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by Maureen Wallenfang

Appleton — Good things come in small packages.

That saying can apply both to jewelry boxes and to jewelry businesses.

Susan G. Allen, owner and designer of her self-named jewelry manufacturing company and boutique in Appleton, has kept her small business small to keep a good work/home balance. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t growing in interesting ways.

Allen has made a strong connection with bridal salons in three large Macy’s stores in the Midwest, and she recently opened the Gemstone Vault, a new do-it-yourself jewelry-making workroom inside her Appleton boutique.

“I’m controlling growth to a point. There have been things put in front of me that I chose not to grab,” she said. “I have my family.”

Allen was a stay-at-home mom who started her own business in 2002. She was profiled in the Inc Innovator pages in 2006.

As a mom of two young daughters, she limits her travel and excessive calls for her time. Her most prominent venture outside her own boutique had been taking a Fox River Mall kiosk for the past five Christmas seasons. Her company’s peak volume, in 2007, was $130,000. That amount was down about 20 percent in 2008 as the recession clamped down on most retail businesses, including hers.

But small is just fine for this bubbly, energetic woman who says she likes the way her business is evolving.

Read complete article.

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