A brief story of what you do and why you do it.
As long as I can remember, I’ve been producing and designing. Creating art has always been innate, starting from when I was very young. I focused on and did my concentration in printmaking and photography which led to working with metal. I instantly fell in love with the malleable quality of printing on the new material and transformed that love from the 2-D realm into 3-D. Before graduating, I was eager to get a job apprenticing for a jeweler who taught me everything he knew. It was there I honed my craft for design, learned about production, and the techniques needed to design and construct quality product. From there I have been in almost every aspect of the jewelry industry, obviously starting with manufacturing, landing myself a position in a retail store doing sales, merchandising, managing inventory and orders, working with larger manufacturing plants to stock the store and designing printed advertisements. From there, I was working as a production manager for a high-end jeweler, sourcing materials, meeting price points and deadlines for delivery with special orders for high end clientele. I started Flaca Jewelry after dabbling in all of these fields because I believed in myself and my designs. I left my job and took a risk and have been throwing myself into making Flaca as successful as possible since. I did it because I love it, I am passionate about my designs. I love working with my team of jewelers and feel fulfilled seeing people wear my designs, enjoy them, and ask when new pieces are coming out. I’ve gained a loyal group of followers who are enthusiastic about the product and because of that, I know I made the right decision to follow my dreams.
How did you get into jewelry design?
I've always designed jewelry. In High School I had an internship with a prevalent jeweler who had me on the production bench which included wire wrapping and bead stringing. From there I continued to design and produce pieces in college for local boutiques and family friends. After I graduated, I got an apprenticeship working on the bench where I learned how to set stones, size rings, work with 14kt, 18kt, platinum and sterling silver, create custom designs, dabble with CAD and casting, and much more. I’ve been in the industry ever since and have never looked back.
What makes your collection unique?
Flaca Jewelry is a new company and has a lot of unique qualities. We blend classic designs such as a simple halo motif, or round piece, with modern elements such as a spike or fringe. By doing so, we’re able to target multiple age groups, hitting numerous price points, making the line available to a much larger audience. Flaca is unlike anything you’ve seen because it’s totally wearable. We target the woman who likes to accessorize, who likes to travel, who enjoys exploration, who is eccentric, and who loves jewelry. We don’t just sell jewelry, Flaca is unique because it targets a lifestyle.
What are your inspirations?
Flaca Jewelry draws inspiration from living in the hustle bustle of New York City combined with the serenity that exists right outside it. You can see these elements displayed through our angular pieces and our cool, subdued color palette.
How are you making a difference in your life?
Flaca Jewelry has become my life. As many new companies and start ups, I’ve devoted my time and life to my art. Everyday there’s a challenge or a new obstacle to overcome, but it’s incredible rewarding and I love seeing the beautiful product after each new design is finalized.
What's something unusual about you that makes you “you”?
Something that separates me from other designers and makes me unique is my years of jewelry bench training. A lot of designers have great ideas but have trouble constructing them because of their lack of bench knowledge. Having been able to sit on the bench and construct jewelry, both for myself and for other designers, I’ve learned what is and what is not possible and it has helped me immensely!
What's the biggest struggle in running your jewelry business like a business? OR What is your biggest success in running your business like a business?
There are many struggles in opening and operating your own jewelry business. A lot of issues for me initially came from aligning the product and price to the consumer. We had a lot of great designs but they were pricing out too high and weren’t representative of who we were targeting. Re-aligning the designs to more appropriate price points, re-structuring the line sheets and learning to “give up” some favorite designs were a struggle, but since then, our line has been picked up by new accounts! Learning how to say “OK” and move on has been the biggest take away for me personally: decisions need to be made and if they’re wrong, learn for next time. Building a business isn’t linear, it has a lot of ups and a lot of downs and I believe being able to learn how to be resilient and be ok with “failures” is key. Trust in yourself 🙂
Flaca Jewelry, a new collection by NYC designer Amy Shepsman, is a sophisticated, wearable jewelry line that exudes feminine beauty and independence. Inspired by the colors of nature and life in New York City, Shepsman combines her years of jewelry bench training with a degree in Fine Arts from Cornell University to bring her classic designs to life. Flaca Jewelry is made in NYC by craftspeople who understand quality in design and fabrication. Using expert artistry and craftsmanship to blend elements of modern and antique design, Flaca Jewelry is timeless chic jewelry with a contemporary edge.