“Where’d you get those earrings?” It was during study hall in high school and I was asking a girl a grade ahead of me named Leah. “Oh,” she replied, “I made them!” Pleasantly surprised, I was like wow, cool, the coolest—or so I thought. Unfortunately, some would discredit her genius gems by questioning the difficulty in the pair’s design. Sure, while the actual construction might not have been extremely advanced (seemed to be a puncturing of a metal bottle cap and an insertion of a hook), the actual idea behind the designer’s creations was extremely modern. Leah and I lived close to one another in the same small community and we soon became friends, bonding over goofy inclinations and inklings of travel. Her creativity and confidence were endearing qualities that I always admired; I mean, she was “upcycling” bottle caps into earrings before DIY was the next BIG thing!
Last year, I moved to New York and found myself living in Greenpoint, bordering Williamsburg. I was fresh out of college and it was a pleasant surprise to again find myself as part of a community. I soon became acquainted with that little Polish neighborhood of artistry, couples, industrialism, and families, often exploring the many mom-and-pop shops and local artisans’ offerings. Working in the city, I soon realized that Leah’s office wasn’t far from mine in the same area of the Fashion District—how funny life is to have an adolescent memory catch up with you in adulthood.
We did catch-up, on a meet-up one day, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she was still making jewelry. An FIT graduate, she was working for a popular brand while developing her own brand. I had actually seen some of her work on her Facebook page and was eager to own my own piece. During our talk I placed an order, which she accepted and promised to fill right away. It’s no surprise that Leah’s work has gained popularity (a former schoolmate even asked her to design her wedding bands) since her creative confidence is reflected in her line.
Now on Etsy.com, Leah Rose Damour Jewlery is an eclectic mix of classically-constructed collections with a whimsical flare. Take my custom-made gold necklace: the quirky tooth, an upcycled crest from a local dentist, is a fun symbol of a deeper connection as my grandfather was a dentist and a person whom I adored, often draping me in his knowledge. When draped around my neck, the brilliantly-finished molar reminds me to think wisely because it reminds me of him. Etsy has enabled the connection of hundreds of thousands of artists like Leah to advertise and sell their creations to happy customers like myself.
Such a connection is shared between dozens of special occasion party-goers and a former colleague of mine who is exceptionally skilled in analysis, baking, and jewelry-making. Our Merchandising team members would showcase their hidden culinary talents, often times bringing in baked goods to share. My team’s Assistant Planner, Hilary, was always trying the latest baking gadgets and recipes; it was a truly delightful discovery to find that this stellar business grad also had a creative side! Unbeknownst to me at the time, Hilary was quite the entrepreneur who turned out to have her own merchandise online at Etsy in her bloom belle shop. Her line of floral jewelry designed for special occasions is named Hilary Caroline Jewlery and her name is now aligned with a successful launch of an online boutique based out of her hometown.
Home-made treats don’t have to be edible—with local artisan markets in places like Greenpoint or your hometown and with handmade marketplaces like Etsy bringing hometown designers from around the world to your computer —they can be wearable! Do you want to be pleasantly surprised? Look out for the Leah in your life or the Hilary in your hallway and make room for something sweet.