Designer Spotlight: Debra Mary Hess
A brief story of what you do and why you do it:
I design and make jewelry, which I sell in several nearby communities and also from my website. I do it because I love it. I have worked jobs just for the paycheck, and I’ve worked jobs that have taken over my life and left me exhausted. This I do because it’s life giving, and also contributes to our family’s income.
How did you get into jewelry design?
I was managing a coffee shop/restaurant and was working on opening a 2nd location which happened to be in a huge craft store. Every day when I went to work I would walk past a row of jewelry making/design magazines and they always caught my attention. I just thought I’d love to try my hand at that someday, and when I was done with that particular job I pursued it.
What makes your collection unique?
I suppose I am what makes it unique. I think if we bring 10 different designers to the same table of components, they would each create something wonderfully unique – we bring with us our history, sense of style and color, passions, taste-we bring our hearts and souls as the tools of our creativity. I’m drawn to understated beauty and intimacy, quality that can be passed on, design that compliments the wearer rather than overshadows him/her.
What are your inspirations?
Living with my eyes and heart wide open – I see beauty all around me in colors, shapes, and movements. I also am emotionally inspired – life’s joys and sorrows inspire designs to commemorate and remember.
How are you making a difference in your life?
I try to live by my heart’s priorities – faith, family, living in love, leaving this world a better place. It permeates my work ethic, as well as my relationships and how I use my time. My business is about relationships and serving. I love creating custom pieces that form a heart connection with the wearer.
What's something unusual about you that makes you “you”?
I have a passion for horses and love creating pieces for horse lovers. I also donate a portion of my sales to an organization called Mounted Eagles – a therapeutic riding program for the disabled.
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?
Right now it’s figuring out how to best use social media. It’s like learning a new language – fun, but a bit overwhelming.
I am fairly recent to the handmade jewelry business, starting after my kids left the nest. I do it from my home in rural MN, a hobby farm I enjoy with my husband of 37 yrs, 2 ponies, 3 cats and a very opinionated Yorkie. Besides making jewelry, I love spending time with my family, including 3 kids and 5 grandkids, doing volunteer work and riding my pony.