Designer Spotlight: Nicole Humphries
A brief story of what you do and why you do it:
I have been a performer for most of my life, and lavish costumes and jewelry come with the territory. When I am on stage I love how the right costume and accessories can help me find my character. I also love how the right jewelry pieces on my everyday life can help me express my individual style. I am a lover of clean lines, and simple silhouettes, and use those aesthetics in my jewelry designs. I also love color and texture, and try to use them to enhance my one-of-a-kind pieces. I am inspired by creative and unique people, and I want my jewelry to bring out the unique style of the wearer.
How did you get into jewelry design?
In the late 90's mala beaded bracelets were all the rage and I loved what each gemstone symbolized. But I have very small wrists and commercial bracelets didn't fit, so I began making them for myself. I soon discovered that creating my own jewelry was relaxing as it was challenging and with each new technique I taught myself, a jewelry love affair was born. I love to figure things out, and started my jewelry education from books, which is where I learned about metal clay. I loved the idea that I could add any texture to my designs, and could't wait for them to come out of the kiln so that I could see what I had created. Making the transition from metal clay to metalsmithing opened up a whole new design world for me. I really enjoy watching the metal take shape as the design that started on paper comes to life. I come from a dance background, and feel like each piece I make has its own choreography. All of the pieces have to come together just right to make magic.
What makes your collection unique?
I think that fact that I keep my pieces simple, yet elegant is what makes my jewelry easy for anyone to wear. I try to think of my pieces as a “little black dress” for your jewelry box. I design and hand craft pieces that will go with anything, and can be added to jewelry my customers already own. I know that it might sound corny, but I love making jewelry and I hope that that love is infused into each piece.
What are your inspirations?
I'm inspired by artists and all things creative and artistic. I think that we give a bit of ourselves to what we create, be it a painting, song, or even a hand knit sweater. Clean lines and organic shapes speak to me, as does color. I used to work trade shows and it was hard to stay in the booth with all of the beautiful gemstones around every corner, just begging to come home with me. I also find inspiration in other designers. Watching someone follow their dreams and succeed should inspire us all.
How are you making a difference in your life?
I think that figuring out who I am as my dance career starts to fade has been by greatest challenge. When you have defined yourself in a certain way for a very long time, it is hard to see the possibility of a different path. You start to question if you even possess any other skills. I am grateful that I am discovering a new path that still fulfills my creative nature.
What's something unusual about you that makes you “you”?
I come from a family of teachers and I have learned that I am a bit of a natural teacher. I worked for trainer to the stars Tracy Anderson for 4 years and found out that I am very good at teaching non dancers how to dance. I figured out how the clients learned and adjusted my teaching accordingly. I always felt wonderful when someone would tell me that they finally felt comfortable dancing with their kids because they took my classes and left feeling empowered. I guess teaching just runs in my family.
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?
The biggest struggle for me is stepping out of my comfort zone and putting myself out there. I have carried the limiting belief that talking about yourself, or promoting yourself, makes you come across as pushy. I am learning to change that belief, because as much as I love what I do, if I don't promote myself I can't share that love with others.
Like many young girls I grew up fascinated by all of the trinkets in my mother and grandmother's jewelry boxes. The shiny gold and silver pieces with their sparkling gems made me want to try on everything at once. Of course nothing fit my tiny hands and wrists, but I knew that one day I would have a fabulous jewelry box of my own. As an actress and dancer in Los Angeles, I discovered a love for jewelry design when I was trying to find a necklace to wear to an audition. I couldn't find anything that was simple, yet unique, and ended up making a piece for myself. I started with small beaded pieces and gradually worked my way up to metal work. I am always inspired by creative people and I hope my jewelry can inspire that same creative spirit in others.