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April 12, 2022

Hidden Gems: Pendleton Jewelry

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hen Michelle Pendleton opened her designer jewelry boutique, Pendleton Jewelry, in Kansas City in November of 2019, she set out to create a space that was comforting, casual and inviting. Cozy chairs face each other, and jewelry cases line the walls, eliminating the barriers between client and proprietor, and console tables give the space a modern vibe. When the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns happened, Michelle started getting a lot of appointment requests from people wanting to come in and meet one-on-one to really talk about what they were looking for. “I’d also have friends coming by saying, ‘I want to get out of my house, can I work from there?’,” Michelle explains. “It turned into a hang out spot. We’ve created a really fun, warm environment with fantastic energy and it’s just a great space to spend time in!”

In speaking to Michelle about her store and her city, the main sentiment I walked away with was one of gratitude. She’s grateful to be able to represent so many designers whose work she truly admires, she’s grateful to be a part of an industry she loves, and she’s grateful for her home-town community. She also holds a deeply seated belief in the power of jewelry to inspire, empower, or to simply make the moment. The world she’s created inside of her atelier, which is now officially open by appointment, is one of joy, appreciation, beauty and abundance. And it’s a world I can’t wait to immerse myself in the next time I’m in town!

"Those are the moments that make me the happiest and why I continue to do this every day."

COUTURE: What’s notable about your store? What’s your unique point-of-view?

Michelle Pendleton: I think we’ve created a more unique, personal experience. I understand that it can be intimidating to walk into a traditional jewelry store, with cases and cases of product and you don’t know if you’re going to be pushed into something that you don’t have much education about. I feel that, so I can’t imagine what it feels like for people who aren’t in our industry. So, I try to think about myself as a client walking into the store, and I wanted to create a space that’s personalized, casual, that you can come in with a friend or a group of friends and feel comfortable. When you come in, we’re sitting down, having a coffee, getting to know each other. I want to know about your lifestyle, your kids, your work, your successes, and instead of asking “what’s bringing you in?”, creating a relationship. Once I get to know my clients, instead of overwhelming them with product, we can tailor things that are unique to their needs.

COUTURE: What COUTURE designers or brands are your clients really responding to lately and why?

MP: Brent Neale is the biggest hit on the website and the designer I get the most inquiries about; she’s a fantastic storyteller and the bold colors have resonated with so many people. After a rough couple of years, the joy she brings into all of her pieces has impacted everyone on a personal level.

 

I’ve had a great amount of traction with Jane Taylor. The bright colors have been something people have been drawn to. Every time I show someone they say, “I never thought I’d wear so much color,” but in Jane’s pieces, they’re pleasantly surprised with how wearing bold colors makes them feel.

Heather Moore. I can’t say enough about Heather B. Moore! We go way back! I actually worked for her for a long time. Years ago, when I was right out of college, I approached her out of the blue and asked for a job and she said “sure!” and gave me a chance. Heather is such an amazing person, she’s never said a bad word about anyone, she’s so genuine, she has the best energy, and she’s a terrific storyteller. A huge amount of my clients have small children so it’s so fun getting them into the line with something that is personalized that they’ll still love wearing when their kids are older. When you’re spending a certain amount of money you can get whatever you want, but to have something that truly holds much more value than the materials has been gaining more and more attention, especially during the pandemic when everyone wants to feel heard and seen and loved; there’s a way you can do that through this jewelry. Those are the moments that make me the happiest and why I continue to do this every day. Being able to connect with people and help them feel celebrated is what drives us to continue past the hard days.

Almasika, which is another one of For Future Reference brands [Brent Neale is also an FFR brand] has been incredibly well-received. (As an aside, can I tell you that working with FFR is like winning the lottery? Everything they put out is an immediate obsession of mine and I am honored—honored—to work with them!) People are immediately attracted to Almasika’s soft lines, and the smooth lovely curves of her classic medallions and her diamond pieces. Each one of her pieces carries so much symbolism and meaning, like the Harmony collection that was launched at COUTURE last year. I felt there was so much divide and longing in the world, and it made me think about how beautiful the intention inherent in her creative process is. All of the talismans rooted in concepts of African feminism has resonated with my self-purchase clients. When someone looks at Almasika’s work and gets really quiet, I can tell that her work is speaking to them.

COUTURE: Where’s the best spot in town to grab a quick lunch?

MP: Cafeteria in Prairie Village has been our go-to for a quick lunch quite often, they have a little bit of everything; you can do grab and go and they have a great space for working as well with healthy options like bowls, but also pizza. It’s become one of our favorites!

COUTURE: Where’s the best restaurant for entertaining clients or out of town guests?

MP: Kansas City has an extremely fantastic food scene, to even have to name a couple is gut-wrenching! There are always new ones popping up, I seem to constantly ask myself “How are there three new restaurants already?!” But if I have to narrow it down to a few of our go-tos I’ll say Café Provence, it’s traditional French, and it’s especially great in the winter; they have an outdoor patio with heat lamps so no matter the season you can always sit outside, it transports you to a different place. Novel is a fantastic restaurant located downtown in the Crossroads that is always changing their menu. It’s consistently fun, it’s warm and cozy, it’s casual but upscale and great for business or just getting together.

Then there’s a place called Jarocho, which is Mexican Japanese fusion, with sashimi and ceviche. It has vinyl booths, plastic tables and paper napkins, but they bring in fresh fish daily so you can go in and order three or four different types of ceviche and it’s delicious. They also have a great tequila list. We also love the Brookside Sushi shop close to our house. The original is one of our favorites, it got our kids to try more adventurous food.

COUTURE: What’s your favorite bar? (High/low options preferred)

MP: The Restaurant at 1900 is a great place for an elevated cocktail experience. They have great small plates, their bar in general is beautifully done with a great mosaic tile design and while it’s not huge, they have a nice size, great drink list. They have low and high tops or you can sit at the bar, and you’ll always see someone that you love, you just know you’re going to run into somebody you enjoy when you’re there.

I have a soft spot for dive bars because I met my husband at a dive bar, and I think if you love dive bars, everyone loves this local place called the Peanut that has no windows and an iron door, and I don’t even think there’s a sign on the door, but it’s a great spot to hang out. There’s another place in West Bottoms called The Ship that is also divey but night divey, and it always has live music, whether it’s spinning or a band; it’s a perfect place to get a tall PBR in a can!

COUTURE: What’s your favorite local cultural spot (i.e. museum, gallery, theater)

MP: That’s another long list and really tough to narrow down, KC has such a fantastic history. So the museum that has to be visited when you’re here, whether you’re an art lover or not, is the Nelson Atkins. The architecture of the building is stunning, it has a fantastic curation, and they host beautiful events as well. It’s free so you can go in and grab a coffee at the café and walk around and get lost. You’ll want to take out your ear buds, turn off the phone and be taken in by beauty; it can be a meditative experience in itself. 18th and Vine District is the historic jazz district and highlights KC’s deep jazz roots. It is also the home of the Negro Leagues Baseball Hall of Fame. It’s worth parking and walking around down there and admiring the buildings and being immersed in the history of the town. The World War I Museum here is world-renowned, again it’s a beautiful architectural space, and an incredible curation of history, it’s gotten a tremendous amount of attention.

 

Another really special spot is Union Station, which is a functioning train station, and they have traveling exhibits, they have Science City, it’s a fantastic hands-on kids experience. During Christmas they have a massive tree and huge decorations. You can let kids just run around, which I used to do before any of my kids were in school, and they have cafes and restaurants and a streetcar if you wanted to go to River Market.

COUTURE: What’s special about your town?

MP: Being smack dab in the middle of the country, people have preconceived notions so they’re usually pleasantly surprised when they visit. KC does such a fantastic job in a lot of respects. Moving the football stadium downtown established such a great energy, and there are so many unique pockets, which is hard to find in a city of this size. I’ve lived here 8 years and every day I find something new, like the Kansas City Museum they turned into fantastic Art Deco style to pay homage to KC architecture, or The Greenhouse, which is a female empowerment mediation space; things pop up all the time. I’ve truly found a home here and it’s been fantastic!

 

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