Hello, fabulouses, and welcome back to the blog!
To help celebrate the two year anniversary of VIP, I decided to follow up with another one of my favorite handmade jewelry artisans. This fabulous jewelry artisan was the SECOND PERSON I EVER INTERVIEWED, and today is Throwback Thursday…soooo… *drum roll* Rachel Leathers of Hearts of Stone! Yay!
I absolutely love Hearts of Stone Jewelry because Rachel creates magnificent pieces with natural stones such as agate, jasper, and geode. Each piece is beautifully unique which makes her jewelry very appealing to the VIP–I am always a sucker for one of a kind pieces *wink* To be perfectly honest, I simply adore everything in the Hearts of Stone Etsy shop. My goodness! How will I ever decide which new piece to add to my collection? Hmmm….
Now, while I go browse Rachel Leather’s Etsy shop, y’all enjoy this fabulous VIP follow-up interview with jewelry artisan Rachel Leathers of Hearts of Stone Jewelry. :)
VIP: What’s new with Hearts of Stone?
Rachel: The newest thing that happened for HoSJ this past year was a new collection, the Black Hearts Collection. I had a heart-breaking break-up with a man [George] I loved who I thought I was planning a life with, but I found out he was seeing someone else whom he married. I discovered what a black-hearted person he really was, so the name of the collection was easy to come by! I wanted to take a bad and ugly situation and turn it into a positive situation, on many levels. Taking the black and gray hearts I already had, I came up with the collection as a way to spill my guts and do some healing along the way. Being busy and creative did the trick, and now I can add to the collection and continue to make pretty things, regardless of the original inspiration.
VIP: Are you working on any new projects? If so, spill the beans! *wink*
Rachel: My newest project for HoSJ is making a necklace to be gifted to the stylist for the next season of “The Bachelorette” in hopes it will be worn on the show! I have made a beautiful white jade heart that I plan to pair with lots of tiny crystals and smaller hearts, and call the necklace “Falling in Love”. Cascading chains will drip from the heart and create a waterfall effect. I’m excited about it and can’t wait to give you a picture! I’ll have duplicates available for sale in the shop, along with a rose quartz option.
VIP: What is your 2014 inspiration?
Rachel: My inspiration for 2014 is renewal and reclamation. Before I met George, I was a happy and content with myself, and part of my discovery after the break-up was the surprise that I wasn’t even happy when we were together. I had accomplished so much in my personal life before we met, and I want that back. I’ve already reclaimed my personal happiness, and now it’s time to get back the skinny body! Finding my joy again has been huge for me, and it will only show itself in my work. I haven’t really created much for HoSJ since the Black Hearts Collection…So, I’m so excited to make a necklace inspired by love, and I want to carry that over into an entire line. It will be a good year!
VIP: What is your 2014 motto?
Rachel: My motto for 2014 is to just give it a try. Regardless of what “it” is, I do best when I just jump in feet first and give something a go. Personally or professionally–it doesn’t matter. You never know until you try, right?
VIP: What color best describes you?
Rachel: Blue has always been my favorite color; however, these days red is what makes me happy! I want a new car and have my eye on a bright red one, my phone cover is red, and I bought a red raincoat that made me feel bold, LOL! Red is a passionate color, and I feel passionate about life right now, so…red it is!
VIP: What is your favorite song of 2014 thus far?
Rachel: My favorite song for this year is one that was a favorite five years ago when I was originally losing weight–Boz Scaggs’ “Get On The Natch”, from the album “Dig”. It’s like an anthem for me, and the song basically says small steps add up when you’re working towards a goal. It has a funky groove to it–it might not be a typical Boz song, but it speaks to me. I’ve been listening to him since I was 17, so his music has been part of my life’s soundtrack, and it is a kick-booty song to work out to!
VIP: Tell us a little bit about your new shop.
Rachel: The new shop is called Genuine Leathers Designs, which confuses a lot of people because there are NO leather garments or accessories! When I was in design school 23 years ago, it was a name I came up with for an assigned collection I designed. My instructor scolded me over it, since I only had one leather garment. I simply said, “but it’s my name.” She looked me in the eye and dead panned, “that’s funny.” How could I not use that to my advantage? And I understand the confusion, considering it is a line of men’s shirts made from 100% cotton!
My hope is to add to the line over the years and not just make shirts. They are fun casual shirts based on bowling/Hawaiian styles–I like to call them “A new twist on an old favorite!” What makes my shirts different is that I use bold prints, but instead of using the print all over the shirt, it is only on the front and back yokes. I then add coordinating solids at the rest of the body and collar to make said print stand out even more. I think a bold print needs a frame to make it special, and by only using the prints sparingly, I accomplish that. Several shirts also include coordinating prints, so each shirt has its own personality. They’re great for any age, from the hipster to the oldster!
VIP: What inspired you to start Genuine Leathers Designs?
Rachel: The inspiration for opening the new shop was to put myself back to work. I’ve been a professional seamstress for 24 years, and the economic downturn really hit me hard. The majority of my career was in the costume industry and work has been beyond sparse. I like the idea of working for myself, and if possible, hiring others to work for me for a change. I’d love to be able to put others back to work as well as myself, and since I’ve been active in the Made in America Movement, that has become part of my mission. Being an entrepreneur never crossed my mind until I began the jewelry and then the shirts. It has been very eye-opening and scary, but so very worth it. I just jumped feet first! Also, I recently participated in the 2014 Golden Globes gift lounge with GLD, displaying miniature shirts and gifting handkerchiefs to the attendees. I’m hopeful this will bring much needed exposure to the brand. 2014 should be a good year for shirts, too!