Designer Spotlight: Angie Howard
A brief story of what you do and why you do it.
Several years ago I got to spend some time in Hong Kong Kong which exposed me to the jade market and a variety of beautiful natural stones. I began using my long-neglected creative abilities to craft one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces. After 25 years in the entertainment industry I decided to retire and follow my true passion. My shop is built on my love for natural stones. I'm a lapidary – I hand-cut all my stones. This means a lot of sawing, trimming, sanding & polishing to a mirror finish. My shop is filled with large saws & grinders and lots and lots of rocks! I love to find the inherent beauty in each stone and turning it into a one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art.
How did you get into jewelry design?
Visits to Hong Kong exposed me to the jade markets and a variety of beautiful natural stones. I began using my long-neglected creative abilities to craft one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces. I started with bead stringing, then wire wrapping cabochons, soon discovering the variety of cabs available to me if I cut them myself.
What makes your collection unique?
The fact that I hand-cut all my stones makes my business unique. Instead of purchasing pre-cut cabs I'm able to use interesting shapes and designs in crafting my jewelry.
What are your inspirations?
My inspiration comes from the true beauty of nature, and how an average-looking stone can hold the secrets to millions of years of the forces that developed the earth.
How are you making a difference in your life?
I recently retired early from a high pressure position in a large entertainment company. It's taken me a while to “ratchet down” and enjoy my new life as an artisan jeweler. Sometimes I miss the constant activity and the wonderful people I worked with, but I love being able to focus on my stones & jewelry. Life is always changing and it's always an adventure!
What's something unusual about you that makes you “you”?
I guess something that makes me unique is the insane number of jobs I've had. Several of them supported me through grad school. Then I went on the road as an actress and found myself working for a temp agency (back then it was called Kelly Girls!) between jobs. Whatever city I was in yielded work as a bank clerk, a secretary, receptionist and, once I worked as an accounting clerk in a large business that made tiny parts for air conditioning controls. I was the “scrap clerk”, costing all the tiny parts that were discarded. My most unusual job was unskilled labor in a Florida resort under construction. One day I was taken to a room literally stuffed with hundreds of unfolded towels. My job – fold them all!
What's the biggest struggle in running your jewelry business like a business?
My biggest struggle is getting my products out there in front of people and driving traffic to my website. I'm catching on about how to market my jewelry, but it's hard sometimes to keep up with press releases, Facebook, Twitter, blogging, Pinterest and all that's out there for me to use. I'm learning more about it every day and I know if I keep my focus my jewelry business will be a great success!
I live in Winter Garden, FL, with my husband Jim and my puppy Lucky. Born and raised in Ohio, I received an undergraduate degree in English Education and a Master's degree in theater from Bowling Green State University. I'm officially a Floridian now and love our wonderful warm weather.