Morgan starts own business as designer

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 17, 2005

Lana Morgan demonstrated her art as she described the tiny details required in making jewelry.

Wire cutters with noses ranging from chain to round to flat lie among silk and gold-plated thread on her work table. Chunky beads in nature’s brightest colors and shimmering Austrian crystals wait with abalone shells, opals, tiger eyes and rose quartz to be fashioned into one-of-a-kind pieces.

&uot;This is called ocean jasper,&uot; she said, opening a small bag to reveal the stones. &uot;It looks like under-water ocean coral and comes in different colors.&uot; She showed agates harvested from the earth and shells from the sea.

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&uot;And these are seed beads, glass and very small. I use them for fillers,&uot; she said. &uot;I use a lot of silver as connectors and clasps and will begin to use more gold because it’s coming back in.&uot;

Morgan took a small pin, inserted it into a bead, folded the pin down with tiny pliers and wrapped it. She showed how the finishing touch at the clasp can make a difference in a piece of jewelry.

A nurse practitioner who had risen through the ranks to hold an important position at Natchez Regional Medical Center, Morgan bowed out after 21 years in medical work. She may return to it someday, but for now she finds the jewelry not only satisfying her creativity but also giving her an opportunity to learn about the business world.

She sells her jewelry in selected shows and in some retail outlets. Her next big plan for sales is through a Web site. &uot;Right now, some of my jewelry is available at Katie’s Ladies,&uot; she said. &uot;I do have a domain name,, but the Web site is not ready.&uot;

Necklaces, bracelets and earrings are her specialty. Each piece is unique except in cases in which the customer orders several pieces alike to give as gifts, such as bridesmaid gifts, she said.

She enjoys filling special orders, such as a request for jewelry to match a customer’s certain outfit. She works with two Natchez women who sell the Juliana line of women’s fashions from their home, matching jewelry to the fabrics offered during those seasonal shows.

Morgan started her business simply buying and reselling jewelry, an idea she got after visiting the big merchandising mart in Chicago. &uot;I still do a little bit of that, but most people want my jewelry now.&uot;

When Morgan began to sell jewelry she had purchased, she began to think about making her own. She bought books, took a few classes and plunged into the project. &uot;I’ve always been creative, and I’ve always liked colors,&uot; she said.

She began to dabble about five years ago. The nursing she loved so dearly became more stressful as she worked long hours and tried to set aside enough time to be with her husband, Dr. Mal Morgan, who was diagnosed with a serious illness about that time. &uot;He needed me more. And so we said, ‘let’s go home and see if we can make a go of it.’&uot;

Today, she is a one-person business. But she sees an opportunity for growth, especially once a Web site is on line. &uot;I do think about this,&uot; she said. &uot;If I get too many orders, I’ll have to have help, and that would be a good thing.&uot;

The jewelry sells in the range of $25 to $300, &uot;depending on what the stones are and how complicated they are to make and what other materials are used,&uot; she said.

She loves everything she makes and at first found it hard to sell anything. &uot;If I don’t like it, I usually take it apart and remake it,&uot; she said. &uot;When I first started, I almost created one for me and one to sell. Then it got easier to let them go. But I think I do like to know who has my jewelry.&uot;

She thinks about designs all the time, Morgan said. &uot;When I go walking, I design jewelry in my head. Nature, especially in springtime, is an inspiration.&uot;

Meantime, she is learning about business. &uot;I’m learning marketing. And I’ve made goals for myself. And I actually have met my goals for the first quarter,&uot; she said.

Future goals include learning more complex creative skills. She has purchased a kiln to learn to use precious metal clay. &uot;It’s like modeling clay,&uot; she said. &uot;You can make pendants out of it, beads out of it and set stones into it.&uot;

After that, she wants to learn the art of the silver smith, she said. Her jewelry is a hobby turned into a business. As she becomes more experienced and expands her knowledge, she expects continued fulfillment. And it suits her well, Morgan said.