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May252012

Making A Statement

I recently stumbled upon the work of jeweler Rae Hancock when I was putting together a fashion post inspired by stylist Missy Schnaps for The Penny Rose. Among the collection of items that Schnaps suggested for a summer wardrobe was the color seafoam green, which is shown in its exquisite hue in the necklace above. 

Hancock, the 25-year-old Florida-based designer of this statement piece (as well as a whole collection of beautiful baubles) officially became a professional jeweler just a few weeks ago, although she's been selling her wares on Etsy for two years now. I caught up with Hancock and did a get-to-know-you Q&A with her.

Are you able to make a living through making jewelry? 

I recently graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a minor in psychology and I am thrilled to say that as of right now I will not be using my degree. Although I’m not quite to the point of “making a living,” my line, EO Jewelry, is on track to achieve the necessary growth for me to do just that.

Where do you sell your work in addition to Etsy?

As of right now, my jewelry can be found in a small boutique in Texas, one in South Florida, and at the gift shop at the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art (as well as on her Etsy store). I am pleased to say that I have two wholesale deals in the works with up-and-coming boutiques, one online, and one brick-and-mortar franchise. 

How has Etsy helped your jewelry business? 

Many jewelry artists find the need to have their own websites, but for me, Etsy is so much more than where I do business. Etsy is a community which has allowed me the foundation on which I have grown my business. I know that I owe so much to Etsy for being a place that people feel comfortable doing business, but more than that, Etsy is a community which has brought handmade back to a world in which so much has been mass produced in factories by machines. 

The title of your company is EO? What does that stand for and how did you come up with that name?

EO stands for Eclectic Ornaments. I’ve always loved everything eclectic (the idea of everything in my house matching perfectly makes me cringe) so I knew from the start that eclectic would be a part of my title. I chose "ornaments" because I like the idea that jewelry is a method of adornment—art for the wearing—so I thought “ornaments” fit quite well. My typical customer is a young woman who has developed her own personal style and loves to make fashion statements. The ladies who wear my jewelry are modern day fashionistas who treat the world as their runway.

Tell me about your inspirations. 

I absolutely wouldn’t be who I am or where I am, were it not for the powerful influences of the women in my life. My mother has been the inspiration for my determination and my strength. She has taught me the meaning of true kindness and unconditional love, and I owe so much of the richness of my life to her. My grandmother has been the inspiration throughout my life to explore creativity, think outside the box, and to think for myself regardless of convention. I also credit my grandmother for having taught me to always be impressed by the world, and to find wonder in unexpected places. I like to think that these ideals and life lessons are reflected both in my work, and in the way that I relate to my customers. 

Check out Rae Hancock's line, EO Jewelry here. Her necklaces sell between $35-60.

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