Hello, loves! We’re kicking off this beautiful Friday morning with our latest Featured Artist spotlight! We are excited to introduce you to the wonderful Tracy Kennedy, owner and designer behind Rustic Gem Jewelry. Her story is unique about how she got started with her business; wait until you hear it all from the artist herself! Read on for the story of how she began and where Rustic Gem Jewelry is today, plus see our hand-picked jewelry finds from her shop. There’s so much to love in her collection! Enjoy!
Rustic Gem Jewelry
Without further adieu, take it away, Tracy!
The Story of Rustic Gem Jewelry
by Tracy Kennedy | designer
“Sometimes you have to literally be knocked off of your feet to find your calling in life. That’s what happened to me after my doctor ordered I stay in bed 11 weeks after showing signs of severe preeclampsia during my pregnancy. I’d say, by far, the worst symptom I endured during this whole ordeal was being bored out of my mind. You see, anyone who knows me knows that I can’t just sit by the sidelines. I’m constantly on the move and if something needs to be done, I get it done!”
“Leading up to my husband and I’s decision to start a family, I spent many years in the corporate world putting my Master’s degree to work in the field of Human Resources, including many years of providing HR consulting and leadership training to non-profit organizations. So now, being confined to bed-rest, I could not sit still! I needed an outlet for my productivity.”
“I was bitten by the crafting bug early on and had developed a deep joy for it. Just ask my friends how many hand-made gifts they’d received from me over the years, including candles, mosaics, you name it. Who knows if they actually liked these items, but I sure loved making them! Now, sitting in bed, with lots of time to spare, I decided it was time to get back into crafting, and this time I was going to combine it with my other obsession – my love for fashion! So instead of taking naps and binge watching shows on Netflix, I taught myself how to make jewelry, because dammit, if I was going to be on bedrest, at least I could accessorize!”
“I quickly enlisted my best friend Charyl, whom I had known since we were both 12. Growing up we shared many creative outlets and this was no exception! Over that summer we designed and crafted a bunch of jewelry together. Of course, I couldn’t help but imagine what it might be like to turn this crafting into an actual business (and besides, what do you do with 400 pairs of earrings?!). Looking back, the time spent definitely got me through a very long, bedridden summer, which eventually resulted in two births–one being my second son, who was born happy and healthy, and the other, a new business that we officially named Rustic Gem Jewelry!”
“Fast forward to 2017. I’m happy to report that Rustic Gem Jewelry is thriving and stronger than ever! For the last several years Rustic Gem has had sales of over $100k per year with over 12,000 items sold alone on Etsy. At the time of this article, I have 1,300 Instagram followers, 3,500 Facebook followers and 8,500 followers on Pinterest. A large part of my increased revenue is due to my expansion into the bridal industry, and most recently, the wholesale world. I also host an annual jewelry party at my home where I invite some of my best customers, who are then encouraged to invite their friends. I had upwards of 75 ladies in my house during the last event! Not only was it a success, it was a blast!”
“To make sure my business grows, I reinvest a lot of my profits back into it. Recently, I transformed an old office in my home to a brand new, spacious studio space complete with vibrant turquoise walls and coral zebra print wallpaper. Now I can better organize my supplies and inventory, and continue to be inspired doing what I love – design.”
“You won’t believe how creating your own dedicated space with a cool vibe can help boost productivity. It also makes my business feel more established, and official. The best part? I get to work from home surrounded by nature and my animals, and then able to pick up my two rambunctious boys from school every day–and be a mom! Not sure if it gets any better than that.”
“Charyl still helps from time to time, but today she’s busy teaching and raising a child of her own. In her absence, I decided to hire my very own assistant, something I felt very excited about. I needed this person to help me with everyday operational duties such as social media, industry research, admin and photography, which is a huge and very important part of this business, and up until now, was something I had become very accustomed to doing myself.”
<img src=”https://emmalinebride.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/orange-and-gold-dangle-earrings-680×907.jpg” alt=”Rustic Gem Jewelry” width=”680″ height=”907″ class=”aligncenter size-large wp-image-156315″ />
“With an assistant in place, I’m now able to focus on creating new jewelry designs, as well as researching the latest trends and sourcing the best materials for my products. It’s funny how things work out. What started as a small crafting hobby during a pretty rough time, has evolved into an action-packed, successful small business. There were definitely a few bumps along the way, but with a little persistence, plenty of moxie, and support from family and friends, I’ve persevered and I’m continuing to fulfill my small business dream and creative passion. When you look at it that way, I’m a pretty lucky lady.”
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Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful story with us, Tracy!
Love what you see here? Want to find more jewelry from Tracy? Click to visit her shop for the latest products. She has some amazing jewelry pieces that would make perfect bridesmaid gifts. Rustic Gem Jewelry is a Featured Artist in The Marketplace at Emmaline Bride. We love working with Tracy, and you will, too!