#IAMNICHE-Carolyn Healy of Substance Jewelry

March 13, 2018





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:I had an exceptionally terrible day at work in my IT job. One of those days where you get home from work and you are hours late, tired, stressed, and mad at the world. I went to sleep that night knowing I needed something else in life. The next day, I signed up for a jewelry class. That was 2009… yada – yada – yada…and it’s been an incredible journey since. I’m so honored to spend a decent portion of my life creating things that I love.



Q: What has been your biggest success?

A:The best thing is that so many things came to mind with this question. At my craziest moments, I’ve sold to over 70 stores around the world and to Uncommon Goods (along with shows and online orders), and that makes me super proud. But I think what I’ve always loved the most about this business, this career, this life, is that every decision I make corresponds with my values. I purchase American-made materials whenever possible, I care about the source of my components, and I take pride in being able to make every decision knowing my dollars are going exactly where I want them to. I get to sell them through stores that I admire and support, and I get to make jewelry that actually means something to the people that wear it. That makes me feel pretty good. I get to partner with amazing programs in the community that make a difference in people’s lives like the Salvation Army Promise program. That’s what was missing from my life before I started this jewelry (ad)venture. I’m so honored to be able to make the tiniest difference in this world by doing something I love.


Q: What has been your biggest struggle?

A: I tend to take an organic approach to growth. And all that really means? I’m not a big social media person, and I’m a terrible self-promoter. Thank goodness for the amazing stores I work with, and the incredible fans of the jewelry I make.


Q: What's your niche?

A: The one thing I’ve always trusted is my work. My jewelry will either speak to you, or it won’t. And I’m totally okay with that. It took a long time to get there, but I did. Everything is a choice. For people who appreciate a simple aesthetic, combined with materials sourced with love and care, created by hand in Chicago, and who value supporting small independent businesses, substance jewelry may be the right choice for them. If it speaks to you, there’s a pretty good chance it’s going to be your new favorite jewelry.


Q: Where do you see the retail industry in ten years?

A: Sooooo much online action, but hopefully with a shift towards local businesses selling online and offering pickup/delivery. That said, there will always be a place for well-curated local shops (they’ll just need to balance an online presence with a physical location).

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