Once upon a time, I was inspired by hand-stamped baby spoons and butter knives I saw on the coast of Maine. I bought vintage silverware and learnt to painstakingly stamp them with letters as housewarming or new baby gifts.
Stamping letters on these uneven surfaces was difficult but friends loved their personal nature. Once I had the skill to personalize silver, I really wanted to find flat charms to stamp my kids' letters and names.
Watching my eldest son, Thomas, age three, march off into the schoolyard wearing a red knapsack bigger than him, made me want to reach out and hold onto him forever. So, I searched the city for flat silver beads and I made myself a necklace with the letters of my two boys.
When I dropped my son off for school, I loved having his initials (‘love letters’, as I called them) around my neck reminding me he was always with me. I gave the same necklace to my sister Kathy (Kathryn). Everyone wanted one. So, our “Kathryn love letters” were born. I sold them to almost every mom in the school yard.
People began asking me for other shapes, charms, birthstones and bracelet charms with letters and names on it.
I told them I only had one necklace.
So, I googled “sterling silver jewelry”. Taxco (Mexico) popped up on my screen; I saw photos of silversmiths, beautiful jewelry shops and a mysterious hillside town that beckoned. With money in my pocket from selling my Kathryn love letter necklace, I was determined to build my line. I craved adventure and a creative outlet.
My sister and I went there and drew pictures of all the shapes we wanted with thick sterling silver quality charms we could stamp beautifully. More simple but original shapes were moulded and created, Brenda birthstones (named after our Grandmother) were designed to mix with the charms. We had the beginning of a small personal jewelry line!
The sterling silver pieces were finally thick enough to letter press with a hammer but as tiny and delicate as they were fierce. Fierce with truth. Fierce because they were meaningful and hand stamped with what people wanted.
Customers and friends shared their stories and came up with amazing words - LIVE, LOVE GROWS LOVE, LIVE YOUR TRUTH, FAMILY, EXPLORE, DREAM TRAVEL LIVE, ADVENTURE, LIFE IS NOW. I loved the window my little business gave me into peoples lives. And the school-yard moms are powerful marketers.
Word of mouth built the business. The reps came - now 25 of them. The first one asked me on the beach in Maine where I was first inspired by the hand stamped butter knives; our boys building sand castles while we chatted.
Close to 10 years later, our story continues only we have also travelled further afield to places like Thailand for suppliers, expanded the business with dozens of new designs, meaningful charms and “tell your story necklaces” which is seen weekly on CTV’s and Fox’s The Listener across North America.
I work with 25 amazing woman - many of them moms like me - who now also have the wonderful creative outlet and satisfaction of running their own business, letter pressing beautiful words for others and creating personal jewelry to celebrate loved ones.
The product I created to keep my children, Thomas and Charlie, close to my heart, now helps support them. It also provides other woman with the same creative outlet that I so badly craved in my life. My hobby is now my full-time job - selling jewelry that tells a story.
So, "our story" is really now about our customers' stories and how they use our charms to celebrate their life, their aspirations, their family and their loved ones.
What story will your jewelry tell?