You’d be hard-pressed to find anything permanent in Kerri Jarrett’s house. All her children’s toys are packed in plastic boxes, ready to be put in the car at a moment's notice. Items around her house are either transportable or disposable, nothing is made to last.
For this storm chaser-turned-jeweler, life will always be on the road.
“We decided to make drastic changes, and said, 'Hey, we want to do something (where ) we still get to travel and be with our family,’ ” said Jarrett, co-owner of the Hail Craftsmen and Sentimental Gems.
Kerri and her husband, Karl, were both bitten by the wanderlust bug in 2012. The duo quit their full- time jobs after getting tired of working long hours in high-stress careers.
Kerri left hairdressing, while Karl said goodbye to a career as a full-time chef.
Instead, the married couple decided to start a hail damage repair business and chase storms across Canada. Following phone apps and weather reports online, they travelled to places that had recently been targeted by the balls of ice, offering repair services for dented vehicles.
“We have travelled quite far, as far as P.E.I. and Kelowna. I love travelling Canada,” Kerri said.
As to why they chose hail damage repair, Kerri explained that the two had always been fascinated with storms. Long before starting the business, the couple would regularly drive out to thunderstorms and watch at a distance.
But for the hail craftswoman, repair work was only the beginning.
A diamond in the roughAs Kerri explores her memory, she can’t remember a time when she wasn’t making jewelry. As her fingers deftly warp silver wire, she strings a delicate small gem onto the end.
“Jewelry-making and embroidery have been in my family my whole life, but I never thought you could make a career out of it,” she said.
Her crafting abilities became a profitable business soon after the two hit the road with their hail repair business. As they stopped into small towns, she noticed some places had mining for unique gems, while stores sold interesting stones.
Having an affinity for crafting jewelry, Kerri started collecting gems and stringing them into beautiful creations.
With a degree in marketing, she had a steady following on social media and a stream of online orders for some of her work.
“When people find out about the stories on how the gems were harvested or found, they’re drawn to it even more,” she said. “Making jewelry and hail damage repair really go hand in hand.”
Now the jeweler sells her products both online and in select stores throughout the country. In St. Albert customers can see some of her higher-end pieces at Confections Cake Co. on Perron Street.
The best part of being on the road with the two businesses has been the time she’s been able to spend with her children.
That has also been a highlight for Karl.
“It’s been amazing; it’s nice to have the kids around,” he said.
One of the challenges of being a travelling family is finding steady education for their children. But in the mind of Karl, experiential learning is an important part of education.
“The kids get to go to new places and learn about new things.”