Friday, November 17, 2017

Feature Friday: Wind Blown Jewelry by Rachel Calhoun

I first stumbled upon Rachel's gorgeous minimalistic-inspired jewelry on Instagram. I became an instant fan and reached out to her to see if I could feature her and her beautiful pieces on my blog. She generously agreed and was so kind to send me a piece from her collection. The Horizon Necklace is now one of my favorite necklaces to wear and it goes with just about anything. I love how I can wear it with a nicer dress or pair it with a tee-shirt and jeans for a more casual look. I've since ordered myself a pair of her Staple Earrings and they are the perfect everyday earrings.

Rachel was so kind to answer some of my questions about what goes into owning and operating a small business, what inspires her when designing jewelry, and even what her favorite social media outlet is...(hint: it's the same as mine!) :)

What made you decide to begin designing jewelry and how did Wind Blown come to be? 

I began making and selling jewelry when I was in middle school. I had learned to make jewelry from a sweet lady in a tiny bead shop up the road, and began selling jewelry because I was raising money to go on a trip to Italy. I had my brother design me a logo and place it on top of a pink and purple color palette. I put my $8 earrings on small business cards that said “Earrings by Rachel” HA! I was so bold, selling wherever I went. I even sat outside our local grocery store on a Sunday and made hundreds of dollars selling my earrings for my trip! I walked into little boutiques with confidence and walked out having sold inventory to store owners, with cash in hand! (I often try to tap back into that middle school mentality. Fear of people is foreign to little ones!)

Fast forward to college aged Rachel. I continued to make jewelry all those years and got a job at a boutique in Wrightsville Beach called Hallelu. I began selling my work in the store and the response was extremely positive. I created a website and termed my business Wind Blown. This was 2012. I moved, graduated college, and got married and continued Wind Blown, all the while attending pop up markets when I could. It was just something I could never get away from. My hands LOVED creating new designs, organizing displays for my markets, and the response was always encouraging. Wind Blown was always my dream job and being able to pursue it full time was the goal. 2017 is the year that goal was realized and I was able to focus solely on Wind Blown. I spent the last year and a half desperately trying to find a “big girl job” that would pay the bills and have benefits. I channelled all my frustration into working on Wind Blown, trying to grow it and get it to the point where it could meet our families needs. I am thrilled to say that as of 2017 Wind Blown is my FULL TIME JOB! It doesn’t even make sense that I get to do this for a living, but I am incredibly grateful. Also my husband is a CHAMP for supporting me all of these years and helping make this dream a reality. I could NOT have done it without him. #WilliamRocks

What inspires your work the most? 

Brass and gold have my heart! It could be because they look good with my coloring (holler back redheads!), or because they are just the most beautiful :) . I have stopped even trying to make things with silver because it just doesn’t speak to me the way brass and gold do. All of my designs are built around simplicity. I love how easily a few lines or curves can become a beautiful piece of jewelry!

What is your favorite piece of jewelry and why? 

This is a tough question! I love all of my pieces and that is why they came into existence. All of my jewelry is designed in such a way that it adds effortless style to your look. Which is one major reason I enjoy wearing my jewelry. The line goes with everything, so it creates this easy throw it on in the morning situation which is good for me because I don’t have much time or thought to spare in the morning!

If I had to focus on one piece, I would say the warrior necklace. The horizon was my literal everyday necklace last year and this year I have switched to the warrior. Something about it makes me feel bolder, like a go getter, slightly ferocious even, which is necessary when building a small business. It makes a statement without being obnoxious and I feel like a boss when I put it on.

Can you describe your work space and what is your favorite time of day to work? 

I do most of my work out of our studio space in our home. It is nothing fancy but is all I need to escape and delve into the creative realm! I occasionally work out of the craft center at NC State or Pullen Arts Center-both have metals studios. I am a big fan of going to coffee shops to work when I am doing administrative work so I don’t get distracted by the laundry that needs to be done or that dust bunny in the corner. I also love people, so being out and about feeds my soul. MORNING is my most productive time. I haven’t always been this way, but the older I get the more of a morning person I have become. I separate my tasks out so that the most mind intensive tasks like emailing, ordering, scheduling, outreach, etc happen in the morning and then save making product for later in the day when I need a mental break.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to start a small business? 

Do not compare yourself or your business with others! It steals joy SO quickly! Instead, focus on your business and how much you enjoy what you do. It is good to remember that success is easily seen, but the hard work and long hours that it took to get there are often masked. I make it a practice to thank God for every single sale and new opportunity which helps me remain grateful and at peace with where my business is!

What is your favorite social media platform? 

Instagram, Instagram, Instagram! I LOVE Instagram. There is something so fun about the visual emphasis that Instagram allows and promotes. Every time I post I feel like I release a tiny little art project. Instagram also allows me to keep in contact with my customers and followers in a really organic way, which is great!

If you'd like to shop Rachel's jewelry line than visit her website here and stock up on some very cool everyday pieces! If you are on Instagram check her out here and follow her design journey. Thank you, Rachel, for sharing your passion for jewelry design with us. I for one can't wait to see what you create next!

Photography by Copper Creatives & Jenn Hall 

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