This is my first in a series of blog posts called Dreamers & Doers. I’ll be focusing on women who dared to break away from the corporate mold and go out on their own, to create the kind of life that they truly envisioned for themselves. The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.
ELIZA Designs LA truly embodies this. After working for many years as a top executive in the Entertainment Industry, she decided to take a chance and leave the stability and comfort of her lucrative career, leap out on her own, to create ELIZA Designs LA. She creates truly one of a kind pieces of unique, eye-catching jewelry. The stones she uses are carefully selected from around the world based on their unique energy, innate beauty, and their combined abilities to assist in soulful progress, and healing, in the life of the wearer. (ELIZA Designs LA)
It has felt through the ages that crystals, gems and stones, have a long documented history of use in healing work in practically every culture and religious tradition since the dawn of time. In our contemporary era, crystals are regularly employed in various healing therapies, because of their inherent ability to deeply enhance the table work experience for both the practitioner and client. By incorporating these gems into wearable jewelry, ELIZA Designs LA, hopes to inspire wearable healing pieces of art.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Growing up I always wanted to be a movie Director. It seemed glitzy, glamorous and powerful. I was also drawn to gems, jewels and objects of brilliant beauty, especially diamonds. As a child, I picked a ring from mom’s ‘costume jewelry’ and wore it religiously. I loved the sparkle of the ‘glass’ in the centerpiece. After wearing it but a short time, my friend Kelly’s father (an FBI agent) saw it on my hand and immediately identified the ‘glass’ as a real diamond. I think I was in 3rd grade! And so began my love of all things
Did you go to school to become a jeweler, or did you teach yourself how to create jewelry?
I did not go to school for jewelry, but I did take one private class. I’ve been doing this for years though and most of what I know, I taught myself. Once I decided to do this as a business, I had to abandon the hobby shops and find jewelry industry vendors. I had to teach myself the language of the jewelry – gauges, finishing material names, tools etc. I wasn’t getting by with referring to items as “clasp thingies”. As for making the jewelry, all of it is done by me, mostly by trial and error. For example, my ‘cages by eliza’ collection was designed and created by manipulating metal until I got it to work! I can’t tell you how beat up my fingers were and how many cages I abandoned when I first started making them.
How did you transition from your “day job”, to creating ELIZA Designs LA?
I was fortunate enough that I was able to create MORE time in my schedule to do something I had always loved to do as a hobby – make jewelry. I found that the pieces I was making and wearing were being commented on more and more. People wanted to know where they could buy them and were literally stopping me to ask. Approaching 40, I was already wondering if there was something else I could be doing that was more creative and had the ability to impact people in a meaningful way. It was synchronicity that the universe encouraged me to pursue my dream by presenting these confidence boosting encounters. Not long after, I decided to make the leap and create a business around this dream.
What are some of the biggest challenges that you face in your position now?
Trying to do it all with a team of under 5 people. Since I am not a brick and mortar store, it’s all about the online store and the social media presence to drive traffic. Today’s consumers are getting their shopping inspiration from Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Those channels require a constant flow of content. So for me, it was about learning a lot of new things at once and trying to do them all, as if I was a company that had 300 people devoted to the same project. Instead it was (and is) this tiny team, with a love of the product, and a belief in the ELIZA Designs LA brand. Together, we are charged with purchasing materials, making the jewelry, marketing the jewelry, product photography, photo shoots, financial planning, website jewelry write-ups, stone readings, social media content, customer relations, shipping and trunk shows!
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
Years of working in the logistical and business aspect of the entertainment industry, I love being creative. I also love working with the inherent beauty of these stones and figuring out the best way to accentuate that with other stones and metals. It never ceases to amaze me that nature has created something so exquisite, that in some cases has existed on earth for thousands of years. It seems so logical to me that something that has been on the planet for so long could have helpful energies! Finally, I enjoy interacting with people about their lives and seeing the types of stones that energetically speak to a specific need in their life. I can’t tell you how many times people are drawn to a piece, only to discover that the energy of the stone resonates with their present life situation.
What does an average day look like for you?
I’ve been in business for about 5 months, so much like television, each day has been very different. With the holidays, I was blessed with lots of custom orders that took priority over anything else. With the start of 2016, it is new custom orders, a mix of gem purchases, making pieces for Valentine’s Day, shipping orders, product shots, social media, website updates and working to expand the brand into local LA stores as well as into London.
What piece of advice would you give to other women who want to go out and create the kind of lives they only dream about?
Don’t quit your day job – yet. Keep doing what you are currently doing and start carving out more and more time to do your dream job. It will be tricky to do both, but keep at it until you have the kinks worked out for your dream job – logistically and financially. With any new endeavor, there will be moments of ‘what am I doing?’ and ‘I thought this was a good idea how?’ and if you know you have the safety of your day job, your work less from a place of fear and more from a place of power. Then when you make the jump to full time dream job, you’ll do it from a place of confidence. Have faith in yourself, be persistent, and as Henry David Thoreau said, “live the life you’ve imagined”
Check out her amazing line of jewelry at: http://elizadesignsla.com/ Custom orders are also available.
Images from Topanga Canyon shoot with Karen from Sustainable Daisy