinds of custom-made jewelries, like engagement rings and lots of diamonds, and also gold jewellery repairs. I started the company a few years ago, because I had several friends who are professional dancers. They said there’s nothing on the market that represented their lifestyle,” said Sattler.

“My career has mostly been client based. A client will come to me, and I’ll take their vision and my vision, and kind of put them together or they come to me with a vision and it's my job to kind of execute it for them. Most of what I've done, I don't necessarily just make what I want to make. All the pieces that are on the website for dance, those are all my pieces that I've designed.”

She added that she wants to make sure all of her dance-inspired pieces are accurate.

“All dance-inspired pieces get reviewed by dancers before I make them. There’s this ballerina that’s jumping, so I had ballet dancers look at the piece first. To see how the leg is pointed and if the back needs to be straighter. It is very technical, especially with ballet.”

“I started Rhythm Jewellery to kind of fill that gap in the market. We have our own line of jewellery on the website and then I also do custom for the dance studios or dance groups. Most of them are already carrying clothing merchandise with their logo, so I just offered them a piece of jewellery based on their logo or their studio family.”

Her biggest collaboration was with Las Vegas-based Naploeon and Tabitha D’umo, considered to be the dance industry’s power couple, for the Evolution collection. The pieces were inspired by the two decades long dance careers of the husband-and-wife team. The D’umo’s are more commonly known in the dance community as Nappytabs.

Napoleon and Tabitha are known choreographers, and had separate dancing careers before their partnership began in 1996. As a couple, they have won two EMMY Awards (2011 and 2014) and become creative directors in numerous concerts, tours and shows for artists like Madonna, Beyonce, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Paula Abdul, Ariana Grande and Pit Bull. They also choreographed Jennifer Lopez and Shakira’s Super Bowl LIV halftime show last year.

Sattler also creates pieces for the seasons like spring, where she collaborated with her mom and textile artist Rita St. Amant, and pieces for the summer. But her collaboration with the D’umo couple was, by far, her biggest project that took a lot of time and meeting before launching it last Nov. 12.

Specific market

She said that the pieces she designs are not only for kids in the dance community.

“Most of what's out there for dancers is designed for little girls. But there's this whole group of people who are professional dancers, they're either teaching dance or they're involved in the dance world on a professional level. And there's really not much available for them.”

And that group of professionals in the dance community are the inspiration of some of her designs.

“So, when they perform, they'll be wearing something totally different. They usually have to match bigger pieces that are kind of more costume and sparkly, so they show up under the stage lights,” said Sattler.

“That’s where our jewellery fills in the gap, especially when they're not dancing. It's something that represents who they are and their lifestyle. So, everything we have is sterling silver or gold — yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold — pieces. We do mostly sterling silver and 10 karat gold because it’s stronger. But I also worked with platinum and I’ve almost everything in the past.”

Sattler added she also makes custom pieces that are designed by her clients.

“They come to me with a budget and a photo. Like, this is the kind of what they want for an engagement ring and these kinds of pieces are done one at a time. But the dance pieces, we’re doing it in multiples and that’s all online.”

She said that she’s just doing the pieces on her own but also has other goldsmiths come and help her whenever she needs an extra pair of hands.

Changing times

The COVID-19 pandemic had been hard for all small businesses, but Sattler said her sales remained consistent.

“It was really interesting to see how all the different businesses pivoted and change their business models. I find that really inspiring to watch what everybody else was doing. Custom area sales remained consistent all the way through,” said Sattler.

“Maybe, people might have had more time on their hands. So, last year maybe went through their jewellery boxes and find a bunch of pieces that they are not anymore wearing or something that they don’t like, have it melted it down and make it into something new. I saw a big upswing in that.

"Last year I felt like my remotes, we call them, so people go through their jewellery boxes, find a whole bunch of pieces that they're not wearing or something they don't like. We melt it down and make it into something new. So, I did I saw a big upswing in that [market].”

However, her sales of dance pieces slowed down during the height of the pandemic.

“Because the dance community in general was completely decimated that year. They can't perform, since it’s a group activity. The dance studios in particular, you have a lot who pulled their kids out because they were worried about COVID," said Sattler.

“There were a lot of dance studios that struggled. I worked with studios all across Canada and particularly in provinces where the [COVID health] rules kept changing. I think it was really difficult for the dance community and it was really difficult for a lot of people. Especially when shows were cancelled and got shut down.”

Having an online business is also an advantage for Sattler where she can cater to clients even in other countries.

“I can mail wherever, and I've mailed pieces all over the world. Most of the dancers that I work with are in Canada, but we're slowly starting to move into the states. We’re just doing everything online. Everybody is still trying to figure their way through this pandemic.”