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Gail Ahlers, Ahlers Design

  • Parent Category: Member Spotlight
  • Published on Saturday, 05 February 2011 22:59
  • Written by Michelle Gonzalez
  • Hits: 813
Gail  is our March 2011 featured member for the Spotlight.
 
Gail Ahlers, founder of Ahlers’ Designs, is a creative force who joined Soul at Work in 2009. Participating in the Unconference in July of 2009, Gail shared her philosophy of “the sisterhood of prosperity” with the group. Gail’s vision includes women working together to build strong foundations, while sharing joy, ideas and growth.  These ideas and her participation have strengthened our organization as a whole.
 
At the Village, Gail not only designs and creates her work but also convenes other tenants to focus on growing the community in the building!. "I am hosting a chili cook off next month to bring more folks together from our building (in Pawtucket)," Gail recently informed me as she added“Pawtucket is the Soho of New England.”  This is certainly a twist for a precious metal artist and sculpture, but for Gail it is all about designing--be it metal or community or prosperity for all.
 
GailAhlers Cox Award
Sculpture and metal work are at the core of Ahlers Designs. Her extensive collection includes unique awards, creative everyday items, fine jewelry and specialty gifts. Working with materials ranging from 18K gold to reclaimed and recycled wood and metal, Gail breathes life into everything she creates.  
Ahlers Designs creates gifts and awards that motivate, commemorate and celebrate milestone moments and short term goals. They make things that are meaningful to your target clients, employees and your socially responsible charities. See here for more on her custom awards.
 
As a designer, Gail's specialty background is in precious metals and sculpture. She is more than a quality designer; she is a qualiAhlersDesignsty artist. She studied art history in Paris and sculpture at the San Miguel de Allende Institute in Mexico. In 2009, Ahlers Designs won the Digital Growth Contest, co-sponsored by Cox Business and Ladies Who Launch for her compelling essay on how advanced communications technology will give her business more global reach. Ahlers Designs product line includes awards, gifts, such as unique business card holders, magnets, jewelry, sculptures and more. See her jewelry designs here

The custom awards that Gail creates are unique and personalized recognition awards that add unique value to any industry, event or special occasion.  But this has been an evolution from fine jewelry to custom corporate gifts and events. " Our biggest challenge is designing of custom products that can compete with the standard items produced overseas," says Gail.  "One example of our success was when we created a clock for an insurance company's 75th anniversary. Originally the company asked for 500 pieces,but loved the clock so much that they increased the order to 3,000. The clock was so successful with their customers that the clients reordered 7,000 more the following year." 

A Rhode Island resident since the 1980’s, Gail is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design where her independent spirit and energy infiltrated the school. Getting her BFA in light metals in 1985. She held the office of President of the Foundry Artist Association and was the leader of the Rhode Island Alumnae Association for many years. Her education continued internationally in both Paris and Mexico where she focused on art history and sculpture. Gail recently received a scholarship for attending the Tuck-WBENC Executive Program, proving that one only benefits from opening your mind and embracing knowledge. 

What has kept Ahlers' Design in business for so long? 

"Ahlers Designs is always evolving. Because it is always changing it allows me to grow as an artist and a designer."

How do you keep yourself going?

"Simply I love what I do.  I rather work a 14 hour day doing something I love than wake up dreading the tasks ahead. I enjoy the interaction with my staff, my clients, my suppliers.  Bringing ideas into the 3rd dimension is a fascinating task."

What advice do you have for other women interested in starting, growing or evolving a business?

"Everyone is an expert at something but identifying what you don’t know is the key. Once you know what needs improvement find someone to help you. Ask for help.  Always keep learning.  It is about progress not perfection."

Gail Ahlers, a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, is a WBENC certified female minority business owner and an active member of in the small business community of Rhode Island. Her website is http://www.ahlersdesigns.com.

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