ZEST

Honest Jewelers (Jewelry Business)

Honest Jewelers reflects what Savannah Bradford values and passions are within jewelry. Starting her business at age of 19, she went through hoops and struggles to make her business as successful as it is today. 

Honest Jewelers opened in April of 2021 doing pop up shows around King Street, Boone and launching an online website that highlights the beauty of the jewelry she sells. Savannah Bradford, business major with an entrepreneurship minor, manages her business with her father, Brandy Radford, while maintaining her school and full-time job.

“I’ve been obsessed with jewelry since I was a little kid,” Bradford said. Her father would buy her books about jewelry every Christmas which grew her passion and love for jewels. After gaining job experience at a local jewelry store, she later realizes that the shop itself was lying about their authenticity and targeting the top 5% which puts them at a financial disadvantage.

“If somebody loves a piece of jewelry, I want to absolutely do everything I can do to make it as attainable as I can,” Savannah said. She would try to drop the price as low as she can so the customer would leave the store, happy and in love with their purchase. 

“Don’t listen to her, she’s an imbecile” her boss tells her after helping a customer with their needs. She later put her two weeks in and decided to start her own company. “I’m in it for my customers,” she said.

Savannah buys from second hand stores to purchase her jewels for her store, fix and polish the stones to put it in the market. Color-changing sapphires are one of the current favorites with her customers, changing color when sun is reflected on it. 

“It’s so cool because you can wear it with different outfits,” she laughed. 

Religion being a big part of her life, she runs her business by the values she grew up on. Savannah explains she’s not in it to be “rich” but to give people their desires and needs within the jewelry business. Honest Jewelers reflect on how she runs her business, honest and passionate.

Educated Guess (Local Music Band)

This jazz-rock infused band brings a different sound to Boone, inspired from music such as ThunderCat and Vulfpeck, they play music that is outside the norm standards.

They met a little over a year ago but six months ago, Educated Guess started playing local shows around the Boone/Greensboro music scene. Alvin Carlise, Nick Williams, and Kendrick Davis played at the same church in down in 421, and had connected a vibe both socially and musically. The triple duo would come up with songs after the service. They all have their own influences such as Nate Smith, rhythmic doodling around but they really focus on sounds of that nature and bring it closer to modern jazz. 

Educated Guess wants to give a unique experience and that will stick afterwards with either locals or students. “What they haven’t heard before and really break out the norm of what they usually hear,” Carlise said. Educated Guess believes that Boone’s current music scene seems to be saturated in the same sound and being one of the first full-black music groups would enhance that sound a bit. They work around the negativity such as racism and try their best to not get discouraged from it. “It’s a great fanbase to have, it’s just grabbing those people,” Williams said about gaining music exposure to the people. “ When you have them, you have them,” as they said, evolving into the local music scene. The community and music scene is connected and it’s supported by a great deal of people. 

Davis explains that since the COVID pandemic hit, there have been different avenues to reach people without mentally exhausting them. They’ve been playing at local spots and house shows around the Boone area but plan to expand to other towns. Educated Guess is currently recording music for the first time in November and plan to release their EP around December or January.

Haus Of Liqueur (Drag Group)

   The drag scene in Boone expands throughout this small mountain town as more unique talent perform through Boone’s favorite spots like Lily’s and Howard Station. 

It started with two drag performers but as they performed more, they both realized they wanted more people to join in which ended up being an art collective of drag performers. 

“An active rebellion against social norms and gender expectations,” the group said. 

Drag group, Haus Of Liquor believed in liberation, gender satire, fem-gender performance to be something artistic. The drag group involves 8 performers; Margo Iskrzycki/Brandi Maxx, Christophe Satterfield/Missy V, Guppy/Rosebush, Jacob Kitchen/Marilynn Merlot, Donovan Yoshida/Bubbles, Hannah Little/Hank E. Pankee, Milo Kerner/Lil Tito, and Jo Husk/Jo Lean.

Being in a drag group in a small mountain town does have its challenges; the nuance of existence, predominantly white straight culture and competition. It’s difficult to branch out, expanding to one venue, inventing themselves in a small town with minimal exposure. There are also small places in Boone that are not safe enough, that limits their performance and isn’t as accepting as other venues. 

Outside of their challenges, they continue to get to know people which in this scene, have the ability to have connections. People coming to the shows, developing more connections, having that space to have that intimate connection with the audience is one of the many of the small town benefits to love. Haus of Liqueur performed with the Boone Barbs, which helped them pave the way for Lilys’ with incredible talent and allowed any performers to be open.

Howard Station Dynamite was the first show that the group organized this year, “venue was phenomenal, promotion, the little details, it was electric,” Kitchen said.

Attendees can expect to hear Lana Del Rey, Beyonce, Rico Nasty, Brinteny Spears at their performances. Their biggest inspiration ranges from alternative black women idols to pre-Madonna and Cher. The attendees can also expect the group making fun of gender norms, fake constructs of gender and toxic masculinity. 

“Always be yourself, if you believe it then everyone else will follow up with you,” Yoshida said about entering this culture. 

“Be the representation you want to see, be what you want to be seen.”