From retail and restaurants to tech and media, contractors to coworking spaces, large, small, and everything in between, a diverse array of businesses call Alexandria home. In our blog series, Growing in Alexandria, we will sit down to talk with businesses around the City to learn more about who they are, what they do, and why they love it here. Have an idea for a business to talk to? Email us!
Spring is finally springing! We couldn’t be happier about that, and we couldn’t be more excited about our April company – Alx & Co., an independent workshop that creates and restores fine jewelry and sterling silver holloware here in Old Town Alexandria. We sat down with Co-founder and Owner, Meaghan Foran, to learn more about the business.
AEDP: Let’s start with you telling us a little about your business.
Meaghan: My husband Tim Shaheen and I own and operate an independent workshop here in Old Town that specializes in fine jewelry and silver design and restoration. Our workshop is on-site and our jewelers and silversmith are the best in the area. We are full service, meaning that we do everything from repairing jump rings to sourcing 4 carat diamonds for elaborate custom designed engagement rings, plus we are the only silver holloware restorers in the DC area (and one of few in the country). Really, if it’s made out of metal, we work with it. We are truly a mom and pop shop – Tim and I are married and have a two year old son, and we all live just a few blocks from our shop with our yellow labrador.
AEDP: What is the biggest challenge of running your own business?
Meaghan: I think for us, it’s that we are truly responsible for every aspect of what we do. Every single job that comes through our door requires an element of project management to it and because we work on such sentimental and truly valuable things, we know that our clients expect (and deserve) a white-glove service level. Since we’re small and do almost everything in-house, we have to balance this with the basic requirement of getting work done – sizing rings, ordering parts and metal, keeping up with cleaning and maintaining our building, doing appraisals, doing custom 3D CAD designs… all of that requires time and focus, which can be hard to accomplish when you’re also helping clients on a daily basis.
AEDP: What is the most rewarding aspect of running the business?
Meaghan: Our clients, for sure. Seeing someone’s face when you reveal their custom engagement ring for the first time, or their family heirloom that we carefully restored, or when our clients
come to us for their milestone gifts year after year… these are truly the moments that make our days so fulfilling. That, and the fact that Tim and I are doing this crazy thing together – it’s our business, no one else’s.
AEDP: How do you measure success?
Meaghan: Success for us is multifaceted. First, I want happy, loyal employees and I was happy, loyal clients. This means that our employees need to be well compensated, treated with respect, and able to grow, and our clients need to feel comfortable, respected, and like they have come to the experts. The last thing I want to hear about is that we’re pushy or “salesy”. On another level, Tim and I want to see our business succeed into yet another many decades of service and be able to continue to make a real living as an independent business. Fortunately, all of these facets are mutually dependent so when one does well, the others follow.
AEDP: What’s your favorite thing about Alexandria?
Meaghan: Tim and I liv e and work here in Alexandria and there are honestly so many reasons for this but I would say overall, it’s that our neighborhood (Old
Town) feels like a sophisticated small town but we have everything we could ever want from being in a big city as well. We walk everywhere, we love the small business community here, and we really appreciate that we have gotten to know our neighbors as clients and our clients as neighbors. It definitely feels like home.
To learn more about Alx & Co., visit their website or schedule an appointment to see them at their storefront: 121 South Royal Street.