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Ringing In a Gender-Inclusive Engagement Season

Aide-mémoire Jewelry is a small business that creates handmade, eco-friendly jewelry.  Designer Aran Galligan, a queer female business owner, founded Aide-mémoire with a mission is to create future heirlooms in a socially and environmentally responsible way. 

Handmade Small Rustic Pendant with Bead-set Conflict Free Diamond

It started as a jewelry store in 2012 with a focus on rings using 100% recycled metal. Their goal was to reduce waste and make fine jewelry out of handmade reusable materials. This past July, they expanded their business by opening a new store in the Phinney neighborhood of Seattle. They now provide additional handmade goods from other makers like textile, ceramics, and printmaking.

“We’re really focused on highlighting BIPOC, LGBTQ, and woman makers as well as things that are more sustainable. Products that are either to reduce waste or made from recycled materials,” Galligan said.

An Inclusive Experience

The wedding industry is considered to have a heteronormative perspective. Aide-mémoire strives to create a comfortable environment for their customers. It can be stressful for someone in the LGBTQ to walk into a jewelry shop searching for a wedding/engagement ring. Making assumptions about you or your partner's gender and fearing that the salesperson won’t approve can make it much harder.

“We’re very mindful of what pronouns we use, how we talk to customers, and we never make assumptions about who they’re marrying,” Galligan said.

Aide-mémoire aims to be a no-pressure store in terms of sales and customer service. Buying an expensive piece of jewelry already can induce stress and fear. Aide-mémoire enjoys working with their customers to come up with different options for people with a tight budget.

Galligan enjoys supporting her community and turned to Business Impact NW for supporting their mission.

“I really value the focus of Business Impact Northwest on really working to support people in marginalized communities with their business and giving them sort of accessibility,” Galligan said.

Galligan went through the intensive eight-week Launch & Grow program with Business Impact NW. She said that the class was a beneficial experience for her.

“As I’ve had my business, I feel like there are a lot of gaps that I needed to fill over the years in regards to my knowledge of just running a business,” Galligan said. “The class was great. It helped fill in some of those blanks that I had and my knowledge of how to operate a business.” 

Getting Ready for The Holidays

The holidays are a time for people to be with family. The holidays are usually a time people tend to purchase engagement rings. Galligan considers the holidays to be ‘engagement ring season.’Double Sculpted Disc Diamond Dangle Earrings, Earrings - Aide-mémoire Jewelry

This is their first Christmas where they are going to be doing general gifts for their customers. Galligan and her two team members have been working on their plans for the holidays.

“I think my strategy mostly with the new store has been to try and tap in more to the local neighborhoods,” said Galligan. “We have such a tight-knit community that’s really very supportive of small businesses.”

Galligan said that the people in her community tend to want to shop at small businesses. She and her team are working to ensure they have enough materials. To create an uplifting and positive environment for shoppers, they plan to create window displays.

“I feel very thankful to have been able to create this business and provide jobs for other people and provide this environment and experience for people,” said Galligan.  Hear more from Galligan here.

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About the author

Crystal Barnes
Contract Blog Writer at Business Impact NW

Crystal Barnes is a senior at Western Washington University, majoring in Public Relations Journalism. She enjoys dogs, sketching, and being outdoors. Crystal is devoted to writing about people's passions and interest and hopes that her writing inspires others along the way as it does for her.

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