I didn’t go to school for this, my jewelry business Eclectique Accessories. I went to school for graphic design. But I am an artist. Thinking back to 2010, I remember my dad was like, “Okay now, this is one of a kind but how can you teach this to ten people?” I was like, “I don’t know, it’s here [points to her head]. How do I teach what’s in my head?” He kind of scared me. My father was a really amazing businessman. He was like, “You’ve got to do this, and this, and that.” I was like, “I just want to have fun and make jewelry and art!” But when you’re trying to mesh your artistic side with a business side, that’s not how things will go.
Over the years, I’ve learned that the world has definitely said, “Okay everything doesn’t have to be factory made, but we want factory outcome as far as the time.” It’s been a struggle with that. I wish I could do jewelry all day, but I got to pay the bills. So creating the time to actually create my jewelry is one of my struggles.
One thing for sure that I know that I don’t want to work the same as I before. I don’t want to have the same approach to my business as I did before. Trying to do it all was really tiring. I would ask myself “How am I supposed to do this, that, this, and that?” I’m a mom, a single mom at that. I have freelance work, I have my job, and I also do ministry. There’s my house, there’s me, there’s my son, you know? I want to do it all, but the question was how do I do it effectively? When that started to get to me, that’s when I knew I had to take a different approach.
My goal has really been to get up and spend some time with God before I do anything. Almost like winding down to wind up. I really try to hear from Him before I hear myself. When I have those days when I worship in the morning and I just give myself to God, there’s nothing else like it. It’s just getting up that’s the hard part. Most creatives like myself are night owls. I’m finding that the more that I put in that sacrifice, though, to get up earlier and sit still, it’s so much better for my work. Even just having that early morning to myself, whether it’s making something or doing something that most likely won’t get done later on in the day. There’s nothing else like it because there’s no distractions.
Before I start creating, I more or less know where I’m going as far as in what I’m going to make. I don’t really sketch anything out; only the technical stuff, like when I made the camera necklace. And the name necklaces; I have to visually see how I’m going to go about those. You have to think 3D in your head. But for the most part, my vision begins in my head and goes to the actual design.
I have antique and vintage broaches like crazy. I’ll put some of those in my designs. I’ll literally just lay them out and play with them at first. Then I’ll say, “Okay this is what I want to create.” I’ll take a picture of it, then put it aside, and start off with whatever I need and go from there.
The bibs are the most time consuming and they’re the most difficult because you want them to be bold without being overwhelming. I can wear almost anything bold, any and every day of the week. But, not everyone is that way. I know I have to learn how to design simple. A lot of people go with safe, which is why people love trends. Which is also why people usually look the same.
I guess I would say my Haitian culture has inspired my creativity a bit. Haitian women are not simple. I have my [Haitian] aunt’s name. You actually pronounce my name Sha-thal. Her dresses were couture and she always got them made. Her jewelry was just amazing, and bold, funky, and chunky. Just delicious all in one, and real. Her jewelry was always real. [Laughs] Having her influence, and the other Haitian women in my family definitely impacted me. There’s also art and color from my Columbian side that I really paid attention to growing up. But to be honest, my cultures don’t really affect my designs that much.
My aunt does love the jewelry I make and she will ask me to make stuff for her all the time. She’ll be like, “I want this!” She’ll very specific. I love it.
Right now, I can say that I really desire a business partner. I’m not just going to jump at anybody. They have to be as dedicated. Their strengths have to be my weaknesses and vice versa. We have to compliment one another. Whether it’s that this person has his or her own line and I have my own line and we come together or that person is great with technical issues or social media. I just know that being the only one is a lonely place. I know a lot of entrepreneurs feel that at times. Whenever I do shows and stuff, it’s always me and him [pointing to her son], or just me. I have had really amazing support from friends, but you know, it’s not always the same.
I will say, and this is something people who want to start a business should know, it’s isolating building your own brand. The truth is that no one will put the effort into it that you will. But also, people who don’t have their own brand or own passion project don’t always have the type of drive needed to run their own business. It’s kind of scary and intimidating and uncomfortable for people who don’t have it or get it.