Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Featuring: Artisan Gerard

I don't know about you all, but I love unique jewelry. The classic styles of sparkles are fantastic but to wear a necklace that you don't see on just everyone else gives that fun feeling of individual style.

Artisan Gerard has just that. Pieces you are bound to fall in love with, because I sure did. Here is a the story behind the shop...


I started Artisan Gerard in high school and the name was a fluke simply because my initials are AG. I didn't have any cards or even have a web site back then and, in the day of MySpace, I would hassle my friends to look at amateur photos of small purses hanging in the plants that grew around my yard that I would post on my page, needless to say I got pretty good with Html code (thank God for Facebook where it does it for you). I only made tote bags back then and there wasn't a big market for it but every once and a while I would get custom orders from friends who would buy my totes sight unseen.

It wasn't until a friend of mine suggested I expand to Etsy did I even think of selling outside of my social network. I tried selling a few totes to try it out and didn't do so well :( Which was a blessing in disguise because I needed to study for my Private Pilot's License written tests at the time. It was a LONG time before I tried Etsy again simply because I was feverously working toward my Bachelor's in Commercial Aviation (yes, I AM a pilot).

I started my flying education in Arizona and last year moved to North Dakota for school. I've always had a love for aviation and I love flying but knowing the life style of the typical pilot as I get older and start thinking about starting a family and settling down (in a state with NO SNOW) I keep hoping my shop will take off and I can make my living as an entrepreneur but until that day I'll keep trudging through several feet of snow, fighting wind chill and the inability of my Toyota Yaris to go faster than 35 in sludge to my aviation classes/ the airport. Everyone has to have dreams and now that my Bachelor's degree is right around the corner and life just down the hall I hope I'll still be able to fly, start a family and keep my creative outlet creating inspiring pieces and utilitarian products as well.

A few days after I turned 21 I met my fiancee and he encouraged me to try selling my leg warmers, fingerless gloves and other crochet items on Etsy and after I moved from Arizona to North Dakota a year later I took his advice and started selling them on Etsy and they moved so fast I would stay up all night catching up on orders and sleeping in class (oops! Guess I didn't need that lesson on landing gear or mach tuck..) Over the long North Dakota winter I was grounded due to the harsh snow fall (normal snow fall to locals harsh to a Filipino from Arizona) and lack of flight funds. I tell you this because I want to clarify that I have NEVER fallen asleep in an airplane, that would be irresponsible.

At that exact time my fiancee was trying to get a promotion at work from running "the break" to running "the laser" but he didn't know squat about AutoCad and he needed to master it before getting the promotion at the machine shop so the bosses let him stay after work and make programs and run them on the laser on scrap. Right before Christmas season last year he sent me a hand full of mustaches and an array of other pendants just for me. I got so many compliments that I put them up for sale right away and over the Christmas season I earned enough to feed myself, since I only worked on the weekends at a local pizza joint for almost minimum wage, and take a vacation and recconnect with my best friend over spring break (we went to Mexico, it was snowing in North Dakota the day I left for spring break).

After about 2 months my fiancee got the promotion and it looked like the shop was going to take a hit since he wasn't approved to make things for "fun" anymore. He approached the owner and told him we'd be more than willing to pay for metal slabs if he could continue to make pendants from my shop. The owner agreed as long as he did it off the clock and it wasn't eating in to the owner's profits.

So slowly Artisan Gerard became a two person team and has evolved over time. My fiancee makes most of the designs now with a little bit of input from me (sometimes), however I sill have my roots and make crochet items and totes but usually sell them at craft fairs. Over this summer I didn't have a job for about a month so I started making cloth flower bouquets and I also took some sewing lessons so my customers can expect to see clothing and bouquets from me very soon ;D

And here are go, people: the two amazing people that make up Artisan Gerard


This shop is so great, they even sent me a camera necklace to show that there are indeed a shop worth talking about. I even got to choose the piece that I fell most in love with, which happens to be this one:

My favorite part is the fact it's a camera (which speaks to the photographer in me), it's got a little star (my favorite shape!), and what I found to be different was the brushed stainless steel. It's a texture I don't see often but that's part of what made it stand out to me.

It helps too that this sweet little necklace came within just a few days of her sending it. After all, no one likes to wait forever! It arrived carefully padded in bubble wrap and in a sweet pink and green plaid bag. Honestly, it felt like receiving a gift! Thank you, AG!

The shop also carries earrings so don't worry if necklaces aren't your style. And just in case you wanted to treat yourself or someone you know, Artisan Gerard is offering a special discount! Just enter in "bonita" a the checkout and there's an instant savings of 15% for you! And just in case you fall head over heels yourself, check out their facebook for an occasional contest or updates.

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