Tucked away in the mountains of northern Maryland lies a hidden gem not visible to the naked eye.
A combination of fine attention to detail and a deep appreciation of outer space has Yugen Tribe of Emmitsburg creating intricate keepsakes and jewelry for people around the world.
While the company’s reach has expanded to nearly every country on the planet, the business originally started on the shoulders of one woman, Lauren Beacham. “It started almost eleven years ago,” she said. “I was working as a gallery director in Frederick. I started making jewelry out of my own photographs, and it just started getting more and more popular. Eventually, I was able to quit my job and do it full time.”
Beacham’s artistic background paired beautifully with her scientific interests, building the foundation for her business to become what it is today. “I started designing jewelry about outer space, which was very niche, and I had no idea how it was going to go, but it really took off.”
Yugen Tribe’s variety of space-inspired jewelry has been featured in magazines, catalogs, and science-dedicated websites, catapulting its popularity into the stratosphere. “We started getting attention from very big catalogs, museums, companies, internet phenomenon, and it totally took off.”
With the ever-growing influx of business opportunities and demand of production, Beacham decided to branch out. She put the fourteen-hour workdays behind her, bringing in fellow science enthusiast Brittany Elbourn to help balance the vast needs of the business.
“It’s a combination of production, design, marketing, and customer service,” explained Beacham. “It’s just us two and we do everything.”
Between handling personal items for customers and the nearly six-month-long production boom for the holidays, the women of Yugen Tribe continue to find time to design new and interesting pieces for jewelry lovers everywhere.
In addition to the space-themed necklaces and bracelets, Yugen Tribe has worked on a line of heirloom pieces that provide special memories for their customers.
“We take customer photographs and put them into our jewelry, which tends to be more on the vintage side of things,” Beacham said. “We also do memorial stuff. A really popular seller is a bouquet charm. If a bride’s father passed away, she’ll send us his photograph; we’ll set it into this brooch (shown above), which she can attach to her bouquet, so he can still walk her down the aisle.”
The personal touch of these items seems to be the catalyst for the Tribe’s online success. The stories from customers behind personalized pieces give meaning to the work Yugen Tribe does. This builds a relationship that would normally be lost through a large corporation. “They share personal stories about who these people were to them,” Elbourn said. “It makes you feel connected to people.”
Despite all of the personal success for the duo, there has always been a major focus on giving back to the community and growing businesses. “One of the other things I really like doing is supporting other small businesses, especially women-owned businesses,” Beacham said. Yugen Tribe gives back quarterly, donating money to various organizations, including The Planetary Society, The Nature Conservancy, and The National Humane Society.
Developing a new business and taking the plunge to put all efforts into a new business can be a daunting task. For Beacham, her skill set gave her a unique talent that turned her ideas and creativity into a profession. Space-inspired jewelry is a hard market to crack, but fortunately, she has learned quite a bit along the way.
“It could turn out to be a total failure or it could be really amazing,” said Beacham. “But it turns out, the world is a whole lot nerdier than we thought.”
For more information about Yugen Tribe, please call 240-415-8137 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured is Lauren Beachman, Yugen Tribe creater and owner.
A bouquet charm, one of the many unique keepsakes and jewelry designed and created at Yugen Tribe.
Photos Courtesy of Yugen Tribe