A Mix-Cuff Bracelet
||Meet the Designer-Artist
Where do you live?
Describe your artistic style.
My style is classy and modern with a hint of vintage.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
My inspiration comes from me wanting every woman to feel beautiful. Whether it's a pair of earrings, or an entire jewelry set, I want my jewelry to make her feel Distinctly Different, Secretly Sexy and New.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Right now I'm really into Swarovski crystals and metals (gold-filled and sterling silver). I enjoy working with natural gemstones and beads as well.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
A Mix-Cuff Bracelet
What inspired this design?
I downloaded the instructions on how to make a cuff bracelet from wire. Aside from making earrings or wrapping a pendant, I'd never done any kind of freelance wire jewelry. This was my second cuff I made from a 2-page packet of instructions.
How did it come together?
Once the frame of the bracelet was complete, I went crazy! I've usually played it safe when it comes to colors, keeping things simple or with one or two hues. But this bracelet, with a copper base, was just calling for color! I purposely haven't sold it because it's truly one of my favorite pieces!
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I made my first piece in December 2008 right after my daughter was born. I loved the fact that I could make my own jewelry, because up until then I'd only worn diamonds! A month later, on January 29, 2009, my company, Jewelry By MiKai, LLC was born.
Who introduced you to beading?
My best friend Rosalyn showed me how to make a necklace. A trip to Michael's and $100 later I was hooked!
Do you have an artistic background?
Surprisingly, no. I'm an accountant by day and that was my primary study in school. As I've progressed and learned different techniques of beading, I've seen a side of my creative self that I never knew!
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
In 2009, I began to frequent a bead shop in Humble, where I took classes and even worked part-time during the summer of 2009. I stumbled upon your 2007-2008 catalog and I was amazed at all of the different choices of stones.
What other hobbies do you have?
I love to dance, exercise, read and I'm really starting to enjoy painting.
Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
No, unless you count my friends and I getting together to swap ideas or rather, they give me ideas and I bring them to life!
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Gosh! It's hard for me to go to bed at night without having sketched, downloaded a new project, purchased a new strand of beads or created a piece! I always tell my friends: "I bead, therefore I am." LOL. After my kids (for whom my company is named after), beading is my calming effect. I love having an idea in my head and seeing the finished product before me. I rarely ever sketch, and even then, most times my pieces have a little twist added to them! LOL.
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
Although I bead every day, I still consider it a part-time job, as I am still tied to Corporate America. I try to host a trunk show once a month to give my clients an opportunity to purchase pieces when they see them. I have a Facebook page with a pretty strong presence (currently 725 fans) and I also have a Facebook shop, where clients can purchase pieces. Online, I can also currently be found on my website, www.jewelrybymikai.com, WoogieWoo.com and Etsy.com.
My pieces can also be found at Pasha's Boutique in Clear Lake, TX.
In three years, on my 35th birthday, I'd love to be able to open up my own boutique and sell my jewelry as well as offer beading and wire-wrapping classes.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
In 2012, I will be creating a jewelry line for OUTSPOKEN Magazine, centered in Beaumont, TX, which focuses on empowering women who've been abused. I also donate my pieces to various fundraisers around the city.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
My only advice would be: Follow your heart. Follow your instinct. If you put your heart into your work, it will be well received. NEVER GIVE UP!