5 things you didn’t know about JAKI COWANBy NIKKI ROWELL,
She moved so often growing up that she says she doesn’t really have a hometown. She calls herself a flea market junkie. She enjoys collecting vintage items. She is one of four children. She married her high school sweetheart. She finished school, moved to Mississippi, got married and took over a business all within five years.
As someone who has always flourished in a creative environment, Jaki Cowan has always had a desire to open her own business.
She was interested in fashion, particularly clothing.
“I feel like fashion can translate into so many things, whether it is accessories, jewelry, clothing,” Cowan said. “So, originally I was making patterns and studying fabrics and that was kind of the path that I was on.”
She took a chance and switched her focus to jewelry years later and now owns Sollberger Jewelry.
“Jewelry is the ultimate accessory,” Cowan said. “It’s something that elevates anything that you wear, from jeans and a T-shirt to a formal dress. What I love about this industry that adds another dynamic that others don’t is the sentimental and life events.”
“I love that we’re fortunate that we get to be a part of those moments in people’s lives,” she added.
From engagements to a new baby to anniversaries, Cowan said there is so much meaning and symbolism that jewelry can have.
Cowan has moved many times over the years. She has never lived in the same place for more than two years, up until she moved to North Carolina after high school to attend college at North Carolina State University.
At NC State she studied textiles and apparel management. She lived there for 10 years, which is the longest she has lived in one place.
“When my parents were living in Mississippi, I’d come home from school and work (at Sollberger) during holidays,” she said.
The store was previous owned by Jacque and Edith Sollberger.
“They’ve been family friends of mine since I was really little. We took family trips together,” Cowan said. “She joked that she wanted to retire and that I should take over. That went on for two years until I moved back, and my parents were here, and I moved back to basically take over the store.”
She first moved to California for eight months to attend Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Cowan officially took over Sollberger five years ago.
Jacque still helps out around the store, though Edith has retired.
“They’re like my European parents,” Cowan said.
Sollberger has been open for more than 30 years. It started out as a repair shop for watches and clocks. The store slowly added jewelry after Jacque met his wife, who was in jewelry.
“Then they joined forces under one roof,” Cowan said.
They moved the store out to Ridgeland 14 years ago.
Cowan said she typically goes to at least four or five jewelry shows each year to keep the store up to date on the latest trends and best the designers have to offer.
“Vegas is like our fashion week. You get to see everyone’s latest and greatest,” she said. “We’re not a heavily branded store. We focus on getting things that people can’t get everywhere else.”
Custom work is also a large part of the business as well.
They can take inherited pieces or other jewelry and modernize it using all the original gold or stones.
Cowan said they also build a lot of custom engagement rings.
They are also able to take on jewelry repair and appraisals.
“We repair it, we make it, we appraise it,” she said.