Larissa Loden is a jewelry designer whose line is now sold in more than 800 stores nationwide including high profile names like Modcloth, WildFang and the Smithsonian Museum. And only four years ago, jewelry was a side hustle to her day job as an art teacher in the Minneapolis public schools.
Loden grew up in retail—her parents own a gift store in upstate New York and she knew didn’t want to go into the business. Making jewelry was simply a hobby in the quiet hours after teaching. But as the necklaces piled up, her entrepreneurial instinct kicked in and she began to sell—first on Etsy, then at pop-up markets, and when she went to her first trade show, the orders from gift stores and museum shops began pouring in.
Today, she manages a growing team of 9 full-time and 15 contract employees and balances the growing demands of a creative profession with the details of running a successful business. “The past two years I’ve really tried to level myself up,” Loden says. “Creating something from nothing keeps you on your toes, but I love the exhilaration of it.”
Loden talks about why she still sells at pop-up events, how she’s able to keep her average price below $50, and her decision to be a brand that stands for something–even at risk of alienating potential customers.
After our conversation with Loden, we go Back to the Classroom with the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business. Professor David Deeds, the Schulze Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship, talks about the transition from artist to entrepreneur. “You start off as the designer or the chef or whatever it is – the skill that gets it all started. But you eventually become a manager, so you have to build the skills.”
Editor-in-Chief of TCB
Jewelry Designer, Founder of Larissa Loden