JERSEY SHORE - For perhaps many people, selling products they design and create would be a dream come true.
For Martina Guerra it's a reality.
She's the owner and operator of Martina Guerra Goldsmith, 1102 Allegheny St.
Martina Guerra works on jewelry at her Jersey Shore business.
"I like working with my hands," she said. "I always have."
Guerra sells rings, pendants, earrings, bracelets and other jewelry - all of it designed by her.
Oil candles and Bulova watches are some of her other items.
1102 Allegheny St.,
Tues. to Thur. - 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fri. - 9:30 to 7 p.m.
Sat. - 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Closed Sun., Mon.
"Earrings seem to sell faster than anything," she said.
Much of her business is walk-in, but she also ships merchandise.
She's happy with the business, located next door to J&M Sub Shop, owned by her husband Brian.
She likes having family close by.
A customer is likely to find her infant son, Lincoln, on the premises.
"That's one of the biggest advantages of owning my own business, bringing him to work with me," she said.
Guerra's mother, Barb Paulhamus, is around to help her with the business.
"I've been here five years," she said. "Jersey Shore is a good place to be."
Guerra became interested in making jewelry at Kutztown University, where she picked up a bachelor's degree in fine arts with a concentration in fine metals.
While a college student, she found out it was what she wanted to do.
She later went to the Gemological Institute of America in New York City.
Guerra worked for a jeweler before opening her business.
She usually devotes one day a week to designing her jewelry out of a room of her store.
She works with gold, silver and occasionally platinum.
"I started a new technique called precious metals in clay. That has opened me up to new designs and ideas," she said.
The holiday season brings a lot of business to her shop with people buying jewelry as gifts.
"This is the slow time of year right now," she said.
She laughed that while most of her customers are women, the men seem to come around to buy for Christmas and Valentine's Day.
The Marcellus Shale gas industry, she said, has not hurt her business as she gets her share of gas workers patronizing her store.
The slow economy has not really affected the business.
"Every year has been better than the previous year," she said.
She feels her prices are very competitive.
Guerra spends up to 10 percent of her sales revenues on advertising, much of it on billboard ads.
"I get a lot of business through work of mouth," she said.