Project description

Business Owners: Sandy Maggio & Ann Madden
Business: Smith & Lens, LLC
Location: Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi

The Gallery
Both Sandy and Ann share a passion for artwork and business. Sandy is an experienced silversmith with timeless handmade jewelry designs and Ann is a successful photographer with an eye of perfection. The artists crossed paths when they had their artwork showcased in the same shop. Once the owner of the shop decided to sell, Sandy and Ann did not hesitate to take advantage of this business opportunity. Using their own money, Sandy and Ann combined forces and purchased the prime location and quickly transformed the shop into an art gallery that now features local artist like themselves. This space has been very successful so far, featuring local artists as well as providing a space for art festivals and large events.

“We are an art gallery with monthly openings, but we are also an event space and idea factory where we try to lasso the energy from the community into actual happenings. This place is crawling with creatives who are up for ANYTHING and it’s awesome.”

Silversmith Sandy
Sandy’s original silversmith success stems from years of experience in the jewelry making business. Her one of a kind designs are detailed to perfection and all handmade. Each piece is made up of precious metals and/or fine gemstones that are uniquely suited for her customers. Each wax mold used in her metal creations are all hand carved from her. Sandy’s artwork has been showcased worldwide, having her own gallery allows her to network with other local artist and share the journey. “We really wanted to have a place, in our backyard, to show and sell our work. Plus it’s the most amazing little building that exists.”

Action Shot Ann
Ann’s photography is unlike anything else. She takes pride in separating her work from the rest of the industry by focusing on capturing the authenticity of the moment.  “When I’m photographing a family, or any subject. I don’t really do sea grass and prom pose. I capture people at play.”

Gallery Ups and Downs
One of the challenges they have had since they launched their gallery is being able to stay organized enough to open the gallery doors on time. The transformation from a shop into a producing gallery took a lot of hard work. They were limited on time but due to their dedication and cohesive team working skills they had a successful business launch at their location as well as establishing a social media presence. Ann shares the following, “It’s a roller coaster, so doubt is always immediately followed by good news, so far, at least. We haven’t really had any seriously hard times, yet. I think we are both really excited to see how Smith & Lens evolves. We have so many great ideas we would like to execute, plus, people are taking us seriously, which is totally reassuring. We are booked for exhibits for a year.”

Future Smith & Lens
With their rising success both owners are motivated to continue the growth. This power team advise those who are wanting to launch a business to stay original. Identify what separates you for the others in the industry and stick with it. Ann said, “We are determined to do this differently. We aren’t interested in stuffiness and wine & cheese, even though we love wine & cheese, we serve ours with a side of sass, spitshine and grit. We are not afraid to use bad language and get our hands dirty. And where our sign says “or by appointment”, we mean it! Call us! We will open just for you.”