Bella Gems Gives New Meaning to Retirement

Written by: Denise Sevier, Content Curator for Farmers Market Finds

Before Bella Gems

This story is very near and dear to my heart because it is about my mom, Marie.  From as far back as I can remember, my mom has been creating things. In the 70’s, she was a seamstress making clothes for my sister and me. If there was a school event or a party, Mom was ready with needle and thread to make our dresses (even when we didn’t want her to).  We longed for a day in the mall, to be able to pick out the latest and greatest styles that everyone else was wearing. As kids we didn’t understand the craftsmanship or the love that went into that handmade dress.

That's me rocking one of mom's homemade frocks  c. 1987

That’s me rocking one of mom’s homemade frocks c. 1987

Her creativity didn’t stop at sewing.  For every occasion, friends and family could count on Marie to make the centerpieces, or create the party favors. Even when she could afford to buy something, she still chose to make her own and instilled in me the value of handcrafted. If I mentioned I needed to buy a gift for someone, Mom would reply, “Why don’t you make them something.” Although retired, my mom has more energy than people 30 years younger. Lots of luck trying to keep up with her! Even after going through Breast Cancer this Fall, if we told her to “slow down a bit and relax”, she responds, ” This is slow.”

How to Combat Aging – Craft!

My dad, Peter is 84 and has neuropathy which reduces the feeling in his fingers, feet, and toes.  Mom encourages him to keep his fingers moving.   Understanding the value of this was the impetus for Marie to keep her own fingers moving. In no time Bella Gems, a custom jewelry business was born. Initially a hobby to create matching accessories for her own outfits, Marie couldn’t help but notice the accessories the fashion models in magazines were wearing. She was inspired her to create the same trend-setting looks. Marie became a gift giving machine of jewels!  Friends and family were the happy benefactors of her tireless effort!


My inspiration, my mom Marie and her Bella Gems

Marie the Entrepreneur

Mom’s meticulously maintained guest room began to fill up quickly with totes of necklaces, bracelets and let’s not forget the matching earrings!  This ‘hobby’ suddenly had an inventory, and so Marie decided to take her collections on the road.   Not what you typically expect a woman in her 80’s to be doing, regardless there was mom packing up the car at 6AM, headed to the Carolina Beach Farmers Market.  Side by side, with vendors half her age, Marie set up her tent and began decorating her tables with jewelry from Bella Gems . She was now even more inspired with boosts of confidence from all the other vendors and visitors. If someone even mentioned they were looking for something just a little different, mom went home and made it.


Marie and Pete, my mom and dad working the Bella Gems table at a local craft show.

Kicking Bella Gems Up A Notch

Like so many entrepreneurial crafters, Marie has kicked it up a notch and headed online launching her very own Etsy shop, Bella Gems Marie.   With the help of her granddaughter, she is learning new computer skills, sharing her crafts, accessorizing women around the world and giving a whole new meaning to the word “retired”.  Of course, Marie will still be a vendor at local markets in Wilmington, NC ; staying busy, meeting new people, and  being part of the business of the markets keeps her motivated!

A Daughter’s Dream

They say a mothers dream is to see her children grow to be happy and successful, but from a daughters point of view it is my dream to see that for my mother.

A Pledge from Farmers Market Finds

In honor of Marie, her entrepreneurial spirit, and her efforts to be an incredible role model for all of us, Farmers Market Finds will donate 10% of the proceeds from Bella Gems Marie  sales this holiday season to the Susan G Komen Fund.

5 responses to “Bella Gems Gives New Meaning to Retirement

  1. Wow what an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing Denise. Marie’s jewelry is gorgeous, I can’t wait to see the new items she has put on her etsy account. Perfect time for the holidays and maybe I’ll even indulge in something for myself! It’s very generous that farmer market finds is donating to the Susan G. Kohen Fund. A cause that is dear to many of our hearts.

  2. I read this and remembered the facebook post I had seen yesterday and still when I saw the picture I was thinking it was you. And then breast cancer and your 84 year old dad – say what? — and then I re-read the author. So crazy. Truly, I am losing my mind. How great Denise’s mom is doing this!

    Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!


  3. Pingback: Winner Winner Chicken Dinner | Farmers Market Finds·

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