Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Leigh.
Stephanie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
The jewelry crafting began 15 years ago sitting on a tie-dye blanket in the heart of Little five points. I would sell handmade knotted hemp jewelry with gaudy blown glass pendants to tourists. This was my summer gig throughout high school. And it was during this time when I knew the entrepreneur spirit in me ran deep.
Furthering my studies at Savannah College of Art and design my attention quickly honed in on composition and color theory, which I utilize heavily in my signature Krobo necklace collection. The time in between then and now was filled with working two or three jobs at a time, mostly behind the bar at night, working retail and serving food at local restaurants during the day. Always trying to make ends meet. I did this for the majority of my 20s, continuing to make jewelry in my downtime.
Deep down I knew my time in the bar industry was limited, I was growing more and more discontent with each shift. I was miserable and neglecting my passion, trying to fit into a lifestyle that was not meant for me. My birthday last year fell on the August 21st solar eclipse, where I drove up to the mountains to experience this cosmic phenomenon.
That was the day I decided to change my life. I started a manifestation journal, I made gratitude lists, and essentially a blueprint for what I hoped the next year of my life would look like. I am proud to say that I have checked off almost every single one of them in the past 365 days. Immediately upon my return from the trip, I left the bar industry and never looked back. I moved in with friends to save up some money for the first few months and ventured out into the great self-employed.
Armed with little money, my cats, and a stockpile of beads and pendants I have saved up over the years. I revamped my website, I started with small pop-ups and trunk shows around Atlanta. Eventually, I was able to save up to get a tent which allowed me to explore the larger world of festivals. After being turned down for every large event for months, I finally got put on a Waitlist for the Callanwolde Fine Arts Festival.
This. Was. My. Chance. I called, I sent emails, I left messages….. Until finally, I got in touch with the promoter who graciously, although hesitant, worked me in and found me a spot. This event will always be a pivotal turning point in my life. It was a success, it allowed me the opportunity to network with other artists and promoters, and show them what Stephanie Leigh Jewelry was all about.
Since that event, I have had nearly every weekend booked with shows and festivals. It wasn’t long until I found myself a cute little apartment with an at home studio. Where I currently reside, with my rescue cats, designing jewelry five days a week and selling my pieces at festivals every weekend.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
While I was working in the restaurant and bar industry I found myself wisked into a lifestyle that involved late nights, parties, and loads of alcohol. I was neglecting my passion, my self-care, and struggling to keep up. Fueled by my own discontent with the life I was living I know I had to make a major shift. 2 years ago I decided to put down a drink for the last time and stop the habits that were impeding my success. I changed my shifts at work, getting off earlier, and cut out the late nights. I started a morning routine, a plant-based diet, I was writing more, I increased my physical activity and began taking meditation classes. The self-doubt began to slowly fade.
My time management has always been a bit of a struggle juggling my jewelry and jobs so I slowly started letting a few shifts go to focus on my jewelry. The struggle was real, the burden of finances, but the freedom of running my own business was becoming all too eager to ignore. So after the eclipse trip, I let the security of a paycheck go. I answered the cosmic call from the universe and put my faith in spirit. I began listening to motivational podcasts and spiritual readings while crafting my jewelry. I transformed negative thoughts into thoughts of gratitude. I found myself to too busy creating the life I have always dreamed of living to focus on anything that no longer served my spiritual journey. Jewelry has always been a practice of meditation for me. From numerical sequences in my beadwork to the gradient colors I use in each design.
My studio has become my sacred space where self-doubt is no longer allowed to manifest.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Made by hand with the spirit in mind; is the Stephanie Leigh Jewelry way of life. With each design, I incorporate globally sourced fair trade beads, salvaged leather, and spiritual symbols and pendants. My signature design, the Krobo necklace, is like getting a hug from a necklace. I have cut the leather with specific measurements so that the beads lay flat instead of hanging so they feel comforting, and not heavy. They have also been referred to as the anti-anxiety necklace by number of my customers. The recycled glass beads are soothing and the leather is repurposed.
Making it ethically sourced, eco-friendly, and sustainable. I even have a Vegan line, to appeal to every market. Due to the precise measurements, hand setting eyelets and snaps, bead stringing, I have a three day production time that yields between 20 and 30 necklaces a week. These are my small batch of labors of love. And I take pride in personally crafting each and every single one from start to finish.
I sometimes have to pinch myself to wake up from the dream I am living. I am constantly creating from the heart and my spirit is reflected in each piece I make. I am finally living a lifestyle that I am proud of, managing my own blooming business and maintaining faith that I am right where I need to be. I live with the understanding that everything that has happened in my life up until this point, led me to the divine path I am walking on now.
What were you like growing up?
As a child, I was always crafting anything that I could make with my hands, from stringing macaroni necklaces, to painting pictures and selling them alongside my lemonade stand. I am grateful to have had parents that were supportive of my pursuit of the arts, and my mother became a pillar of support getting me to take every art program that we could find. She took me to festivals and events 20-25 years ago that I now currently am a vendor at.
I was born a quirky left-handed artist, but it was up to me to hone my skill in on jewelry design and strive for the pursuit of my passion.
- Website: http://www.stephanieleighjewelry.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Day, Melle Houston