At the end of 2011, I was at a crossroads. I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and needed a mastectomy. My work as a studio photographer, a physical job involving heavy cameras and equipment, would no longer be possible. I had to switch career paths.
I discovered the world of jewelry crafting.
To keep busy during my medical treatment, I took a range of jewelry design classes in the local area. The materials and jewelry making techniques were as varied as the teacher and class participants. Much to my surprise, I found a creative outlet for myself, one that would capitalize on my artistic and entrepreneurial skills.
Designing and making jewelry was the perfect solution.
For nearly two years, I wore a different scarf, mostly to be fashionable, keep my neck warm and cover my temporarily bald head. Over time, I embraced the practicality and versatility of the scarf and I applied this approach to my new craft.
I knew my designs had to incorporate sensible, yet attractive, embellishments. But, where does one begin?
With millions of beads to choose from, in a myriad of shapes and sizes, coupled with thousands of stringing textiles, the selection of materials was overwhelming. After much consideration, I decided not to use precious stones in my designs, because they would make the jewelry unaffordable for most women. I chose leather as my stringing material because it was readily available in many colors, finishes and sizes. Leather provides a limitless palette to work with and it is the constant in all of my designs. And, last, to ensure that each piece could be easily put on and removed, I incorporated large secure clasps that were both functional and good-looking.
The Lizzy Wrap was born…a bracelet that can also be worn as a necklace!
I converted my now closed photography studio, located in the seaside village of Del Mar, California, into a retail boutique selling handmade jewelry by local artisans, myself included. Within a short period of time, I developed a following for my signature Lizzy wraps.
As a next step, I took a booth at a retail trade show in San Francisco to introduce and sell my growing Lizzy wrap collection. The response was tremendous.
Long story short...
Lizzy James inc is now a family enterprise. My devoted husband manages the infrastructure of the business. Our creative son provides videos for the LizzyJames.com website and social media accounts.
Our creative, supportive and multi-talented staff, whom I adore both professionally and personally, completes the Lizzy James family.
I truly enjoy meeting and forming relationships with retailers at trade shows and connecting with both customers and retailers on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
Please join me on this creative, inspirational and surprising journey - filled with passion.