A Maryville jewelry designer is one of five contestants who are competing in Jewelry Television’s new reality series, set to debut today.
Alicia Herzbrun, 26, put her jewelry-making talents to the test in JTV’s “Rock Star Designer,” the first reality show broadcast on a home-shopping network.
“There’s a lot of excitement within the organization; it’s fun to see it come to life,” said Jill Johnson, vice president of marketing for JTV. “It’s so different, yet a perfect complement to what we do.”
The show originally was intended to be a reality series on the company’s YouTube channel, but executives felt strongly enough about its potential that they decided to block out airtime typically dedicated to selling fine jewelry and loose gemstones.
The first of eight episodes will premiere at 7:30 p.m. on the JTV cable network. Each week, five contestants will go head-to-head in jewelry design competitions. One contestant will be eliminated after each challenge.
A bonus episode on the company’s website shows the Top 10 contestants getting narrowed down to five by the judges.
Johnson acknowledged that in the world of home shopping “every minute counts.”
“We don’t sell advertising like the networks do,” she said. “We look at it as an opportunity as an engagement tool to grow and keep viewership.”
In March, JTV put out a national call for jewelry designers to participate. It received about 100 submissions, who were voted on by the public.
The Top 10 were selected and reviewed by a team of JTV executives, jewelry buyers and marketing professionals, who then narrowed the field to five finalists.
The five contestants — who hail from Tennessee, Delaware, Missouri, Texas and South Carolina — traveled to JTV’s corporate headquarters in Knoxville.
The winner, which will be revealed on the Sept. 25 episode, will receive a $5,000 cash prize and the opportunity to design and sell a jewelry collection for JTV.
Herzbrun said she was surprised she was selected, but is excited to have the opportunity to compete.
She began making jewelry in high school, inspired by her great-grandmother’s costume jewelry. She attended design school in Miami, where she honed her jewelry- and accessory-making skills. Her designs have been featured in fashion week events in New York and the Southeast.
She moved back to East Tennessee in 2009 and began working on building her business out of her studio in the home where she grew up in Maryville. Her collection, Alicia Marie, features custom jewelry and handbags, which are sold on her website, http://shopaliciamarie.com, or at Bula Boutique in downtown Knoxville.
“It was a great opportunity for all of us, no matter who wins, because we all had a chance to be on TV and get publicity,” she said. “It was a challenge, but a lot of fun. I love making jewelry.”