FILED IN: Small Business Spotlight
Posted By: Jamie
Today we have some serious pretty coming your way. Alison Jefferies is the founder and lead designer of J'adorn Designs, a handmade jewelry studio. We've always loved her bridal and bridal party pieces so it only made sense that we reached out to her to create a few custom pieces for our brand new Floral Girl gift design! More about this in a bit but for now, let's hear from the brains and creativity behind these beautiful designs.
Image credit: Carolyn Thombs Fine Art and Photography
Q:Where are you from?
A: I hail from the City of Brotherly Love! I was born and raised in the northern suburbs of Philadelphia; it’s also where I settled and worked after college. Baltimore has now been my home for about 4 years, but I’ll always be a Philly girl at heart.
Q:When did you start J’Adorn Designs?
A: J’Adorn Designs was founded in early 2012 when I found myself jobless in a new city. My career field at the time was international education, but I left my job at a university in Philadelphia to move to Baltimore when I married my husband. Always being the artistic type, I decided to revisit my old hobby of making jewelry as a creative outlet while I sent out resumes. However, it quickly became apparent that my “hobby” was growing into something more significant as friends and family took notice of my designs. Three and a half years later, J’Adorn Designs is my full time job and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Image Credit: Allison Hopperstad Photography
Q: What is something interesting thing about you?
A: I am a bunnymama! My husband and I have a 3 year old rescue rabbit named Peter Bun who is full of sass and snuggles. I like to call him the “official mascot” of J’Adorn Designs.
Q: What inspires your designs?
A: I draw a lot of inspiration from the natural world, particularly floral and plant life. I’m a big gardener and I’m endlessly inspired by the combinations of colors, textures, and patterns that occur in nature. I also love to follow fashion trends to stay abreast of the colors, shapes, and styles that my clients are wearing, so I can design the perfect jewelry to match. My personal style is one that mixes timeless style with trendy pieces, and I think this translates into my work.
Q: When did you first become interested in designing jewelry?
A: Jewelry making has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been a very creative person, so I was the kid on the playground who was making friendship bracelets for the other kids! In high school, I made a lot of hemp jewelry, and after college I decided to teach myself the basics of wire work and beading using books from the library. Bridal jewelry showed up on my radar when I was planning my own wedding and realized that there was a huge gap in the market between mass produced fashion (junk) jewelry and the fine jewelry that would be more of an investment piece. I wanted something cute, custom, and durable for my bridesmaids to wear, so I created a matching set of earrings and necklaces using freshwater pearls, sea glass, and sterling silver metals. They still wear that jewelry four years later!
Q: What has been the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of working in the creative field?
A: My greatest challenge has been learning how to motivate and challenge myself when my work is essentially a one-woman enterprise. Especially in the early years of my business when I was still gaining momentum and getting to know people in my new city, it was easy to become discouraged and let that feeling of “being stuck” hold me back from pushing myself to do the work that I needed to do to build the foundation for my business. There are still challenging days, but I have learned that the only way to get past the slump is to work straight through it. The most rewarding part of what I do is the sense of connection that happens when my work really resonates with a client. Hearing from a bride that the earrings I created are the perfect gift for her bridesmaids, or from a custom jewelry client that they’re thrilled to see their vision come to life means so much to me as a designer. It’s a great feeling to have someone else share my enthusiasm for the pieces that I create.
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring designers?
A: Just do it! There are always a million reasons to hold you back, but if you know in your heart that this is your life’s work you will make a way. Grow your design business on the side of another job, connect to other designers to help propel one another forward, and embrace the process. Chances are you won’t have overnight success, but if you are faithful to the work, educate yourself, and surround yourself with like-minded community, good things will happen.
Q: Tell us a about how you came up with the pieces for the Marigold & Grey flower girl gifts? What do you most look forward to about the collaboration?
A: My design process for the pieces that are in the Marigold & Grey flower girl gifts was actually very similar to how I work with my custom clients to create one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces. Jamie and I talked about her vision for the entire gift, which included the aesthetic, price point, and how it would fit into the range of other gifts she would be offering for the rest of the bridal party. Jamie was able to take a look at the pieces I already offered in my pre-designed bridal collection and use that as a jumping point for discussing the customized pieces I would create for the Marigold & Grey gift. We decided on the ivory floral lace pieces that are currently in the flower girl gift because they offer a personal accessory to the recipient while being versatile enough to match a variety of wedding style & color palettes. The adjustable length of the bracelet makes it a suitable piece for flower girls of all ages, from toddlers to to tweens. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the brides who purchase this gift choose to incorporate the hair clip & bracelet into their wedding day look!
Image credit: Abby Jiu Photography
Thank you Alison for your time today! We will be featuring another business owner soon on our blog!