Longtime Market icon Charity McGruder loves her customers… and the feeling is mutual

“You can see it on their faces,” she says — “they love my jewelry!” Once they buy it, they wear it. Then their friends see it and Charity earns 10 new customers who want some of her creations to call their own. It’s a business plan that seems to work.

Charity first learned the art of making jewelry from her mother while growing up in Kenya. The family later moved to Namibia, where Charity set up a store. One day her future husband Charles McGruder, a professor of physics and astronomy at Western Kentucky University, set foot in Charity’s store and “he fell in love with me.” That’s how she ended up in Nashville, and this is her 12th year at the Nashville Farmers’ Market. Today you can find her occupying two booth spaces in Farm Shed 2.

Charity says she needs four days at home for every three at the Market weekly. Four days at home might sound leisurely until she explains that they’re used for production. But “making jewelry makes me relax,” she says. “It’s healing for me.”

Her daughter, who is now 15, convinced her to try a schedule of three months of clothing production followed by three months of jewelry. The current jewelry phase runs through October.

Years ago her daughter also inspired Charity to try sewing when she made her mother a beautiful bag. “I just couldn’t believe she’d made it on her own. I ended up going to sewing classes to see how it’s done.

“My calendar has taught me how to control myself,” she explains, and how to say “no” — because if you want to place a clothing order during jewelry time… you’re probably out of luck.

Today much of Charity’s home is taken up by her sewing room (she owns six sewing machines) and jewelry workshop. Lucky for us, she’s doing lots of “relaxing” right now as she follows her jewelry production calendar.

-Nashville Farmers Market-

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