Maker Mentors hosted a live webinar with Judi Powers. You can watch the entire video interview below. This webinar is brought to you by at Uncommon Goods.
When I decided to become a full-time jewelry designer I had zero experience in starting my own company. Sure, 22 years working in marketing and PR for Penguin Books, among other companies, taught me a good bit of business savvy, but starting and running your own company is a different animal. What was my approach? Jump in the deep end and figure it out along the way.
In this session I’d like to give as many answers as possible to all of the questions I had when I was first starting out, and that I still have every day. Starting your own business isn’t for the timid, and there’s no one-size-fits-all plan. It takes a lot of hard work, even more patience, a teflon jacket, and a willingness to see mistakes as learning opportunities rather than failings.
I had a wonderfully long first career in book publishing before I decided to become a professional jeweler. Working with books fueled my love of story: nonfiction gave me new perspectives through which to view the world while novels transported me to beautifully imagined places. That love of creating enduring narratives deeply influences my own approach to making jewelry and each of my pieces has its own discreet tale about something special, whether an experience, a place, a person, or a moment.
In fall 2013 I launched my jewelry collection, which is heavily inspired by nature and Asian art and architecture. Flowers and trees from my Brooklyn neighborhood, Buddhist architecture, beach treasure from Montauk, and animals from a childhood spent in the country inspire the form and structure of my work and a love of simple lines drives me to create pieces that are effortless to wear.
Wax carving, found object casting, and traditional metalsmithing are the primary techniques I use to create my jewelry. I design and fabricate each piece using recycled precious metals and ethically sourced gemstones at a collaborative metalsmithing studio in Brooklyn, NY.
In summer 2014 I was selected as one of ten designers to exhibit in the JA New York trade show’s New Designer Gallery. I’m deeply honored that pieces from my collection have been featured in CoolHunting.com, WMagazine.com, National Jeweler, JCK, and InStoreMag.com, among others.
In 2013 I earned an AAS Degree in Jewelry Design from F.I.T. Prior to earning my degree, I took countless jewelry fabrication courses over the course of 12 years at 92Y, Jewelry Arts Institute, S.V.A., Brooklyn Metal Works, and Studio Jewelers (and I still take classes whenever I can). I am a member of WJA, where I serve on the board of the New York Metro chapter, SNAG, and Ethical Metalsmiths.