Prairie Wife of the Week January 31, 2014 (handcrafted jewelry)
Posted January 31, 2014 by Prairie Wife -
I had never been on Twitter until I started this blog, and while at first it was a little overwhelming, I soon learned how to tweet like a pro. I first came in contact with Indie Republic Design on Twitter. I saw a picture of the beautiful jewelry and commented on it. One thing led to another and after I went to Nikki’s site I was hooked. The rustic yet elegant design of her jewelry called to me. The prices were reasonable for custom handcrafted jewelry, and I immediately thought of my readers. I contacted Nikki about purchasing some of her jewelry for a giveaway for our readers, and when I learned the story behind her jewelry I asked her if she would be willing to do an interview with me. Thankfully she accepted, and I am so pleased that she did. Her passion for her art, and her willingness to work hard to provide for her son, make her the perfect Prairie Wife of the Week.
Don’t forget to enter our giveaway (it is located at the end of the interview) to win a one of a kind handcrafted necklace from Indie Republic Design.
Nikki (N): I grew up in Orange Country, Southern California. I lived in Colorado for a while, and then my son and I moved back to Southern California, and the Newport Beach area. Besides designing, creating, and selling jewelry for my company Indie Republic Design, I work as an operations manager for a local art gallery Art for the Soul . There are two galleries, one in a Newport location and another in Laguna Beach, and they are run and owned by my sister. It’s all American handcrafted work that she custom picks, and I am so proud to be part of it.
PW: How has your love of art evolved over the years?
N: I’ve always been a crafty hands-on person. I was actually a huge tomboy growing up, so I loved to work with tools and create and build. I went to college at the University of San Diego and graduated with a degree in business and communications, and a minor in photography. After graduation I was a photographer for a while, but it didn’t fulfill me in the way I wanted. I ended up doing a little bit of everything, and found myself becoming involved in real estate. This naturally led into construction as well. I became involved in flipping houses, which was an amazing way for me to be creative. I loved participating in every aspect of the process, from the beginning vision and designing steps to the hands on construction and completion!
PW: What eventually led you to jewelry design?
N: Jewelry making has always been a passion and a love, but other things in my life have always come first. Then a little over a year ago, I started creating jewelry in my free time. It was something that I needed in my life at the time and ended up being really good therapy for me. Naturally I loved what I made and I wore it when I went out. Soon people were coming up to me and wanting to buy the earrings off my ears, and I thought, I can do this! I participated in several craft shows and the reaction from people was above and beyond my expectations. I realized how big this could be, and that if I worked hard enough I could support both my son and I with Indie Republic Design.
PW: How do you decide what mediums you wanted to work with?
N: It really just happens, I don’t have an amazing process or anything special I do. I go to a gem show and walk around and just wait for something that catches my interest. I definitely have a preference for things that are raw cut, and have an earthy organic feel. Right now I really find myself drawn to Pyrite and Labradorite. I just love the grey colors of the Labradorite and the earthiness of the Pyrite. The juxtaposition of the hard of the raw stones and the delicateness of metal work, appeals to me on a strong personal level. One of the things I enjoy about jewelry design is that it is constantly evolving and I can always change what direction I want to go in.
PW: What inspires you when you design?
N: It depends on what my purpose is. When I am creating for me or a non-specific customer, I just kind of go with the flow. I start by pulling various elements out of my drawers, metal, stones, etc. I lay it all out and from there it’s basically a lot of trial and error. Trying out various combinations and patterns, and changing certain elements that don’t seem right to me. I also rely on feedback from my customers, and even people on the street who stop me and compliment my jewelry. Often times my customers let me know what they really love and what they want to see, so I go back home and try to do what they want.
The versatility of my pieces allows my customers to layer pieces and create a look that is uniquely them. There is flexibility in my jewelry that draws people to it, because they can immediately see how the designs fit them as an individual. A lot of my jewelry designs incorporate imperfect circles. For me they add to the beauty of the jewelry just as the bumps in the road offer uniqueness to our journey in our lives. On a deeper level, I feel that when I create jewelry for Indie Republic Design, I am making beauty out of imperfection. My goal is to be able to communicate that, and inspire others, through my jewelry.
PW: How do you fit your jewelry design and selling into your busy life as a working mom?
N: It is pure drive and a commitment to making a better life for me and my son. I admit to often using the wee hours of the night to create a piece of jewelry that someone can wear and be proud of. When my son watches me making jewelry, he sees my happiness, and he knows that I am doing it to create a better future for him. This makes the sacrifices easier for me.
PW: What are your goals for your company?
N: I want to be able to have a constant selling base, I am trying to get exposure and have people see my things. I want to have my jewelry sold in boutiques across the country, but I still want to offer the handcrafted high quality unique products that Indie Republic Design currently has. It is important to me that my jewelry continues to accentuate the customer’s beauty, not overpower it. It is my dream for people to see someone wearing my jewelry and say “That’s an Indie Republic Design!”
PW: What have been your roadblocks?
N: TIME! There just aren’t enough hours in the day. It is so hard for me to build up my inventory because I am the only one creating pieces! If someone puts in an order I am the only one that can fulfill it. I have a 40 hour (or honestly more) a week job and motherhood competing for my time. I have somewhat of a handle on the business aspects of Indie Republic Design, but it can still be overwhelming wearing 20 hats at once!
PW: What advice would you give to other women (and men) that are interested in taking the next step with their jewelry designs?
N: Go for it! Take your drive and passion for what you do and put it into your artwork. Build up your inventory, and find the balance that allows it to represent you, but still meet the needs of your customers.
PW: Any last Prairie Wife words of wisdom for our readers?
N: Listen to your heart and go with your passion. No one is perfect and the timing might never be right, so go ahead and jump in with both feet, you’ll never know till you try!
Categories: Prairie Wife of the Week