Westminster High graduate finds success in jewelry making

Anne Marie Nesbitt started making jewelry in 2005 while still a student at Westminster High School.

Now the 25-year-old is CEO of AMR Jewelry, operating three retail stores in the region and a wholesale business based in Hampstead.

Looking back on her progression from making her first pair of earrings at age 17, Nesbitt said this was the plan.

"From the beginning, I really wanted to make a national company," the Finksburg native said. "I'm not even near my goal. My goal is for stores all over."

Nesbitt's first store at 10 John Street in Westminster, which opened in 2011, was recently renovated and will celebrate its grand re-opening March 6-8.

That one-floor showroom evolved into a two-story showroom and has expanded again to offer parties and events for small groups and local organizations.

Nesbitt, a 2006 graduate of Westminster High School, said expanding the business within her hometown is the "obvious thing to do."

"I'm familiar with what people want in the area, what is missing in terms of the shopping in the region," she said.

A critical piece of the upcoming re-opening event is expanding fundraising opportunities for community groups, Nesbitt said.

By partnering with AMR, organizations could earn up to 35 percent of sales for a weeklong promotion or silent auction event.

"It's something that I've always really wanted to do, to create a fundraising program where we can assist any organization starting in Carroll County, and then we can branch out," she said.

Additional activities throughout the grand re-opening event include a ladies night out and jewelry-making events for children.

After the John Street location, Nesbitt opened a store in the Westminster Town Mall and a store in Cockeysville.

Nesbitt, who now lives in Towson, has owned her wholesale side of her business since 2009. She sells to more than 3,000 stores around the country and some internationally.

After graduating from Westminster, she attended Towson University. There, she continued to make jewelry in her dorm room between classes that she would later sell at festivals.

"It was never a hobby thing, it was just instantly I decided I'm going to figure out how to make this," she said.

Nesbitt no longer owns the first piece of earrings she made at 17, and the self-taught jewelry maker can't pinpoint exactly what inspired her to make jewelry.

In 2007, she opened a kiosk at Christmastime in the Town Mall of Westminster. After seeing how successful she was, she decided to drop out of college and pursue her jewelry business.

"I was making a full-time income and I knew this was what I wanted to do," she said.

She now has 15 employees, all part time.

Those employees don't simply mind the stores while open. They also make the jewelry.

"It's a great way to train an artist," Nesbitt said.

She added that it gives her employees instant gratification when their items are sold and ensures a huge ongoing style selection

For Lizzie Bowersox, an employee at the John Street location, being able to make jewelry is the "best part of the job."

"I love it when people buy something that I've made," she said. "It's really reassuring, it's a really good feeling."

Bowersox, who is currently studying at Carroll Community College to become an elementary school teacher, said working at AMR while still in school is a "dream job."

"I know this might sound odd for a 19-year-old to say, but I look forward to coming to work every day," she said.

While she loves the creativity of her work, Nesbitt said it's hard to point to one thing that she enjoys most about the profession.

"There's just something about it that keeps me interested 100 percent of the time," she said.

For information on AMR jewelry, go to http://www.amrjewelryboutique.com.

For information on the grand re-opening events, contact Victoria Rhoten at victoria@amrjewelryboutique.com.

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