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Shop owner Katy Beh, of Katy Beh Contemporary Jewelry on Magazine Street, is one tech-savvy New Orleanian with a flair for e-commerce and a subsequently thriving local business. Over the past year and a half, after the successful renovation of her Web site, Beh's sales have grown significantly. Before Hurricane Katrina, Beh's Web site functioned as any average store's does: as an advertising space. However, when she found herself displaced after Hurricane Katrina with no way to contact her client base except via a pre-Katrina email list, she decided to restructure the site. "Like most New Orleanians, I became Internet literate very quickly," she recalls.

Formerly functioning as a preview to the gallery, the site now works like an e-catalog modeled after (and replacing) the "wish book" she used to mail out. Now all of her clients can do their shopping online if they choose.

"The hardest part in putting the site together was that I didn't want it to look like every other site," Beh says. "Pictures of the jewelry like little ducks in a row don't show the beauty and integrity of an artist's collection."

Before she evacuated, Beh had all of the artwork for her second catalog ready to go, so when she decided to reprioritize and change her Web site strategy, it was an easy transition to make — and one that has been very good for business.

Beh has reported record-breaking sales since launching the new site and has noted an increase in both out-of-state and local attention, which now make up near-equal percentages of her sales.

When acquiring pieces for her gallery, Beh looks for fashion-forward designers who make classic jewelry with a modern touch, and she favors pieces inspired by nature, architecture and tradition. "Because jewelry is such a thoughtful, precious craft, it needs to have some longevity where craftsmanship and quality are key," says Beh.

Katy Beh Contemporary Jewelry, 3708 Magazine St., 896-9600

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