I came across Hadley’s jewelry at a local art fair last year. I loved the simplicity and casual elegance to her pieces. They were something different and unique, bringing a new voice to jewelry in Redding. I recently sat down with her to discover her story, how she started her business, and how she is transforming Redding one beautiful piece at a time.
Keep on reading for the full interview after the jump!
How did it all start? What started your love for making and creating?
I’ve always loved to create since I was little. In kindergarten, my favorite thing to do was finger painting, so I would spend the whole time doing that. When I was eight, I started getting into jewelry. I would make all of the dinky rings that girls were making with seed beads. Then I started making rings and then would make earrings. I would give them out as gifts to people and started doing that. I started my jewelry business when I was 16. Before that, we lived in Hawaii and I had a Japanese neighbor. She made jewelry and would make all of the delicate and intricate pieces that the Japanese were known for. They were very delicate and tiny. I saw her stuff and was like, “Wow! Your stuff is amazing!” She had me come over one day. I was around 14 and she let me make something with her. I so got inspired through that and went to a local bead shop in Hawaii. The shop was fun. The girls that worked there were really stylish and were wearing all of their own pieces. They would show you how to make the pieces they were wearing, so I would pick up on their different techniques. I would go to the bead shop, play around with things, and then would learn on my own. I started my business in Hawaii, was in 3 or 4 boutiques and things grew from there.
What inspires your creative process or the inspiration for different lines?
I find inspiration through different cultures, what celebrities are wearing, or just a collection of random things. But really for me, inspiration comes when I see a random stone, piece, or metal. It just happens right away, and I begin putting things together. This is my creative process. I know some people begin with sketching, then choosing the metals, and going from there, but for me I like to be more hands-on. I like seeing what’s available, a concrete idea, and then it flows from there.
What forced you to start your business? Did it feel like a risk because you were so young?
Yeah, so I was still in school, so my time was actually really valuable. There was a lady that I babysat for. She was really stylish and shopped at all the cute boutiques in Hawaii. She was always dressed really cute and really encouraged me. I think she bought every piece I made. She actually got me into my first boutique in Hawaii. Just the thought of people wearing my jewelry really excited me. I loved the idea of people wearing one of my handcrafted pieces and feeling really beautiful in it. It could be sold in really nice, high-end boutiques in Hawaii and that excited me.
How does your space inspired you and help you go forward with your skillset?
I’m still trying to get inspired with my space. At the jewelry shop, my bench is really inspiring. The lady that works there really does inspire me. She carries fine jewelry. I’m kind of on the bridge of working with gold-filled items, diamonds, and real gold. That definitely inspires me to keep thinking of ways to creatively bridge the two worlds. At the shop, she’s working with real gold and diamonds all the time. I want to do that as well. So I think of myself as bridging the gap from casual everyday jewelry to fine jewelry. I’m kind of in between that stage right now which is inspiring and fun to play with. At the shop we also get in a lot of estate pieces, so that’s a lot of fun to see and play with. I’m still working on discovering where I get inspired.
What are some new opportunities you’re looking to grow your business in 2015?
I’m hoping to see more traffic through the website. I’m also hoping every month to add on a special or a particular spotlight piece that will only last that month. Hopefully I’ll be doing that and adding on promise rings. They’re really simple rings with diamonds in a bezel set. I would love to branch out in that and into fine jewelry, making simple rings for young girls that want promise rings, but don’t want something super expensive or the same as everyone else. All the promise rings look the same and don’t really go with modern jewelry of today. You wouldn’t wear them with knuckle rings or stacking jewelry pieces at all. I want to make something that would be different, but would still be cohesive with today’s jewelry trends.
How does this all work in Redding? What role do you feel your business plays in transforming the community here and the mindsets within Redding?
Integrating styles and cultures from around the world that Redding doesn’t get to see very often is something I strive for in my work. I’m making handcrafted things that are unique to one person and that can be available to other people. There’s something about quality too. I feel like here we don’t really have the same quality of clothing, accessories, and style of big cities. I feel like that is a niche I’m able to provide with the quality and the uniqueness that people desire. Where people can have one-of-a-kind pieces that stand out from most shops here. There’s something about pursuing what you love despite the limitations you have here. While the community of Redding isn’t a huge city, it is a community where people really do desire for local businesses to be successful. You’re surrounded by love, support, encouragement, and where people dream big dreams. Pushing forward with what you do have and finding an outlet where you can grow in your craft is huge. I actually learned silversmithing here at little local place. It was all elderly people who work on projects, they’re funny, some from Poland. One guy would just flat out tell you if your jewelry would look good or not and would tell me to do it over. You’ve just got to find the spots here where there are creators, but you have to look hard. It was in Anderson in this old house and I just became friends with them and learned how to do silversmithing. Then I worked my way up, now I’m working at a local jewelry shop. Through my business, I believe I’m transforming the idea that you can be a good artist here, despite some of the lack of certain things that help artists be inspired.
If you could give one piece of advice to small business owners, what would it be?
Don’t despise mere beginnings. To be honest moving this jewelry line to online sales and presence, and building out the website, was daunting. People have told me for a long, long time it was something I’ve needed to have. I knew the market in Redding was limited but was leary of expanding. I’ve always done school with jewelry. I didn’t want to move faster than what I was really capable of creating. Finally, I came to the realization of even if this is small, I still have to do it. It will move from there. Don’t think it has to be the best from the start or perfect. Often times, that will be what will keep me from starting. But I’m also realizing that’s not really being faithful with what you have been given. Pushing that fear away and realizing it’s about growth and moving forward any any area of life or business is huge.
Hadley’s jewelry is available for purchase online, at Floranthropist, or at Carousel. She will also be having a couple of jewelry shows in November, just in time for all your holiday shopping. Make sure to follow her on Instagram for all the details.