Do what you love: Spiffing Jewelry

annie of spiffing jewelry

Annie is a 20-something wife and entrepreneur, juggling her growing business, marriage, housekeeping and the occasional shopping trip. She has been married to her high school sweetheart of 10 years for the last 4, and they’re planning to make this a husband and wife team in the near future. She was born and raised in San Diego, but love to travel as much as time allows, as long as there’s something fabulous to eat wherever she’s going. She’s a crafter, foodie, and a type-A Virgo, who loves to control every little thing about her life. She’s also a tremendous nerd, and a high maintenance self-styled bombshell.

1. Tell me how and when everything started.
I started making jewelry out of one part craftiness, two parts thriftiness. I would see things I wanted and say to myself “I could make that.” I was also dirt poor, and planning a DIY wedding on a budget. So I decided to DIY-up some bracelets for my bridesmaids, and was left with a bunch of random beads. Thus my first necklace was born, and things snowballed from there. I’d be grocery shopping and someone would compliment me on my necklace, and ask me if I sold my jewelry or had a card. Why didn’t I? So I did. It wasn’t until early 2010 when I got my first metal stamps and the accompanying tools that I started to really delve into all of the other facets of making jewelry, and I’ve since learned to never stop learning new techniques.

2. When did you first know that you wanted to be your own boss?
When I was berated at my day job for making a typo. I am such a hardcore perfectionist by nature, and I would (and still do) beat myself up if I am anything less than perfect. (It’s a bit of a personality disorder, but I’ve learned to cope, mostly with sushi, wine and dessert.) I was miserable working so very hard, pouring so very much of myself into a job I hated, working for people who didn’t understand or begin to appreciate what I was doing, let alone what I could be doing. I made that decision well before I ever thought it was an actual possibility.

spiffing jewelry rings
3. If you weren’t a business owner, what would you like to be doing?
I’d be an author! I’ve half-written so many novels it’s dizzying. My favorite, and one that I will eventually come back to, once I get to a place where I actually have “free” time again, is a romance novel where the characters are based on myself, my husband and my other friends. It’s about what my life would be like if everything was exactly the same, but my husband was turned into a vampire. (And before you roll those eyes, yes. I know. It’s a vampire book. I probably won’t even try to publish it.)

4. Tell us about your fabulous store and what products or serviced do you offered?
I like to think my store is split up into three basic sections; personalized jewelry, which, technically, is everything I have for sale, because I stamp each piece to order, I can make anything I offer in just about any color, font, metal, shape or size, and stamped with anything you can dream of; geekery, which includes pieces inspired by everything from Winnie the Pooh to Star Wars (including my famous Han & Leia wedding bands); and generally cute things, like my beaded earrings, shell jewelry, and pre-designed stamped jewelry, with quotes about friendship, love, happiness, and various other cheesy, yet lovely self-affirming phrases.
spiffing jewelry studio
5. How would you describe your personal style?
Oh boy, that’s opening a can of worms right there. I personally love retro-styled clothing, makeup and hair, and given the funding and skills, would rock a 40’s/50’s look every day, but most days I’m at home stamping jewelry, and I’ll rock a nerdy t-shirt and jeans. I’m a shoe hound though, and even if I wear the most basic outfit, my shoes will be fabulous. I’m also a bit fickle when it comes to my hair, I have a different cut/color pretty much every month. It’s become such a *thing* that I’m pretty sure I’m going to start a blog about it.

6. Who is your favorite designer?
Kate Spade! The simple retro styling and bright pops of color have ‘Annie’ written all over it. I just got my first Kate Spade bag a few weeks ago and I’m itching for more. Shoes! Purses! Cell Phone Cases! Clothes! Oh my.

7. If you had a choice of all designers in the world, who would you prefer to work for? Why?
It sounds redundant, but also, Kate Spade. I think we’re such a style-match that it’s almost silly. Modern yet retro, minimalist and still fabulous. If I let myself imagine the possibilities, I would weep knowing how wonderful it would be, given the resources to make things that I can only dream of.

sterling lat long cuff
8. Are there any special projects you would like to work on?
I’d love to some day have the space/facilities to have a kiln and a torch setup. Right now, working out of our 2nd bedroom of our apartment, I can’t so much pop an acetylene torch and solder to my hearts content. I have a little creme brule torch for odd jobs, but I want to be able to expand my line to a full line up of metal work.

9. Which magazines do you read? Which magazine is your favorite?
I love magazines like Martha Stewart Living, Gourmet and Real Simple. I love to be inspired by other’s handiwork and craftiness, recipes and such. Martha Stewart is my favorite, because it covers everything. I could find a fabulous DIY project and a dozen delicious recipes in the same place.

10. What do you see on stores that you think is really great?
I absolutely die when I see classic prints, houndstooth, pinstripes, herringbone, damask. It can be on anything from a fab jacket or skirt to a wing chair or sofa. I want it all!

spiffing jewelry earrings
11. What do you do in your down time?
There’s down time? Where do I sign up for that? Ohhh I kid. Mr. Spiffing and I like to dine out (I’m a bit of a foodie) or cook gourmet meals at home together. We have a monthly supper club for our friends, where I prepare a 3-course meal including drinks for $10, it’s always a blast and a challenge. We’re also Disney Freaks. We go to Disneyland at least once a month (we’re pass holders, you see. Snobby Disneylanders who know the back way to everything and look down upon those who bother to wait in line for anything.) And of course, we love the movies. Summer is our prime season, we hit the pub and see a movie just about every Friday night these days.

12. What motivates you?
Right now? I’m saving for a house. It’s something I never thought would be a remote possibility living in San Diego, but every day it becomes more of a reality. I push myself to come up with new and different things knowing that THAT is what’s going to keep my business moving, what’s going to keep sales coming in and help our savings grow. Since I’d been so used to being beyond broke ( $3.64-cents-in-my-checking-account-broke) having some financial stability is such a crazy good feeling. So while it would be more prudent to say anything other than, “I’m doing it for the money.” I really am doing it for the money. In a round-about way.

13. What’s next for you?
I want to sell to more local boutiques! Right now I sell to a boutique in Malibu, one in Jersey, another in Aspen… but I’ve never been to any of those places. I want to walk into a store and see my things for sale. That would be an incredible feeling!

Thanks to Annie of Spiffing Jewelry for sharing her story. You can visit Spiffing Jewelry for more info!

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Author: Rose Wheeler

Hey, I'm Rose! I work with words on a daily basis as a content manager and writer. When I'm not working with my awesome clients, I enjoy cooking, yoga, styling, blogging and curling up with a good book.

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