Designer Spotlight: Bev Feldman
What I do and why I do it:
I primarily make modern chainmaille jewelry for women, with a little bit of metalsmithing thrown in. I do what I do because I love to be creative. I have always been drawn to things that allow me to use my hands, from woodworking to knitting to making jewelry. With chainmaille, I love taking a pile of rings and transforming them into something wearable, experimenting with different styles and elements, seeing what looks good together and creating new designs
How did you get into jewelry design?
For as long as I can remember, I have loved making jewelry. I made jewelry on and off for years experimenting with different styles from beading to polymer clay. It wasn’t until I discovered chainmaille that I really got into it and decided to pursue it as a career.
What makes your collection unique?
I think what makes my collection unique is the combination of a technique that is often associated with the Middle Ages and body armor with feminine and modern touches to create a style that is both elegant and can be worn every day.
What are your inspirations?
I can’t really pinpoint specifically what inspires me in my jewelry. I think it really depends on the day. Sometimes it’s as simple as browsing around a bead shop, or walking on a beach and collecting things that I find. For example, I have been working on a collection that incorporates stones I found on a beach in Peru. As soon as I found them I knew I wanted to find a way to include them in my jewelry.
How are you making a difference in your life?
I love learning, and running my own business is teaching me so much. Though most days I would prefer to be making jewelry, I actually also really enjoy reading books and articles to help me better understand the business side of things. I constantly have a stack of small business-related books from the library piled on my nightstand. I am learning so many new skills that I would have otherwise had no need to know or taken the time to study.
What's something unusual about you that makes you “you”?
I am such a morning person! I would rather wake up at 5:30 in the morning and get my day started early than be doing work late at night. I find I am so much more productive in the earlier hours of the day. I also really enjoy the peaceful quiet of the early morning hours before the rest of those around me have woken up.
What's the biggest struggle in running your jewelry business like a business?
I really strive to be organized and on top of the less glamorous aspects of running a business, but I find I always put off bookkeeping and filing and do it in large chunks. I would so much rather be making jewelry, but I realize that bookkeeping is very important to successfully running a business.
After making jewelry on and off for years, in 2010 I discovered chainmaille. I was instantly drawn to the look of it and decided to try it out myself. Before long I was hooked; I realized that I had found my medium.
I had always wanted to sell my jewelry (and had tried a couple times when I was much younger), but as an adult the fear of rejection stood in the way for a while. Finally I told myself I had to just go for it, and I made it a goal of mine to set up an Etsy shop. In November 2011 I finally accomplished that goal. Then a month later I left for a five-month trip traveling around South America with my husband, and my Etsy shop went on hold during that time. Leaving my job in human services to travel gave me the courage to take another risk and pursue my jewelry business full time. I have been expanding and learning more ever since!