Featured Artisan: Yogibead
Please start by telling us a little about yourself and your studio.
I’m Celeste Rousselot, a young designer and student with a fixation for fashion and the arts. I have been creatively driven since very young. Besides beadwork, I enjoy playing the flute for my local symphony orchestra, creating colorful abstract paintings, and cooking up finger-licking international dishes. I work out of my studio in Miami, Florida where I craft beaded accessories ranging from our popular bracelets, to trendy chains, and current celebrity favorites. I collected gemstones and minerals before even jumping into jewelry-making, and with the addition of the many rare and colorful beads I’ve collected since the start of my business, my studio closely resembles a laboratory version of candyland. Having all of my stones on display allows me to tap into new design ideas with relative ease. I cater to clients looking for unisex pieces. I am conscious of the growing fashion-forward male population, so I make it a point to create as many unisex products as possible for this new demographic. Women also love the gender-ambiguity in my designs because it represents a strength and edginess that you may not find in more refined and feminine options.
If there’s one thing that defines you, what is it?
Happiness. If whatever I’m engaging myself in does not produce that emotional outcome, it is just not worth my energy! It takes me back to the famous saying, “Do something you love and you will never work another day in your life”. This rings true to me every morning when I wake up ready and eager to ship out accessories and design new ones. This is not to say that I have never found myself in a less than ideal job situation, but those very moments were the driving force that pushed me to find a way to make my hobbies profitable.
Where do you live and what is it like?
I live in sunny Miami. Once thing about living in this city, is that it always keeps you on your feet. You can take a stroll around the art galleries in Coral Gables, check out some of the most famous nightlife venues in South Beach, or take a bite out of some of the most indulgent cuisine while watching the waves break by the beach. The options are seemingly endless. Another aspect that I appreciate about my city is its cultural diversity. As a foreigner myself (I was born in Argentina), I take pride in being part of a community that loves the unconventional and exotic. It encourages the designer in me to constantly think outside the box!
Where did you learn your medium?
I’ve been making accessories since grade-school. It started out as simple friendship cord bracelets that were given out as gifts, to custom order requests, and eventually the implementation of a full-scale web based accessories shop with help of some rigorous schooling. To refine my art, I attended countless workshops and seminars held by respectable artisans in my local vicinity. I am in the process of perfecting my skills in metalsmithing at the local Miami College. There are many intricacies to the art and more math than I would usually care to deal with, but I am hoping to be able to up my skill level and finally produce luscious precious-metal pieces from scratch.
How did you come to selling online?
In the past, I’ve worked for different e-commerce companies. During this time I was able to learn skills such as web design, accounting, and SEO optimization. Once I realized I had gathered enough knowledge to open a store of my own, I started my very own website, www.yogibead.com. I love being able to set up shop on the internet because it allows me to connect with customers all around the world. I even came up with different designs inspired by different regions of the world where many of my customers reside. I would not be able to share ideas with persons of such diverse backgrounds if I was limited to a brick and mortar location.
What is the best piece of advice you can give other artists?
Stay true to your craft. Its easy to stay unoriginal and just follow trends, but with such a diverse customer base chances are you will find a decent-sized audience to cater your designs to. Mix that with iron-clad persistence, and it’s only a matter of time before you make a name for yourself and your brand.
Why do you think that buying and selling handmade products benefits society?
Buying handmade products not only gives you access to some of the most unique and quirky items available, it also gives one the opportunity to make an economic difference at a local level by supporting small businesses. I take my own advice and always make sure to shop from a private artisan. As a result, I have a vast collection of envy-worthy accessories, clothing, and decorative elements that I would have never found at a large retailer.