She has a talent for design and business acumen too.
Like the beautiful pieces of jewelry she designs, Carroll Dorsey Walker is the total package. Creative, artistic, and with business sense to boot, Carroll is the founder and designer of Bejewel by Carroll Dorsey Walker, a jewelry and accessory line created right here in the heart of Alamo Heights.
Married to Robert since 1996, she and her husband and their son, Dorsey, are longtime Heights residents. Born and raised in Alamo Heights, Robert is the owner and operator of Rufus A. Walker & Co., a construction supply company, and Dorsey is a student at Alamo Heights High School.
For the Walker family, there’s no place they would rather call home than Alamo Heights. “We love living in Alamo Heights,” Carroll says. “I love the trees, the friendly people and the old neighborhoods. Our house is 113 years old, and it really lends itself to creativity.” And for Carroll, exploring the realms of her creativity is what life is all about.
Carroll’s dream began in 1997 when she took her first jewelry making class. “I have always loved beautiful things, and I had a lot of artistic visions that I wanted to explore,” she recalls. “I created my first piece of jewelry in the spare bedroom of my home, and it was an amazing experience. From there, I went nuts! I could hardly sleep. I would get up in the middle of the night and sketch or work until 5 in the morning. After that, everything just sort of snowballed.”
Her rise to the top of the jewelry design chain, however, was no accident. With a degree in marketing management from Southwest Texas State University, Carroll used her business acumen to launch Bejewel by Carroll Dorsey Walker into the finest local shops in San Antonio and beyond. Julian Gold was one of the first boutiques to carry Bejewel, and it quickly became one of their highest-selling jewelry lines. From there, Carroll opened showrooms in Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta. By 2007, she was servicing over 400 boutiques nationwide as well as several overseas accounts. Her beautiful creations have been featured in InStyle, Reader’s Digest and Marie Claire magazines and worn by celebrities on the red carpet as well as by many television personalities.
In 2008, following the nationwide economic downturn and with her son entering junior high, Carroll scaled her business back, closing the majority of her East Coast accounts to concentrate on her showrooms in New York and Dallas and to be more available to her son. “With over 16 years in the industry, I’ve experienced many types of economic cycles, good and bad, and you really have to go with the flow,” she says. Today, Bejewel by Carroll Dorsey Walker can be found locally at Julian Gold, Adelante Boutique at the Pearl, and by private appointment at her home studio. “Regionally, my jewelry can be found in 50 to 100 boutiques across the country,” she says. “But with the economy recovering and Dorsey driving, I’m ready to cycle back up to where I was in 2007.”
For Carroll, it’s all about the craft and making her customers happy. “I have always loved working with natural gemstones and the process of creating beautiful statement pieces,” she says. “I love beautiful ‘earth-made’ pieces that can easily fit into most budgets. A woman shouldn’t have to be wealthy to have choices about style and beauty.” Recently, she has expanded her line to include embellished evening handbags, and she has a loyal following for her soy-scented candles and custom bath products.
The success of Carroll’s business has allowed her to be a strong philanthropist and leader within the Alamo Heights community, a duty she accepts with aplomb. She donates generously to numerous local charity events, including the Witte Game Dinner, Alamo Heights School Foundation, Mission Roads Ministries and Le Brunch des Chapeaux benefiting autism, where this spring she will provide the Top Topper Award. Along with serving on a number of local boards, Carroll currently serves as chairman of the Alamo chapter of the Young Men’s Service League, a mother/son volunteer organization. “Dorsey and I do a lot of volunteer work together for charities, including the Wounded Warrior Project, the San Antonio Food Bank and Haven for Hope, to name a few,” she explains.
Recently nominated for a 2014 Entrepreneurial Spirit Award presented by the National Association of Women Business Owners, Carroll is a finalist for the Innovator Award. Her sponsor, Darrell Hamlin, founder and owner of Civic Monkey, describes her in this way: “Carroll has the artistic talent to design and construct products of extraordinary beauty, the operating skills to manage the enterprise, and the visionary gifts to see where market trends and customer satisfactions merge on the commercial horizon.”
With her creative juices flowing, and business on the upswing, Carroll is ready for the next challenge. “Currently, I’m making anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 pieces per year, but I’m really looking to expand and grow the business,” she states. “I’m thinking of opening another boutique close by. I’ve got my eye out for the perfect spot.” With Carroll’s eye for beauty, there’s no doubt she’ll find it … right here in Alamo Heights!