It's been a few year now since the "shop local" and "shop small businesses" movements have taken off. As a crafter I love the idea of supporting fellow crafters, and as a semi-crunchy person I love the idea of supporting local economies. But I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't really actually done it! This year it's going to be different. This year it's going to be thoughtful, and when possible, hand made and locally produced gifts.
My friend Anna runs Classically Romantic, an Etsy shop of all handmade jewelry. There are a few things that make her shop extra special. First, her name is also Anna. Automatic win! Second, we used to play in college orchestra together! (Go Orch Dorks!) Third, she makes all her jewelry right here in the Twin Cities. Her shop is full of beautiful, completely unique pieces of jewelry. When she said she wanted to give me Some pieces to style, and another piece to give away to you, I was totally pumped! She was also good enough to give us the inside scoop on what it's like to make crafting into a small business. I hope you'll read and be inspired to shop locally and handmade, and that you'll enter the giveaway (at the end!) and check out her shop. (All photos link back to the product listing)
Q: When and why did you start Classically Romantic?
A: Classically Romantic officially became a functioning business a couple years ago after college, but I tinkered with a hobby version of it for about a year before that. I've always been a maker, a crafter, an entrepreneur, and a colouring book enthusiast. Before Classically Romantic became Classically Romantic it was just a little girl selling stretchy beaded bracelets at her family's garage sale, trying to copy her grandma's handmade business.
Q: Is art and creativity something that runs in your family?
A: Yes! Though I might broaden this into 'the arts'. In my family we've got myself, a jewelry maker and former figure skater, my sister a classically trained pianist, my cousin a former ballet dancer and general arts enthusiast, her sister a maker of all sorts, an aunt who quilts, my mom who sews, my grandma who crocheted and also had a handmade business, and everyone else has worked something creative into their lives. It might be a love of literature, a glue gun and craft supplies, or a supporter of music. I can't tell you how many years we've all exchanged handmade Christmas gifts or saved craft store coupons for each other!
A: That's a bit of a tricky question. The CIA likes their operatives to maintain low profiles... haha! I have a 'day job' as a receptionist, and when I'm not doing that I'm either sleeping or working on something Etsy related! In the few hours I'm doing neither, I like reading, talking with friends, and listening to edutainment styled podcasts while I clean. My favourites are Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, Freakonomics, Radiolab, and This American Life. I know, I'm a wild woman.
Q: Would you like your jewelry business to become a full time gig eventually?
A: This is my long term goal! I would love to be a self-started business and making enough financially to work from home. Right now I'm not anywhere near that goal but I'm trying to learn and improve as I go. I would love to be featured in local boutiques and have my own website someday, I think that would be really neat.
A: The name Classically Romantic didn't exist until 2010 in my head. It has become very sentimental in my life, but it started out as merely a brainstorm of adjectives describing my personal style. I wish I would have kept the sheet of paper I wrote it all out on! Classic styles, the past, and beauty in nature are all ideas I want to reflect in my jewelry. This means I have lots of vintage or replica pieces, lots of florals, and lots of pearls and lace. The style of Classically Romantic is about femininity, beauty, and memories.
Q: How do your personality and interests come through in your jewelry? (ahem, Sherlock.)
A: Most of my shop is very woodland and vintage inspired, but I do have some really geeky stuff in there too... like the Sherlock pieces! I think that, to deny my shop the geeky reflection of me would be cheating... although I don't focus on the geeky, pop culture stuff as much because the themes are so fleeting. But they're very fun in the moment and in a cult classic way. Making pieces inspired by nerdy stuff is just as natural to me as making something inspired by a garden or my grandma's old jewelry. Bring on Sherlock, Doctor Who, or Harry Potter, I've got those supplies ready!
Q: What has been your favorite part of Classically Romantic so far?
A: By FAR my favourite part has just been seeing how much I've learned and grown over the months and years. I still remember how I shipped my first order. I had the good sense to use a bubble envelope to keep the necklace safe, but nothing else. I didn't have business cards, no actual packaging to speak of, I certainly didn't think to include a thank you note.... Don't worry, things are much better now! A close second, and nearly a tie to that would be seeing how happy people are at craft shows when they walk away with the perfect gift for their mom or sister. I try to keep things affordable so that someone doesn't have to make a sacrifice to buy a gift, or end up paying for a fancy name instead of a quality product. Providing something special to people is important to me and my business. I hope to never lose that idea.
When I received my own Classically Romantic pieces this first thing I noticed was the attention to detail in the packaging. I almost didn't want to open it, it was so beautiful. You could order a gift for someone and not need to do any gift wrapping.
The presentation of the jewelry inside the box was so intentional and really made the pieces look quite exquisite. A thank you note and business card were neatly tucked in and whole package looked and felt so professional and high quality, it's amazing to think it's all produced by one individual out of her home.
I love locket necklaces. I love the idea of carrying around the picture of a loved one right on top of your heart. Even before I became pregnant with Johnny I knew I wanted a locket to put a picture of my baby in. Anna has several lockets in her shop and I was thrilled when I saw one had been included on my package. This antique styled, book shaped locked is perfect. It's so nostalgic and looks like an heirloom, which I'm hoping it will become. I also love that this necklace is versatile. It could work with a casual outfit just as easily as with something dressy.
These earrings were another favorite of mine. I loved the simple yet classy look, and when I got them and tried them on I loved them even more. I put them on and instantly felt super fancy. That, my friends, is what a good pair of earring will do to you. And they are so light! I don't know if you wear a lot of long earrings, but most of them feel like long earring. In other words, they're really heavy. Not these pretty little things. They are so light and comfortable to wear, and they're really beautiful. These are going to be my Christmas Eve earring. And my New Years Eve earrings. Basically they are my any-time-I'm-dressing-up earrings.
Well, I hope you've enjoyed my raving as well as all my selfies. Now I hope you will enter the giveaway, then tell your friends to enter the giveaway, then go visit Classically Romantic and get a gift for your sister or mom or bff, or just for yourself! Use the coupon code COZYWINTER to receive 20% of any non-custom orders now through the end of January 2015!
a Rafflecopter giveaway