This month's spotlighted vendor is Poor Sparrow
— a jewelry line started in 2009 by Katie Guagenti, who currently resides in Columbus, Ohio. Her jewelry is described as a mix of modern and vintage, and her use of gemstones create the most classic of pieces.
(Photo: Megan Leigh Barnard)
We love what Katie does, and are thankful to share her beautiful art with our VL ladies. Recently, we had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her business and jewelry-making, and we wanted to share her answers with you:
What inspired you to start Poor Sparrow? How did you get into jewelry making?
I began Poor Sparrow shortly after I graduated from Ohio State with a degree in Apparel Product Development. After graduation, I was freelancing in the fashion industry and realized that working in a corporate environment was not for me. I continued freelancing and began taking continuing education classes in metal work at a local arts college. I have always been interested in jewelry - I always designed clothing in school with the accessories in mind first. Creating jewelry as a career was a natural progression for me.
How do you keep the creativity flowing? What do you do/read/look at in order to create a new collection?
Inspiration can be very difficult to find sometimes. I think trips to new places, nature and antique jewelry are what inspire me the most. Creativity can't be forced - sometimes an idea randomly pops into my head and I have to try to make the piece right then so I don't lose it. I also have a bit of "backward" approach to design. My collection is very materials based, so I like to find interesting brass and copper pieces first (I use mostly all vintage deadstock metal) and then design based on what I have found.
What's your favorite part about what you do?
The absolute best part of my job is the freedom - whether it is being able to set my own work schedule or design whatever I'd like. I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I love every day.
What's the most difficult/tedious part of your job?
The most difficult thing is finding design inspiration. Some days, the creativity just isn't there. That can be very frustrating. The most tedious part of my job is making the same pieces over and over - some days I have to make 20 or 30 of the same thing.
What's something you would like your customers to know about you/your business?
I would love for everyone to know I use as many vintage pieces in my designs as I can - I try to make my business as eco-friendly as possible and the re-purposing of materials is a huge part of that.
What characteristics or values are most important to you as a business woman?
The most important thing to me is to treat my customers with respect and to be very grateful. No one has to buy my jewelry or even like it, so living each day in a grateful way is very important to me. I would truly be nowhere without my amazing customers and I am so thankful for each and every one of them.
What advice would you give to other women who wish to start their own business/do what they love?
I think the most important thing is to stay true to yourself. Especially in design. The pieces that customers love the most are always the ones where the design is very true to me, as a person. My designs are an extension of myself and that is what makes my jewelry collection so unique.
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