Often this space is used as a soapbox, as an encouraging call for action, or to raise concerns.

This month, however, it serves a distinctly different purpose. It mourns the death of a business associate, a client, a friend.

Nancy Thomas, the fun-loving, generous, gregarious owner of Sweet Lady Jane passed away last month.

Nancy was a role model for many in the industry and for her three surviving daughters who are carrying on in her best traditions. She was a lady whose personal style and business moxie enabled her to build a solid reputation she was fiercely proud of. It was a style that earned the respect of friends and competitors alike.

She was a true individual, a woman who always made time for others, whose pride and commitment to her nail jewelry business was rivaled only by her love for family and friends.

Sweet Lady Jane, a name she took from a popular Rolling Stones’ tune, was started in 1979 with the introduction of her original Lady Charms, a collection unique to her company that exhibits the style she chose to emulate. Over the years, Nancy Thomas and Sweet Lady Jane became interchangeable, as many sought out “Jane,” the owner of the business: It was a circumstance she took particular pride in.

Nancy is survived by two sisters, a brother and the three daughters currently running and planning the future for their mother’s business. Two of her daughters, Melissa and Lisa, worked with Nancy, helping the business, learning the secrets of their mother’s style. They are confident that the thriving business left behind will be well taken care of.

In a sense, Nancy has not really left ... not while the business exists, or the memories.

But she will be missed.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.

Read more about