American Made Since 2010

Christine Fail

Austin, Texas
Fail is contemporary handmade jewelry with a focus on classic metalsmithing techniques. Pieces are understated, organic, delicate and accessible.
Texas Style
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I received my BFA in studio art studying painting, printmaking, and metalsmithing, and then spend 5 years working for two 18k gold jewelry designers. After 5 years, in the middle of the economic downturn, I began to think long and hard about my future. I realized that I worked and lived in two different worlds, and I decided that I didn’t only want to service the elite, but wanted to give well made, handmade jewelry to every woman. Then I got laid off! It was the best thing that ever happened to me. My mission with fail is to provide quality handmade jewelry at accessible price points. My design aesthetic focuses on understated elegance, attention to line and proportion, and an organic, yet delicate feeling. I design pieces that can transition effortlessly from a t-shirt and jeans, to a little black dress. Basically, the pieces that you never take off. I never want to sell to every store, on every corner. I want to find retail partners that share the same values as I do.

What makes your business unique?

As a result of my background in metalsmithing, a hammer touches all of my pieces. Because each piece starts out as wire or sheet, and the form is created by cutting and hammering, each piece is truly unique. I love that my hand, the hand of the artist, is visible in each piece. Because of my past studio limitations, I chose not to solder or use cast pieces in my designs, and relied solely on what are called, cold-connection. Having to rely on cold connections only has really pushed me forward in the design process. I have to be more innovative and creative with my technique and style, so that I can set myself apart from other designers. It has also helped keep a diversity in price-points within the collection so that I can keep my collection attainable. I had several women in my career that gave me the courage and support to excel. I try to make my studio a place for a new generation of young women to learn about creative small business and find their own way to excel.

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

The best business advice I have received want actually told to me, but learned by through my experiences with my previous employers. Having a strong mission and business plan is extremely important. It is so easy to get caught up in everything and find yourself going down a path you didn't expect. It's then that looking back on your mission will help guide you through the unexpected waters. Knowing where you want to end up, and what kind of business you want to have, will guide you in your decisions. Another great piece of advice was to do 1 thing well, instead of 5 things poorly. If you spread yourself too thin, your work and your reputation will suffer. Focus on 1 task at a time and don't try to jump ahead or skip steps. The practices put in place in the beginning lay the foundation for growth in the future. And lastly, under promise and over deliver. Don't fall short on your promises. If you are exceeding expectations you will always leave a positive impression.

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  • Voting for Category Winners
    Aug. 26 - Sept. 22, 2013

    Vote for your favorite makers in crafts, food, and more.

  • Category Winners Announced
    September 23, 2013

    Discover our 2013 American Made winners.

  • Voting for Grand Prize Winner
    September 23 - 30, 2013

    Which maker receives $10,000? You decide.

  • Grand Prize Winner Announced
    October 1, 2013

    Find out who our 2013 Audience Choice Award Winner is.

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