Mother, daughter make time, jewelry
February 05. 2013 4:31PM
An excuse five years ago to spend more time with each other evolved into a money-making hobby for a mother and daughter combo – and a revenue supply for a not-commonly known support organization.
Growing up in Dell Rapids, Maren Fischer and her mother Deb Henriksen’s relationship was always on solid ground and the two truly enjoyed each other’s company.
As she grew, going to college and eventually marrying and having children, Fischer said they found it ever more difficult to find time for each other.
“We were looking for a project to do together, and needed an outlet,” said Fischer, a 1998 graduate of Dell Rapids High School. “We weren’t having any time for just the two of us.”
The duo discussed various themes and past times, and finally settled on custom jewelry making. Using beads, stones and pearls, they began impressing their friends with their creations.
Now – five years later – Fischer and Henriksen have established D & M Designs, designing and manufacturing more than a thousand necklaces and bracelets. D & M Designs products are sold at shops like Memories On Main and Jabberwock, online and at craft fairs.
Having achieved their goal of spending more time with each other, Henriksen said she and her daughter – both educators by day – have grown to take a lot of pride in the craft that brought them even closer.
“Our biggest thing is to make the jewelry well,” Henriksen said. “We really are kind of finicky.”
They also credit their ability to create custom jewelry as a big part of their success.
Special events like weddings, proms and other ceremonies are a bit of a specialty for D & M Designs, Fischer said. Often time, Henriksen or Fischer will view a dress or piece of clothing before drawing up a spec for the customer.
“It’s high quality, custom-made jewelry,” Fischer said.
Although they have an extensive inventory for display sales in stores and at craft fairs, Henriksen still finds herself trying to give the customer exactly what they’re looking for.
“Sometimes (my mother) will be sitting in the back of the booth putting one together,” Fischer said.
Last year, Fischer gave birth to her third child, Harper. Harper was diagnosed with laryngomalacia, a condition brought on by soft, immature cartilage of the upper larynx. The upper larynx collapses inward during inhalation and causes blockage in the airway.
“She would turn blue,” Henriksen said of her granddaughter.
At three months, Harper had a surgery to help with the troubles she was having with feeding and breathing, as well as the blue spells.
When the family had nothing but questions, the organization Coping with Laryngomalacia supported the family through education, Fischer said.
Feeling fortunate for the direction offered during the families trying times, Henriksen and Fischer brained stormed about returning the support.
“Because this organization is so good, I really wanted to do something for them,” Fischer said.
Now, D & M Design’s Jewelry has dedicated a portion of its proceeds from pearl sales to the organization through when purchases are made through their Facebook page Harper’s Pearls.
“If this goes well, hopefully we can start to do this for other organizations,” Fischer said.