I retired in the fall of 2012 after 25 years as owner/operator of DONALEE DESIGNS LLC. My distinctive, unusual and precise designs were sought out by local and regional customers who visited my studio/store in Bayfield WI, as well as customers who purchased them in high quality stores around the country. Each piece was handmade in the studio with stones ranging from local basalt to specialty diamonds, set in sterling silver or high carat gold.
Much of my reward came from helping and teaching my employees to build their skills in jewelry making, business management, marketing and customer service. World class service was as much a hallmark of the studio as creative design. My entrepreneurial spirit, marketing skills and optimism propelled the growth of the business. Many of my employees/apprentices have gone on to create their own businesses.
The jewelry business was preceded by a successful corporate career, managing sales territories for a clothing/sock manufacturer in Pennsylvania. Successfully navigating the changes and opportunities in the 70s, I became the first female buyer in the home division at Dayton’s department store. My first job was at Sears & Roebuck in Minneapolis at age 14! I love to work!!
“I’ve reinvented myself a couple of times, as many women my age have, and it’s been fun to have so many interesting jobs along the way”.
Now, I’m experiencing art in a much more personal way, by exploring, and learning new techniques. It’s so exciting to add intentional content to my abstract artwork. Surface design is fascinating because, it’s like starting from scratch..... I think I’m in control.. but I know I’m not. In the two years I’ve been sewing, dyeing and printing with fabric I've learned lots about myself as well as the medium. It’s not always been an easy transition from jewelry to fabric but I’m sure enjoying the process. The camaraderie in this community is remarkable and very welcome.