The Side Door’s Shields Richardson and Carolina Ozoria
If you were a jeweler, would you drive 2,000 miles to meet with someone who knew nothing about jewelry?
One thing about Shields Richardson, owner of the Side Door, is that any time spent with Shields always carries with it a certain degree of adventure and unpredictability.
Witness an event that occurred last week. While sharing a glass of wine at his establishment in the Village, Shields says offhandedly, “Oh, and I might have a few friends stopping by.”
He didn’t mention, of course, that these friends happened to be “dropping in” following a 1,000-mile drive from Colorado Springs.
Or that they’d driven approximately 4,000 miles in the past week.
Or that they were staying for 18 hours before they drove straight back to Colorado Springs for another appointment.
Shields’ friends were Bill Pearson, a retired business consultant turned ordained minister who runs a church in the Dominican Republic and Carolina Ozoria, 23, an aspiring jewelry maker and businesswoman.
Together, Pearson and Ozoria have been barnstorming the country over the past few weeks attempting to jumpstart Ozoria’s fledgling jewelry-making business.
Check out this ten-day itinerary: Omaha, St. Louis, Jackson, Miss., Baton Rouge, Dallas, Colorado Springs, Mammoth Lakes, Colorado Springs, Omaha and then home to the Dominican Republic.
Johnny Cash has nothing on these people.
Ozoria attended one of her region’s top design schools, Altos De Chavon, and began making jewelry last year. Her designs are colorful and fun (Lunch’s wife now owns two pieces) and generally priced between $25-35. See www.ozoriafashions.com.
As Pearson said, unemployment in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic (which shares an island with Haiti) is 25 percent.
“I want people to have jobs,” he said. “It’s hard to tell people about Jesus when they’re hungry.”
To that end, Carolina is a pilot economic development project unto herself. In just a year, she has already added four employees.
Which is a transition for a woman who has been hand-making her unique designs from the outset.
“I’m only now starting to make them in series,” she admits.
Carolina is from a professional family. Her father is a chemical engineer and her mother is a business administrator. She has three siblings, one of whom is a twin sister.
The big question, however, remained, why travel so far just to visit Shields?
“Because he knows people,” said Pearson.
“I’m Johnny Appleseed,” said Richardson enigmatically.
Appleseed then proceeded to take Ozoria’s inventory with the idea he’ll find people to sell it. Call 760.924.1002 if you’re a local who knows how to move jewelry.
Sheet: Carolina, did you know what you were getting into when you agreed to this roadtrip?
Sheet: I hope you like the same kind of music.
Ozoria: He loves country. I can listen to it for about thirty minutes, but not three hours.
Pearson (breaking in): We don’t listen to country all the time. I’ve got the Viennese Boys Choir.
Sheet: Which leaves her pining for country …
After a whirlwind 18-hour visit which included Ozoria’s first-ever time on skis, the duo left at noon because they had another meeting at the Broadmoor Hotel (a client) in Colorado Springs at 10 a.m. the next day.
May the young, ambitious entrepreneur meet with great success