Brittany Matthews grew up with parents who owned a jewelry store — you could say that bling was her destiny. In high school, Matthews worked as a licensed nail technician with a strong interest in gold and diamonds. She began throwing jewelry parties and pop-ups before starting House of B Jewels, located in GlenVillage in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood.
In 2014, she created houseofbjewels.com to transition her jewelry business online and began contacting “influencers” to help promote her business. Matthews made jewelry for herself and her daughter, then posted pictures of them modeling their new pieces. This idea ended up being the golden parachute that took her business to the next level.
“An influencer in Atlanta contacted me and asked if I could make one for their son,” she says. “I said, ‘I most definitely can.’”
That changed everything.
Essence Lewis, owner of Style Bar Salon in Lyndhurst, also saw the post with Matthews and her daughter and contacted House of B Jewels.
“It was like a mommy-and-me thing, which I thought was so adorable,” Lewis says.
Matthews began featuring pop-ups in Lewis’s salon and was invited to the anniversary of the Style Bar to display her merchandise.
Matthews says that the Lord and Savior piece she created does well with women because it has a lot of stones. Also, sales were at least double as parents bought for themselves and one or more kids.
She built on this early success of the Lord and Savior piece by offering it in different sizes and materials. She also introduced the cross, which is called The Redeemer. At the time, she was on a journey of becoming more in touch with her spiritual side.
“I felt like that was God talking to me,” she says, “because I used to question myself, [and ask] what am I doing? Then every time I would showcase the pieces for sale, they would sell out.”
After getting advice at a trade show, she enrolled in the University of Akron’s art program for metalworking. In 2020, Matthews received certificates in diamond grading and diamond setting from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the leading source of knowledge, standards and education in gems and jewelry. This additional knowledge allowed Matthews to offer custom jewelry, now representing about 20% of sales.
Lawrence Green, the owner of LML Ohio Properties, used House of B Jewels to make jewelry using his business logo.
“Matthews walked me through the process, which includes selecting the type of gold, quality of diamond, size and how long it would take,” Green says. “The piece came out very nice, and it’s a conversation starter every time I wear it.”
Betty Davis and her husband have become loyal customers since becoming residents of Glenville CircleNorth a couple of years ago. They say they enjoy being able to go downstairs to shop and eat.
“Since moving in, I have purchased gifts for my daughter, daughter-in-law and myself,” Davis says. “Brittany has taken care of us for all of the holidays. My husband knows I love jewelry and has purchased me gifts for Christmas, my birthday and other special holidays.”
Matthews continues to rely on “the hustle” and resiliency her parents taught her to survive in the retail business. “If you get so many ‘noes,’” she says, “at some point, you are guaranteed to get a ‘yes.’”