EMJ: My Labor of Love
As we celebrate our TWO(!) year anniversary this month I thought I'd spend Labor Day reflecting on my own labor of love.
Sunrise is always my favorite time in the studio. It’s quiet. It’s a new day, and even though it’s cheesy, it feels like anything can happen. The studio in my house has been where I’ve spent most of my days - and nights - since starting EM Jewelry in 2015. It’s where I’ve labored over designs. It’s where I’ve made really beautiful jewelry that I’m incredibly proud of. It’s where I’ve made some really bad jewelry, too. It’s where I’ve received news of wholesale partners that made me (literally!) jump up and down. And it’s where I’ve been rejected or looked over. This studio is where I’ve grown as a businesses owner, a boss, and as an artist.
This craft is my labor of love.
As we prepare to launch our new collection in October, I am amazed by our steady growth. Especially as a business that was born from a forced relocation from Portland, Oregon to Waco, Texas when my husband was offered a job here in 2015. I didn’t know then what I would build, but I never let go of my drive to acknowledge and celebrate my call to create. Though our move to Waco meant my husband could fulfill his dream, it kind of felt like the end to my own. In Portland I was working for a jewelry designer and I thought it was the best job in the world. I felt frustrated at the idea of moving to Waco because there wasn’t another jewelry designer I could work for who was making a comparable product, and I figured I would have to switch careers or start something on my own. At the time all of my friends and family were encouraging me to start my own business. Part of me wanted to, but for a while I let fear keep me from even trying. Then one day my mom told me that I had the support of my family and my husband, and that I was the only one holding myself back. That really hit me, so that day I sat down and designed my first pieces of jewelry. They later become part of my first collection, Asper.
At that time I had no idea how to run a business, let alone if people would like my jewelry. But I knew I couldn't rest without going for it.
It wasn’t long before I realized that Waco was actually the perfect place for me to start my jewelry business. Wacoans are looking for something to support and to latch onto and to grow with. I realized there was an audience here for something fresh, and there are so many millennials who are looking for that big city style and experience.
It has been two years of amazing growth and I have learned so much about myself as a person and an artist. Going from being the person who makes the jewelry someone else designs to actually being the lead from design conception to the finished product is more gratifying than I ever thought it could be! One of my favorite parts of the process is when I’m designing a new collection and I’m making a bunch of samples to test out. I know the design is complete when I try it on and I instantly smile. I know a design isn’t done until that smile. I can feel it in my gut.
It’s that gut feeling that reminds me jewelry making is what I am called to do.
It’s certainly a labor, but a labor I love.