Designer Spotlight: Chelsea Bond

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Are you ready to meet our very first featured designer?

Introducing Chelsea Bond, the beautiful, and creative genius behind Red-I. Red-I is a travel-inspired, destination wedding, jewelry line. She designs breathtaking necklaces, gorgeous barefoot sandals, and much much more! We were so excited to sit down with her and had a little chat. Keep reading!

How did you get into jewelry design?

I've always loved painting, drawing and anything that allowed me to “create.” When the time came to plan my wedding, I wanted to create something for my bridesmaids that would remind them of an amazing destination wedding experience in Mexico as well as thank them for the part they've played in my life. I was completely turned off by all of the cookie cutter items categorized as “bridesmaids gifts” and that's when the light bulb rapidly turned on. I would create one of a kind wearable art in the form of jewelry for each individual bridesmaid that also reflected their personality! Since I had such a diverse group of women, I didn't think it was the right thing to create the same piece for each one. I wanted something extremely personal that wasn't going to get tossed in the “Always a bridesmaid” pile! I designed barefoot sandals for the walk down the sand aisle, necklaces and earrings for each bridesmaid and presented them before the ceremony. Needless to say everyone was in tears and smiling from ear to ear! In addition to their jewelry, I designed jewelry that complimented my outfits that I wore throughout my wedding week and honeymoon.

During the wedding and quickly thereafter when we received our wedding photos, people started asking where I got their jewelry. {Red-i} By Chelsea, a complete labor of love, was born.

What makes your collection unique?

Each piece of jewelry that I handcraft is developed out of a memory from a place that I've traveled to or lived in around the world. I've lived in Spain and sailed around the globe in 100 days so I've had the opportunity to experience mystifying cultures! I choose materials that stand out from the crowd and mix and match styles to make them completely unique. I may pair rhinestones with shells or colored stones with wire wrapping. Details in design are extremely important so I take careful consideration in how a piece adorns the body vs just designing accessories in general. I take extensive mental notes and photos when traveling to pay attention to the details of how others wear pieces of jewelry and turn them into complete statement pieces. Whether it's a belly dancer's clinking bracelets in Morocco or a how the snake wraps around a foot in a Klimt painting at an exhibition in Venice…it's all in the details. This is what makes my collection unique.

Bond Girl Rhinestone and Pearl – Beach Wedding Handcrafted Barefoot Sandals

What are your inspirations?

I draw on inspiration from architecture (I'm a huge fan of Moroccan architecture) and cultural style (I adore the tribal jewelry worn by the Masai Mara women of Africa) to nature itself (If there are bougainvillea flowers and/or orchids, I'm in heaven.) I'm also completely mystified by the sea. It overwhelms me with its beauty and its personality in different parts around the world. This has been a large influence in so much turquoise and teal found in my jewelry. The beaches of Thailand offer emerald greens, cyan and teals while the Mediterranean boasts a cobalt blue. I never forget these images when it comes to the color choices in my jewelry.

When you receive a piece of my jewelry for yourself or as a gift, you know it has been created with an incredible memory while tying in elements of your special touches (color, style, materials) to truly make it personal.

How are you making a difference in your life?

I've worked in online advertising on Madison Ave in NYC and Dallas, TX. While I absolutely adored my clients (truly, I did and still keep in touch with many of them), I never felt fulfilled with putting together strategies and managing accounts for others. I had so many ideas that were out of the box but were outside of corporate parameters. They were ideas that had legs and required little budget, but there were so many boundaries within those places, that I would come home feeling empty and completely unfulfilled. I knew this wouldn't be my career. I always felt it but I wasn't sure how I could change it.

Otoño Crystal Riviera Maya Inspired Necklace

When I found the opportunity to be able to channel my passion for creative marketing with my obsession with accessories, I knew I had to take charge. This has changed my life tremendously because not only am I doing something I'm so passionate about that I could talk about it 24/7 (and I usually do), but being chosen by brides around the world to design for them on one of the biggest days of their lives…is something I can barely put into words. I remember seeing photos from the first wedding that I designed for in Punta Cana. I literally sat down with my laptop and balled uncontrollably. To see the jewelry on the bride and bridesmaids that I created, by hand, specifically for them was an out of body experience. Knowing that these pieces will live on in people's photos until the end of time is something I will never take for granted. I'm still known to shed a tear (or many) when I receive wedding photos back with my creations adorning these amazing people. I'm completely humbled that they choose me for such an addition to their weddings.

What's something unusual about you that makes you “you”?

I'm insanely spontaneous. My husband jokes that on any given day I could find it completely justifiable that we pick up and move somewhere we've never been to start a new adventure. When we were first dating, I'm pretty sure he was in constant fear I would leave the country at any given point and never return.

Barcelona Rosa Cuff Bracelet

In college, the day I decided that I would move to Spain and study for a Semester, I filled out the application and left two weeks later. Not wanting my adventure to end after Spain, I signed up for Semester At Sea, cashed in every penny I had left and was accepted. I moved from PA to Seattle for the Summer, house sat for a friend and left a month later from Vancouver, Canada to sail around the world for 100 days. After being in the work force for a year and a half after college I decided I wanted to move to NYC. So I moved 3 weeks later, worked promotions including jewelry modeling, and found a job after a month of being there. I'm am a forever wanderluster 🙂 That definitely makes me, me!

What is the biggest struggle in running your jewelry business like a business? or your biggest success in running your business like a business?

My biggest struggle in running my jewelry business like a business is finding the time to take a break. I'm so excited to launch new products, communicate news, offerings and be creative, that at times I forget that there is the possibility of creative burnout. I'm really working hard to schedule my day to prioritize and realize every minute of the day and night do not have to tie into my business!

About Chelsea

Chelsea Bond is a designer of exotic travel-inspired jewelry. Her pieces are worn by women around the world for their destination weddings and special occasions. Drawing on inspiration from the unique places she has visited, she designs one-of-a-kind barefoot sandals, free-form necklaces, stunning bracelets, earrings, and rings.