Erin Flynn Fine Jewelry was an idea that started creeping in over 20 years ago as a side business. A familiar story to many women, it was a passion project that came after Flynn’s work and family. And when she took on a demanding new job in finance, practicality won out over passion.
Then, after a decade of mergers and acquisitions and in his 40s, Flynn had to divorce two young dependent boys. At the same time, she felt drawn to her old passion for jewelry making. Late at night, when her boys were sleeping and she should also be resting, hours passed as she sketched new patterns.
She realized it was time to flip the narrative: she would choose passion over practicality. It was time to make jewelry full time.
“I really missed that creative outing, and I wanted to redesign my life from the ground up,” Flynn says. “There comes a time in life when you don’t want to do things anymore just because that’s what you did. And I wanted to show my kids that it’s important to follow dreams and seek out the things that feel right to them. Life is not just about chasing money, status or career.
She left M&A and eventually launched Erin Flynn Jewelry. But success didn’t come at a fairytale pace, and she didn’t expect it. She applied for a job in the sales room at Tiffany’s to learn all she could about the art and business of fine jewelry.
“My idea was that if I do this, I want to be one of the best designers in the industry,” Flynn says. “I always have a very long-term approach to things. I want to do things well. So she spent a year meeting customers, learning how and why they buy. And she loved it. His biggest lessons from the sales floor?
“Don’t make assumptions about people,” Flynn says. “If you talk sincerely to people instead of trying to sell, it’s never taken badly and it feels good. When it becomes transactional, it breaks down.
She also spent that year flipping through magazines, getting inspiration, and working on sketches. She took classes to learn CAD and started creating 3D designs, having them printed in plastic to see them scaled.
Some aspects of the business came naturally, she says. “I’m from Tucson, where one of the biggest gem shows is held every year. I’ve been going there for 20 years, so it was easier to get the right contacts.
Then in 2021 she finally launched Erin Flynn Fine Jewelry with three collections as well as an instantly popular custom design option, a favorite among clients with heirloom jewelry they would love to reinvent. Personalization is one of his favorite design challenges.
“Heirloom pieces are rarely in the style you’d like, so they just sit in your drawer or safe and don’t wear out,” Flynn says. “I believe jewelry should be worn, even if it’s fancy. If it just sits in your safe and you wear it once a year or once every five years, it doesn’t really bring you much joy.
Some customers come knowing how they would like the piece reworked. For others, she will send a variety of models to choose from. “If people have no idea what they want, that’s fine,” Flynn says.
When it came to her collection, her goal was to reinvent traditional designs in unexpected ways. One standout piece is the Champagne Bubbles necklace, a favorite of Flynn’s because, like his life path, it overturns traditional assumptions.
“Usually the diamonds in a necklace hang down. But I like the idea of the diamonds rising, which is why they call it champagne bubbles,” says Flynn.
Her Happy Life gemstone ring was inspired by the shift to working from home during the pandemic, she explains. “Rings are one of the only pieces of jewelry you can see yourself all the time, without a mirror.” Small stones sprinkle each side of a large gemstone, representing three phases of life: the learning phase of childhood, adulthood and the pursuit of dreams, and the final part of life when we give back and maybe help others. All stones are customizable.
The Megawatt ring is a customer favorite for its unique alternating clusters of pavé diamonds with marquis diamonds
Her boys are now 12 and 9, and she couldn’t be happier with her decision to ditch the finances and pursue her dream of starting a fine jewelry business.
“I like involving the boys,” Flynn says. “I feel like that’s what I’m supposed to do. It’s been a long journey, but I haven’t looked back.