A Revelstoke jeweller grows her business — with the help of a trusted intern
Kat Cadegan Jewellery is going through a growth spurt.
The namesake owner of the Revelstoke-based small business — the down-to-earth and warm Kat Cadegan — began making jewellery at her kitchen table over a decade ago. Today, she’s at the helm of a thriving business and leading a small team who hand-craft bespoke jewellery collections. Each gorgeous piece is inspired by nature and created with a commitment to sustainable practices: gemstones are sourced ethically, and the gold used in designs is recycled.
Kat studied silversmithing and bench jewellery all over the world, honing her skills and developing her unique style, before settling in Revelstoke and opening Kat Cadegan Jewellery. After a few years of supplementing her business income with tree-planting work, she took her business full-time in 2015.
An expansion into a storefront in 2021 quickly brought big changes: increased sales meant the need for accelerated production, while keeping a consistently high standard of work. Kat hired Bronson Rabishaw — a recent graduate of the renowned George Brown College jewellery program in Toronto — on a three-month trial period, from mid-May through August 2021.
“Kat’s work really aligned with what I wanted to be making,” Bronson says. “Plus, the location seemed great.” Bronson made the long journey from Toronto to Revelstoke for the job and settled happily into his new role as a bench jeweller with Kat Cadegan Jewellery.
Fortunately, with help from the Trust’s Career Internship Program — which provides up to a 50 per cent wage subsidy for emerging professionals over a set time period — Kat was able to extend the three-month period into a year-long internship.
“When I found out about the internship program, I knew it could be absolutely ideal,” Kat explains. “I knew what training needed to happen and what skills needed to be addressed. By having the subsidy to take the pressure off, we could slow down and focus on what matters.”
That focus, for Kat Cadegan Jewellery, is currently on high-quality reproduction of original pieces. While it’s common for jewellers to hire a casting house for this purpose, Kat recently made the large investment into her own casting equipment, so that the business can do all reproduction in-house. “This opportunity is the direct result of having Bronson, and this area is going to be his wheelhouse.”
Training Bronson to lead this element of the business requires time and trust. “The wage subsidy has allowed us to focus on quality, skill, and craftsmanship,” Kat says. “It’s allowed him to get to the point where he’s an integral part of the team.”
That important role will continue after his year-long internship ends. “The goal was to keep him on full-time afterward, which we will absolutely do,” Kat explains. “He’s doing fantastic. He’s learning the language of the business and creating independence. Now he can take an entire project from start to finish.”
Bronson agrees that his skillset is being consistently honed and enhanced on the job. “It’s putting into practice what I learned in school, and I’m picking up lots of tricks from Kat,” he says. “I’m really enjoying it.”
Bronson’s professional development will continue to serve Kat Cadegan Jewellery as it flourishes, in this new season and beyond. “The internship program made a tremendous impact on my business, with really tangible results,” Kat says. “It’s allowing my dreams to come true — and his.”