On Making, and a Living: When you feel like it’s just not enough.

People ask me not infrequently, “how’s the jewelry business going?” And nearly without fail, I fumble the response.

Because the truth is,  every time I think of our business, I think: I’ve got so much to learn and do before it will ever actually be anything. But no one wants to hear that, right?

When I think of our jewelry business, it feels like I’m drowning in the quicksand of to-do lists and questions I should probably be able to answer by now:

What space does jewelry deserve on the agenda when there are a hundred more pressing concerns that deserve your attention??  How can we add joy and value to the lives of our fans and customers?  What are we communicating about beauty, consumption and materialism through our work?

Also, how the heck did all these Instagram accounts get 5,000 followers, should that be our goal, and it if is, could we possibly attain it without selling our souls?

And where do we find more gorgeous blue agate stones like these and should we tag this one as colorful necklace, multicolor necklace, multi-color necklace, or probably none of these keywords at all?! 

So when people ask about Orendia, my first thought is the quicksand.  And I wonder if perhaps I’ll die a sandy death of Vapid Instagram Posts and Search Engine Impotence.

But I’ve been trying to think of it differently these days, because those quicksand moments require something solid to hold on to. Like remembering what we’re really trying to do, and why.

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Orendia was born  on the eve of a great adventure and in the middle of a personal low.  I was looking for something to remind me who I was, because I’d started to feel a bit lost and unsure if I’d find my way back.  I needed to remember that no matter how low I felt, I was still capable. Vibrant. And I was not on the journey alone.  So with Tiff at my house, I strung together a necklace to take across the country, and the adventure began.

When I returned home that Summer, we kept making necklaces and started dreaming about making jewelry that might somehow remind people who they were, too.  We wanted to be a catalyst for inspiration and adventuring. To embolden women across life stage and geography as they shape the world around them.  And to add a little more loveliness to the world along the way.

So we kept making necklaces.  Many for people we’d never met, many for acquaintances, family and friends.  And I never expected how meaningful it would be to connect with people over something as mundane as jewelry.  But our business has been a surprising opportunity to intersect with the journeys of women near and far, to see a different angle of their lives and learn even more about the beautiful, powerful women they are.

The loved one who’s divorced who tells you she’s buying this necklace as her one Christmas present to herself.

The coworker who wants to buy a Mother’s Day necklace from you for her coworker because “she’s pretty much my work mom.”

The stranger in North Carolina who finds your shop, buys one of our designs for herself, and then comes back to buy the same one for her friend two weeks later.

The roommate who wants to have a matching necklace with her Mom, when her Mom’s going through chemo.

So many times I see our jewelry on someone I know and can’t help but think – how awesome is this woman?? She is strong, she is beautiful, she is a force – and somehow, we get to be a tiny part of her life.

It’s in these moments of beauty and connection that I remember why we’re running a jewelry shop in the first place.

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So when people ask how the jewelry business is going, I don’t want to think of the quicksand of everything it feels like we still need to do, and learn and be.  I don’t want that quicksand in our business.  Or really, in our lives.

I want to remember what it feels like when you create something that makes someone else happy.  I want to remember how it feels to spend hours with your dear friend learning to build something together. I want to remember how crazy it is that of the millions of pieces of jewelry out there, every now and then someone finds us, chooses us, and hopefully, loves what they find.

And I’ll think of the hundreds of moments made possible by this little business we run, and say:

The jewelry business is great.”

And I’ll actually believe that right where we are, and all that we’ve done –  It’s enough. 

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