When did you get started: I've designed and created (or attempted to create...) jewelry for as long as I can remember... starting with the friendship safety pins when I was little... then friendship bracelets in elementary school... then when I got older, started experimenting with the shrinky dink plastic my little sister would use... I took a hiatus for awhile through high school and college, but then when doing my senior thesis on fashion design, created a line of bridal gowns, which of course, needed accessories... which spawned a rebirth of my love of creating... I think mostly, working with clothing, it's such a process... you create the design, create the pattern, do a practice garment, size it, then do the final creation.... with jewelry, it's a much more of instant gratification.... some take time, but you see the results much quicker than you do with clothing.
When I couldn't find a job in the "real world," I returned to school to get my masters in teaching. Using my hobby now to be more of a stress release after a long day. A few teachers liked the pieces I would wear to work and asked me to make them some. From there I started selling on the side. My third year of teaching, I was bumped and lost my job due to lack of seniority. I tried to make that closed door a window by using my time displaced from a job to try to sell to boutiques and opened my Etsy shop. I enjoy jewelry making so much, I would love to make it much more of a full-time job. But one day at a time. :)
What makes you different:
I really believe that your accessories help to paint who you are for that particular day. Maybe you feel simple, or you feel sparkling. Maybe it's a Audrey Hepburn LBD day with super large pearls, or you're going for more of a bohemian look. Whatever your choice, the accessories are going to finish the look.
Being that jewelry making is currently more of a hobby than a profession for me, I am much more geared towards the creation side, rather than mass producing an easy to sell item. Alot of my customers on Etsy are looking for a unique piece to wear for a special occasion, such as their weddings, and they want something especially made for them. These are my favorite customers because I understand how special this day is for them and how much the accessory is going to finish whatever look they are aiming to achieve. I think this desire to please my customer, to have my customer be so utterly excited to wear the piece, is what makes me different.
What do you love creating most: I love color. I love super sparkling crystals. I love finishing a piece and being so excited to post it to see the response. I really can't stand monotony, so it's hard for me to make something over and over again, which is probably not a very favorable trait in sales, but I think it also helps me to be continually creative as an artist and designer.
Favorite places to shop:
I love boutiques where you can find more out of the ordinary things. I'm the type of person who likes to have a dress you can't get just anywhere. I also tend to shop online, (Etsy! :)) because you are able to find more obscure items... and also because I just hate trying clothes on. :) Plus in Iowa, you just aren't allowed the luxury of having alot of unique brands available in person.
True Religion, Blue Jeans Bar, Riley boutiques in Chicago... Blue Mercury for products...
But then again, Nordstroms does tend to call me in... alot! :)
All photos courtesy of: 310jewelry
---These pictures are only a small preview, so go check out the rest of the store! You won't be sorry! :)