Kate Ellen Metals

American Made Since 2009

Kate Ellen

Oakland, California
Kate Ellen creates hand-hewn jewelry and engagement rings with a philosophy centered around simplicity, timelessness, and a hint of edge.

Tell us about your business.

I always daydreamed about being a painter, a singer, a dancer-- but none of these things came very naturally to me. When I found metal work, I was instantly in a groove. My hands just seemed to know what to do, then I was just trying to keep up with my inspiration and ideas. In 2009 I started my company, and in 2010 I opened my flagship boutique, Crown Nine. The most potent thing about creating jewelry has to be the way it connects people and stories. At it's worst jewelry is just frivolous, but at its best it acts as the most sacred talisman for our our personal life stories, marking love, birth, loss. I absolutely love being a part of that, especially when making wedding rings. It is the highest honor to create such a beautiful symbol of love and devotion. I see Kate Ellen Metals evolving over time to really help foster and set the standards for ethically crafted jewelry. I'd also love to begin consulting for other craftspeople to help their brands grow and evolve.

What makes your business stand out?

I focus on ethically sourcing materials and making sure that my clients are educated on where everything comes from. I also love working with clients who have heirloom jewelry that they'd like redesigned; it's a great way to reduce our impact on people and the planet while celebrating our family legacies with style. As a retail shop, I also carry the work of other artists who, like me, make their work by hand. Our motto is 'real beautiful things made by real people' and love telling the story of where an object comes from. I really believe that making and owning well made objects increases the well being of the artist and the buyer alike. Our 'Rarity' project helps tell the stories behind how things are made by sneaking into the studios of our artists and asking them to share their process with us. Each artist creates a limited edition design that is sold exclusively through us and shares their inspiration, muses, and design process with us.

What's the best business advice you've received?

Ask! When I started I was often nervous to ask more experienced jewelers or business people for help, hints, or advice; I guess I thought it would be bothersome or they wouldn't want to share. Then I had a mentor who would always just say, "Ask!" and when I did, I got the answers I needed. Now I am never shy to ask, even questions that might be considered sensitive, because I have never had anyone ever tell me ,"No, I won't share with you." In fact, the opposite is true. I have found so many people willing to go out of their way to help me, share resources, bounce around ideas, help me fix problems, and just be a support. I think it's really important to pass this on too, so I really try to keep my door open to share what I know with others. So if you are trying to master anything, whether a craft, a business, or anything really, just ask! You'll be so pleasantly surprised by the total generosity of other people.

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