How was your business conceived?
It was organic. I was studying textile science and fashion in England, and during my travels I started picking up beads. When I returned to the US for my final year of university, I began making jewelry for friends. I was always interested in fashion design, but never thought of jewelry as being part of that. It was the texture of fabric that I loved so much. The more I learned, the more I fell in love with the diversity and history of beads and cultural adornment. After graduating from university with a marketing of textiles and apparel degree, I started going to college campuses and following the Grateful Dead to sell my work! The entrepreneurial spirit of those parking lots has stuck with me through it all.
What do you love most about your product?
The ability of it to complement an outfit.
What inspires you?
The colors of the gemstones themselves, my customers and being in nature.
I was born and raised in Chicago, and for many years I said I wanted to move away to a more beautiful place, or closer to awe inspiring nature . . . but then I realized that the people of Chicago and my community will be hard to replace.
What do you wish people asked you about your product?
They often ask what the individual materials are—I will explain the name of the gemstones, the process of oxidizing silver most frequently.