At Judith Bright’s newest location inside The Factory at Franklin, familiar designs are on display against a modern backdrop of white walls, concrete floors and sky-high ceilings. “It is light, airy and full of natural light,” Judith Bright says proudly of the newly opened space. Known for her artisan jewelry that combines hand-selected metals and gemstones, the jewelry designer and store owner developed a local following through her brick-and-mortar establishment in Nashville’s 12South neighborhood before expanding south to Franklin. The beauty of her designs lies in their approachability.
“With more than 40 gemstones and three metals (14Kt gold-filled, rose gold-filled and sterling silver), we are giving people as much as possible to choose from,” says the designer. “I don’t design for seasonality. I create something new when an idea comes to me. We design with price in mind so that someone 14 years old can purchase something nice for themselves.” For Judith, creating heirloom-quality pieces at an approachable price point was necessary.
As the mother of three children, Judith had past careers in nursing, film and TV production and music publishing. All the while, her love of jewelry design was nagging in the background. Judith and her family spent a year in Florence, Italy, where she received private instruction at Le Arti Orafe School of Jewelry silversmithing and wax carving. At age 40, having discovered a gap in the industry for jewelry with quality craftsmanship at an accessible price point, Judith started her namesake jewelry business.
She opened the doors to her first store in The Mall at Green Hills in 2010, and she relocated to a house-turned-store in 12South in 2014. Although this was not the company’s first location, nor its last, the 12South retail showroom and open studio allowed shoppers to interact with the handcrafted pieces. “I thought I would open the space as a studio and sell my jewelry online, but it became an incredible place for foot traffic, which was a huge and amazing surprise,” she says of the overnight growth in the neighborhood. She still marvels at the mass of new shopping and dining options in the neighborhood, which increased foot traffic to her store.
Opening a second Nashville-area location was a decision driven by the customers and came on the heels of closing her 8-year-old Atlanta store. The Franklin location is closer for those who live in Franklin, Brentwood, Spring Hill and Columbia, but the parking is also plentiful, and the location is easy for all-weather shopping. These perks attract even Nashville shoppers looking to avoid the weekend traffic in 12South. “The Factory is so cool and fun,” she says of the new location. “It is really neat that it holds Franklin Juice Co., Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and Five Daughters Bakery because it makes it feel like home. We don’t have to give up the neighbors we love in 12South when moving to Franklin.”
If you are familiar with the Nashville location, you’ll be surprised to see that the Franklin space is bigger and more open. Jewelry makers are out in the open, so you can watch and engage with them, and the extra space has come in handy as Judith Bright and her team continue to navigate the pandemic. Currently, only six shoppers are allowed in the store at one time.
Although the current situation has brought obvious challenges, Judith is thankful for innovative opportunities to connect with her customers. Before the store opened and while the Nashville shop was still closed, the Judith Bright team spoke with the customers more than even through FaceTime, chat and emails (options that are still available). One of the most uplifting aspects of the increase in online sales was the gift notes. “We handwrite each note for online gifts, and we have been amazed at how positive and uplifting the messages are,” explains Judith. “We are connecting with customers in new and different ways, so we feel closer to them. Our team has gotten so much closer, too, because of it.”
When asked why her brand has become so successful, Judith points to the team she has built and the authenticity and genuine nature of the girls representing the brand. “Everyone who works for Judith Bright loves people and sincerely loves to help. It is our customer care that has helped us create a lasting name.”
Judith Bright’s Franklin store is located at The Factory at Franklin 230 Franklin Rd. #11F Franklin, TN 37064. Store hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. Find more information here. You can also visit Judith Bright in 12 South at 2307 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204.
This article is sponsored by Judith Bright. All photos provided by Judith Bright.