I’ve known Stephanie, owner of jewelry design company Metalicious, for only 7 months, but I feel like I’ve known her for years, that’s how well we get on.
I work with Stephanie two days a week, I process her orders, run errands in the jewelry district and ship orders to her customers. Her designs are beautiful and are handcrafted to a high standard. I consider Stephanie as my mentor - and friend - and feel truly blessed to have her in my life. I’ve learnt so much from her in such a short space of time. She motivates me, lifts me up and has such a wonderful spirit, which is why I wanted to interview her for my series on women that inspire me.
An Interview with Stephanie
JOANNE: Who inspires you?
STEPHANIE: I'm inspired by my customer. I want to make jewelry that surprises her with unique details that will make her smile when she sees them. I love using colors because I know they bring joy and symbolize meaning. For example I love making my Wrought Bezel necklace because you can buy it with a birthstone to represent someone you love, yourself, someone who has passed away, or just a stone that's your favorite color. And the silver bezel has this tiny little beaded detail all around that makes it just a little edgy and different from other bezel necklaces. It's such a perfect gift to treat yourself or someone you love very much. It's the simple joys, right?
JOANNE: Who's your favorite artist?
STEPHANIE: That's hard to say. I'm a Gemini so I like lots of different artists depending upon my mood. I love music, I love textural fine artwork, or anything that is humorous and snarky. I love architecture and I love nature. So sometimes I listen to Haim while I'm working in my studio but other times I'll want to listen to the Beatles. I love going to the MOMA to see modern art like Monet but I also love going gallery hopping in my Chelsea neighborhood to see artists like Eric Joyner or Oliver Jeffers. I'm sure that's a similar answer to a professional clown or something. And then I also love going for walks to take in my environment. I love the contrast of sharp edges and soft organic forms so New York is the perfect place for me.
JOANNE: What is your greatest achievement to date?
STEPHANIE: Oh wow. I think the fact that I'm still around is a great achievement. The world of jewelry is so saturated that it's really hard to be heard and found online. I've had my little business since 2005 and it's grown bit by bit every year since then. So I'm really proud that I'm able to make a living to support my family while doing something I'm passionate about and that fulfills me creatively. I'm incredibly grateful for all that I have and just keep my nose to the grindstone most of the time for fear of messing anything up.
JOANNE: What piece, that you’ve designed, is your favorite?
STEPHANIE: That's like choosing a favorite child!! I can't pick just one. I truly love them all, they come from my heart and my hands. So it's really hard to say that I love one more than another. They represent different parts of me, different experiences I've had, different stories that need to be told. I honestly can't choose just one.
JOANNE: What's your favorite gemstone?
STEPHANIE: Sapphire! I love the range of colors you can find them in, anything from deep blue to bright pink, yellow to green and everything in between. They are versatile and sparkly but imperfect. And they are precious.
JOANNE: Which tool on your workbench could you not do without?
STEPHANIE: I know I should say something deep like "the file I've had for 20 years" but honestly I'm a tech junkie. So it's a toss up between my flex shaft and my benchmate. I couldn't work as quickly or efficiently as I do without either of those.
JOANNE: You are an advocate for essential oils. If you could only choose one to use for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?
STEPHANIE: Oooh, that's like saying if I could only eat one vegetable which would I choose? They all have different properties that can help support so many health and wellness challenges in your life. I've been studying to get my Aromatherapy Certification and it's a fascinating field that combines science and nature-- two of my favorite things. They truly have changed my life in so many ways, but if I was stuck on an island with only 1 oil it would have to be Frankincense.
JOANNE: What would you like to see in your future? In the next year, 5 years, 10 years...
STEPHANIE: 5 years I would love to see Metalicious in a larger studio with a few more people on staff. I see us having fun and loving what we do, creating beautiful and meaningful jewelry that makes people happy all over the world.
In 10 years I will have almost-adult children (cue weeping). One will be out of college and the other will be just going into college. So I will be an empty nester with my husband. We'll probably still be working our butts off to pay for college but will have more time together to really take advantage of this great city we live in. So I'm hoping to see more theater, eat delicious food, watch amazing movies and travel with my husband-- if we can afford it. (weeping immediately stops)
JOANNE: What one piece of advice would you give to someone opening an etsy store or just starting their own handcrafted business?
STEPHANIE: Invest in the best photographic equipment you can (and learn how to use it). Having an online store means your photos have to be amazing and drool-worthy. And even when you think they're good enough-- keep improving them. That will be what makes your customer decide to spend their hard earned money with you.
Stay tuned for the next person I interview!