Though most of her customers know her as the "queen of clean," Dexter resident Melissa Duncan is adding jewelry artist to her resume with the opening of her new business, The Jewelry Box Boutique.
The business opened its doors on Feb. 1 located inside The Cleaning Goddesses, 7940 Ann Arbor St.
"It's the little white house next to ," Duncan joked.
The house is home to a successful team of women who spend their days cleaning apartments, houses, condos and businesses in the Ann Arbor area. In January, Duncan, along with her mother, Connie Bade transformed the main area of the house into a veritable show room for their handmade jewelry.
Duncan and Bade have been making jewelry together for more than 20 years — at first just to have something to wear — but then took their craft on the road, selling at local and statewide shows.
"I've been thinking of starting a jewelry business for years but I got so busy with my cleaning clients," Duncan said. "I decided that instead of traveling around to jewelry shows, this year I was going to take a leap of faith."
The Jewerly Box sells everything from handmade necklaces, fine jewerly pendants, gem stones, bracelets, purses and scarves, among others. The women also offer custom jewelry and jewelry repairs.
"We make about 50 percent of the items we sell," Duncan said. "Other items we purchase for customers who ask us for something special."
Duncan describes the business as an accessory store, offering something for women of all ages.
"We offer something for little girls and teenagers to upscale businesswomen looking for unique artistic jewelry; and we're right here in Dexter, so people don't have to drive to Ann Arbor," she said.
Despite using rare gems, sterling silver and gold, the ladies have also managed to keep their prices fairly competitive.
"Our items range from $3 up to several hundred dollars," Duncan said. "We know it's hard right now and people spend their money wisely, so we want to give our customers a good product for the price. We have some great deals in the $15-$20 price range. I'm impressed we can offer that."
The business is not planning a grand opening but has already sent flyers and mailers around town with customer discounts beginning this week. The business may also offer special promotions to coincide with activities and summer festivals in Dexter.
"I'm really excited that we're open," Duncan said. "It's a nice feeling when your little dreams start to come together."
She said as word-of-mouth spreads, she would like to offer special events or jewelry-making workshops for women.
"I want our business to be a place where women can come and hang out, socialize and shop," she said. "A lot of people are a little apprehensive walking into a house, but we want everyone to know that this is a local store and customers are welcome inside."
The boutique is open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 7 p.m.; 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays; and Sundays by appointment.
"The hours might change as we see a greater need," Duncan said. "Hopefully people will like what they see and will tell their friends to come visit."
For more information, call 734-424-9787.