Q: Please tell us a great story about your business, your experiences and the gritty back-story of your journey and why your business or products are your passion.
A:When I started, it was really more of a hobby. It began with painting. I just dove in and started learning through experimentation and intuition. It was a very organic process. I played around with all kinds of different media and styles and formats, and before I knew it I had artwork everywhere. Two things had to happen: I needed to focus my vision and I had to find somewhere to put everything I was creating. I started showing things to local places and seeing there was interest in exhibiting my work, and very quickly realized people were interested in purchasing it, too! I started designing jewelry when I realized I was modifying and altering most of the pieces I owned to make them my own. I decided it was time to transition from one art form to another, so I parked the brushes for a while and started to design art I could wear. My first necklaces were all pendants that housed or were created from my artwork. And once I started interacting with metal and wood and stone, I knew this was what I wanted to do. I had found something I thought I could take to another level. Everything became more and more refined from there. Since then, I’ve been passionate about building a brand that celebrates the beauty just waiting to be found in the world—and turns it into home and personal accessories that let you add to the beauty of yours.
Q: What has been your biggest success?
A: I’ve had shows that have gone really well and that always feels like a success. Last year, I did a pop-up in Chicago, in collaboration with a stylist. It was the first time I worked with interior designer Jaqueline __ at Tweaked Style, to create unique booth experience. It was a great show. But, you know, having an official presence online and in boutiques for only about three years now, I think starting my own business is still my biggest success. It’s a privilege to wake up every morning knowing you can create something that didn’t exist yesterday. And, embracing the creative process and finding a way to show your authentic self in what you do isn’t easy.
Q: What has been your biggest struggle?
A: Staying focused and keeping up the level of enthusiasm can be difficult, especially when things don’t go as expected. But it’s kind of curious how we tend to fall into the habit of thinking about business so differently than we do creativity. Something I’ve found is that I have to come at the business with the same heart and intuition as I do design or painting. Both take just as much courage and creativity as they do knowledge and skill, and all of that gets stronger as you keep trying whether you fail or succeed.
Q: What's your niche?
A: I strive to design pieces that are both exceptional and accessible. Women shouldn’t need an occasion to make a statement, or to feel beautiful. I design jewelry to create and celebrate beauty, and to make those who wear my pieces feel beautiful. To me, necklaces are like magic talismans that can transform not only an outfit but the person wearing it. My line is known for the boho-chic style and designed versatility. Which means I put a lot of care and attention into what I call wearability. This is a specific thing for me. It’s a combination of three things. First, exceptional quality. I’m extremely selective about the materials I use. Second, unique style. I believe designing pieces and collections that have stories behind them lets people connect with them more individually. And lastly, multi-functionality. My pieces have a designed versatility, so they can be worn different ways, because I believe it’s important for fashion to flex to fit how women live.
Q: Where do you see the retail industry in ten years?
A: It’s tough to say. I imagine, like everything, you’ll see a lot of personalizing, customizing and sharing taking off. Things like Rent The Runway are only the beginning of retail for a social age. Everything from Amazon to Zappos is proving great service can be virtually instantaneous. And the subscription services like Stitch Fix and Trunk Club are paving the way for retail that is totally individualized and adaptable. I think you’ll still have big name stores and traditional retail. But these trends are great because they show that people want finds. They want retail to fit their lives. I think people want artist/maker/designer-entrepreneurs to find their niches, so that, as customers, they can find theirs, too.