Bead after Dark Jewelry
Tell us about your business.Despite years of work in a demanding profession, I have always managed to weave in a bit of after hours crafting. Like many women trying to 'do it all', reserving this precious time is often a challenge...but in the evenings, with the crew at rest, it's my BEADING TIME... Hence the shop name BeadafterDarkJewelry, because that is often the only moment when the chaos is at a lull and I can let my imagination loose to dream and create...with the undercabinet LED burning over a counter crammed with ziplock bags full of lovely findings, crystals, pearls, beads and gems... I am addicted to design: a moth drawn to flame, intently sorting out the color combos and textures needed to style a fresh pair, ready to wear next morning when the routine starts all over again... Now that my work schedule is lighter, what became a five year plan has finally materialized and I have realized my dream to share my designs beyond friends and family, with the potential for building a small home business.
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.My workspace is definitely a work in progress. A narrow countertop in a hallway passageway with natural lighting from a sola tube during the day and under cabinet LED lighting in the evening currently houses an overwhelming number of little plastic bags containing the various components and findings to assemble my jewelry creations. I have chosen to spill out a bit of the contents of most of the bags onto the working surface creating a lovely chaos. Eventually, through repeated trials with different color, shape and texture combinations a new pair will take shape. Successful designs are defined by pleasing proportions and complementary hues with commanding focal elements and a quiet attention to detail. The long hours spent crafting the jewelry can be challenging as there is no room for a chair to sit on, so I am working to set up a studio in our shed out back. Since that will entail clearing out the items that currently overwhelm the available space, this is my summer project!
What inspires you?I have always thought that nature is the best inspiration for any creative project. The beauty of the changing seasons, flora and fauna, sea, land and sky are all exquisite canvases that beg to be replicated and interpreted in some way. Often times the choices are so overwhelming that it is comforting to have some constraints to dictate what direction one should take with a project. Special occasions and holidays can help to define certain color schemes and shapes. Customers can often be the source of inspiration as well, from their physical attributes to their special requests for an outfit to accessorize or an event that demands a certain style. Vintage jewelry findings and repurposed items like buttons are fun to incorporate into a pair for a truly unique look and vibe. I am inspired by the limitless number of possible combinations with my jewelry components making the design process always seem fresh and energizing. My sister Ivy's exquisite piano music is a special muse.
What makes your business stand out?An obsession with beads and crafting since childhood has lead to a lifelong love for creating gifts for friends and family... My jewelry is made with loving attention to detail and quality; most all findings are either gold plated or gold filled over brass, and antiqued or raw brass when I am making a pair with a more vintage feel...They are my original designs that you will not find anywhere else! I have chosen the ear wires carefully so that they add to the beauty of the earrings and will remain secure when wearing. Only when I feel the combinations of colors and components are just right will I post a pair for my shop. Many of the beads I use to create my designs are chosen from a vintage collection I started over 15 years ago. I have designed and printed my own logo/stickers and have crafted all my gift boxes by hand. The packaging and ribbon/sticker colors will change with the seasons and holidays for gifting and include a lovely faux velvet bag with a custom dangle charm.
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?Jump in! It took me a full year to summon the courage to open my ETSY shop, because I was so concerned with perfection and preparation. I learned shortly after I finally clicked on the tab to launch my jewelry site that there is no such thing as reaching a point where the business does not need to evolve and improve. The constant energy invested in creating new product, capturing compelling photo images, writing alluring product descriptions, and marketing the business across multiple social media sites can be exhausting, but also so rewarding. As a college graduate years ago, I made the conscious decision to choose a 'safe' career path. If you find yourself compelled to pursue your creative passion as I did, try to set aside the time for your after hours crafting and networking. You may find that this outlet can serve as the mental floss you need to allow you to keep your focus and sanity at the end of the day. The process is addictive as it can be so deliciously absorbing.
What does American Made mean to you?The ingenuity involved with taking raw materials and in the case of my enterprise disparate jewelry findings and working to see that vision come to life in the form of a unique product embodies the American entrepreneurial spirit. I have vivid memories of my immigrant grandparents embodying the value of living life with a creative passion. Though tragically displaced from their native homeland, they survived and ultimately prospered, never losing sight of the importance of setting time aside for a creative outlet. My paternal grandmother was a concert pianist who performed into her nineties; my paternal grandfather cultivated a small plot of land with fruit trees he harvested to create jams and compotes. My maternal grandfather loved to play the violin and created the most beautiful handmade cards with original poetry to celebrate milestones, and my maternal grandmother was an accomplished seamstress and chef. For me, American made means working to keep your unique history alive.
Mark Your Calendar
WINNERS ANNOUNCEDOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winner and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
AMERICAN MADE MEETUPNov. 7, 2014
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AMERICAN MADE SUMMITNov. 8, 2014
Don’t miss our networking event and maker lecture series in New York City.Buy Tickets Now
RENEGADE CRAFT FAIRNov. 15 - 16, 2014
Shop for holiday gifts at the Martha Stewart American Made Pavilion.Learn More