Once again, we're highlighting one of our incredibly talented Vinnie vendors. This time we're talking to Amanda Harper, the artisan behind Harper Made — an inspiring bohemian jewelry brand.
Originally from Nashville, Harper now lives in Colorado, where she continues to create beautifully polished designs. Her pieces are classic, combining stunning natural elements like quartz and druzy stones. It really is the kind of jewelry you can wear with everything, and it never goes out of style.
We asked Harper a few questions, and her answers not only inspire us, but they help us to better know the amazing woman making the items we purchase.
What inspired you to start Harper Made?
I made my first piece of jewelry out boredom. I was perusing the craft store and grabbed a few things to play around with. After that, I started taking classes and reading books and blogs to teach myself techniques. I have always been a creative person, but had never really found my medium. Once I discovered jewelry-making I went a little crazy. I ended up with more jewelry than I could ever wear myself. At first, selling it was just a way to support the habit. When I received my first large wholesale order, I thought to myself 'this could be my job!" and from then on I was dedicated to growing the business into my full time gig.
How do you keep the creativity flowing? What do you do/read/look at in order to create a new collection?
I try to keep my eyes open for inspiration everywhere. Magazines, television, music festivals, etc. However, I especially love looking at blogs. It is exciting that in today's world any regular girl with a camera can have as much of an influence on fashion as the people sitting behind desks at the big magazines. I also get much of my inspiration from the materials themselves. Nature does the real work creating beautiful stones and crystals and I just make them wearable!
What's your favorite part about what you do?
I love playing around with my tools and creating new things. It is therapeutic to get my creative juices flowing and this never feels like "work." I also LOVE interacting with my customers at trunk shows and art fairs. It is so much fun to talk with people about the stones, materials and techniques I use in Harper Made pieces. Being face to face with my customers makes my heart happy.
What's the most difficult/tedious part of your job?
It is often difficult to switch back and forth between the creative and business sides of things. Sometimes I will be in a groove creating new designs and then remember that I have to send an email or write up an invoice. It is easy to get lost in the transition.
What's something you would like your customers to know about you/your business?
I appreciate you!!! Thank you for supporting my little business.
What characteristics or values are most important to you as a business woman?
Customer service! I strive to provide my customers and retailers with the best customer service by being flexible and accommodating. There are a lot of places for consumers to spend their money these days. I am honored when people choose to spend their hard-earned dollars on Harper Made jewelry and I will always try to provide the best experience.
What advice would you give to other women who wish to start their own business/do what they love?
Now is your time. We live in a community where people are supporting independent businesses more and more. If you are truly passionate about something, let it drive you to where you want to be.
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