Designer Spotlight: Sara Pocius
A brief story of what you do and why you do it:
Creating is such a huge part of my identity. That finished product is almost always mandatory for me to feel like I've truly completed a task — so crunching numbers or doing research never quite fulfills my soul. And more than anything, I want to share what I've dreamed up with others. There's nothing quite as magical as watching someone fall in love with a piece of jewelry you've designed; it's an amazing feeling.
How did you get into jewelry design?
All through junior high I was the girl buying little packs of embroidery floss at the Ben Franklin so I could try out all the different friendship bracelet patterns. I loved taking custom requests! Twenty-five years later I still never forgot that rush of making something that someone would treasure — not only as a gift, but as something they would choose to wear as an expression of their style or personality.
My career choice of Art Director absolutely allowed me to create on a daily basis, but it was also incredibly fast-paced and stressful. As an escape and attempt to develop a new hobby that would fit in my tiny Chicago condo, I took a basic jewelry class and my focus shifted almost immediately. Within a few months I had my business registered with the state, an Etsy shop and soon after enrolled in metal smithing classes to immerse myself in this new world of design.
What makes your collection unique?
My ideas begin on paper, come to life on the computer and take physical form in the heart of the historic Los Angeles jewelry district. Affinity, my newest collection, transforms familiar shapes into ribbons of silver as wearable art.
As the name implies, most will feel an immediate attraction to one design that carries intense personal meaning, provides inspiration and strength, or simply symbolizes a cherished animal. These silver forms are paired with classic sterling silver bead chains and top quality gemstones to create effortless, yet powerful, pieces of jewelry that can be worn every day. Intentionally simple, personal talismans are the focus of my collection.
What are your inspirations?
Bold, simple shapes. The objects or animals we encounter and connect with. The things in life that we “collect” even if we don't consider ourselves collectors.
My entire Affinity collection began with an attempt to turn my seahorse logo into a piece of jewelry. Why a seahorse? Simply because I've always been fascinated by them — yet I'm not sure anyone ever realized this little “torch” that I carried for the sea creature. I was just sort of drawn to them.
When thinking about new shapes to add to my collection, I explore all the animals or talismans that I see people carry with them somehow or hear them reference in their daily conversations. They can be lucky charms, something nostalgic or that one thing they always stop to look at. Just those little things that people tend to have an affinity for.
How are you making a difference in your life?
I never stop pushing myself. Where my collection is now compared to where I started three years ago is a completely different style and production process. I dove headfirst into the world of silver casting and began learning by trial and error. Each failure brings a new lesson and after the disappointment I feel awesome about what I learned. That's how I know I'm doing what I was meant to be doing.
What's something unusual about you that makes you “you”?
I'm super resilient! Not only in my jewelry business, but in life in general. Some people may describe me as stubborn, but I like to put a positive spin on it. If there's a way to accomplish something, I will figure it out and make it happen.
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?
Time management. As the CEO, the customer service rep, the errand runner and the IT department it's easy to have great intentions of barreling through your do-do list each day. But as soon as one of those roles has an unexpected task it's so easy to get derailed and lose focus. But each day is a new day!
The biggest success was being able to step back and build a team of awesome craftsmen to help me produce my line. I am a designer at heart and “making” was slowing me down and causing me to get frustrated. Once I let go of the sometimes negative feelings “outsourcing” brings to mind, both my business and mindset shifted. My business model is perfect for me and that allows me to create something perfect for my customers.
My entire life I've been turning my ideas into something tangible; I think I’m addicted to creating. With roots in Chicago and a growing studio space in Los Angeles, I’m surrounded by amazing urban inspiration. As a graphic designer by trade, I fell in love with the intense personal connection that designing jewelry allows while still being a “visual designer.”