Tell us about your business.In 2006, I discovered a forgotten collection of my father’s postage stamps. Captivated by the intricate designs and vivid colors, I hated the idea of them being hidden in a box on a shelf. I made my first pair of earrings that day. After establishing a relationship with a few philatelists online, my stamp stash is now well over 10,000. I have a small soldering area in my studio where I put together sterling silver settings. Then tiny sections of postage stamps are placed at the bottom of the settings and coated with clear domed resin. The last step of the process is to add a tag to each item which tells its "story" and includes the decade of circulation and the country of origin. Over the years I have learned how to connect to customers in a more personal way. I encourage customers to make stamp selections based on their ancestry or to commemorate a special vacation. Many of my orders are now placed by request and I love the personal direction this is taking things.
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.My husband and I jokingly refer to our home as "Siber and Siber Art Factory". He is a fine artist focusing on photography and sculpture; I have the bulk of our basement set up for jewelrymaking. I love the flexibility of my home studio, especially as a mother of 2 young girls who never knows when she may have a spare 15 minutes to sort through stamps. My workspace is cheerful with lots of little inspirational details. Vintage Marimekko fabric covers an 8' pinboard on one wall, while a once-drab set of grey plastic drawers are transformed with yellow spray paint. My computer station is directly across from my work counter, so I am forever wheeling my chair from one workspace to another. Outside of my studio, I feel fortunate to live in an amazingly craft-friendly neighborhood, Wicker Park, Chicago; home of the Renegade Craft Fair. I have a few friends within walking distance who run their own small businesses and are always willing to meet up for a coffee and a chat.
What inspires you?There is always beauty in the details: A little curly-cue in the corner of a 1920s Italian stamp, the way my solder liquifies in an instant and links a pendant together under the torch, the way my resin perfectly magnifies a few letters as I'm pouring it into an almost complete ring, and so much more. I select materials that I find a little bit magical so that I never lose interest.
What makes your business stand out?In a market full of amazing jewelers, I like to think that my work is more personal than most. One of my favorite custom orders was a necklace I made last year. The postage stamp was provided from a love letter mailed from the customer's father to her mother 4o years ago. The pendant turned out beautifully, and I love knowing that I gave her the opportunity to wear this piece of her personal history on a daily basis.
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?Be certain that it is an absolute pleasure to create the thing that you decided to base your business on. Although I enjoy making many things, from quilts to cakes to furniture, there are very few that I have a desire to create more than once. Starting a day in the studio aiming to end it with 100 finished necklaces is a welcome challenge instead of a daunting task. Although I make the "same" 8 or 9 items over and over again, I am able to enjoy each one individually as I select and crop each independent stamp and then finish it off perfectly. I suggest you find something yourself that you won't mind making over and over and over and over and over (get the picture?) again.
What does American Made mean to you?To me, this means that an item became a finished product with American hands on American soil. When I buy American Made products, I feel comfortable knowing that someone was paid a reasonable amount to make it and that more of what I have paid goes directly to the maker.
Mark Your Calendar
NOMINATIONS ENDAug. 31, 2015
Final day for entering the Audience Choice Award competition.
VOTING ENDSOct. 19, 2015
Final day to cast your vote for your favorite makers.
WINNERS ANNOUNCEDOct. 23, 2015
2015 Editors' Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
AMERICAN MADE SUMMITNov. 7, 2015
Don’t miss our networking event and maker lecture series in New York City. Tickets are available now.Discover the American Made Summit