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BIZ CRUSH: Junk Party Jewelry

Here's a great way to make people think you're weird.  Tell someone you've only just conversed with via the internet that you "freaking love them."

 

That's what happened with Marseille.  But it turns out we're on the same weird wave length (I mean that in the best way possible, Mars!) because she was totally cool with it.  I think.

 

May you fall in love with Junk Party Jewelry & all its up-cycled goodness by the end of this blog post.  In the least creepy way possible.

 

Photo by Max Torres

 

What kind of kid were you growing up?

I got kicked out of preschool! I lied and cussed and lied about cussing. I was an ok student eventually, I guess.  I was very emotional which was embarrassing because I cried a lot at school. I liked playing football and kickball at recess. I loved art and loved all of my art projects but my elementary teacher was always unimpressed which pissed me off. I had a huge imagination and a fascination for clothing and jewelry at young age. I lived on a secluded Ohio farm until I was 5, then lived in Fort Lauderdale for 3 years and then moved back to Ohio to a college town. I was kinda all over the place.

 

How did that affect your path towards jewelry making?

My path has been weird and all over the place and awesome too. Jewelry making has been a constant in my life but not always on the forefront.  We had a local bead store

 

(Beads & Things in Athens, Ohio) that taught me how to make jewelry and I was hooked. I went there a lot until I graduated from high school. I played soccer and partied in college. Jewelry took a back seat. I didn’t get into it again until I started to travel a lot. That’s when upcycling and jewelry first started to intertwine. I’d be traveling and have a chain but no charm. So I’d look for one in unconventional materials. Or my bracelet would break so I’d have to make do with whatever was laying around.

If your story could fit into a 30 second commercial, how would it unfold?

It would have to be a time-lapse of all the different events that led me to this place. Trying on my grandmother’s jewelry, playing dress up, making friendship bracelets, bringing home my lunch bags to reuse, college, dancing, crying, traveling around the world, more crying, experimenting with findings, getting yelled at in NYC, more crying, finding happiness in NYC, giving birth, moving to Cleveland, giving birth, launching Junk Party. Probably that one Cranberries song would be playing. Dreams?

 

Who’s positively influenced your path the most?

My husband. I absolutely would not be doing Junk Party if it wasn’t for him. He is a cartoonist and a maker and a fixer and a genius. I hate when people get gushy about their spouses but mine is seriously the GOAT.

 

What ultimately made you decide to do the lovely thing you do?

I’ve been making jewelry since I was 9 but my Junk Party journey began in 2012. I was still living in New York and I just quit my fancy-on-paper job in the UN Plaza. After being miserable for the previous 2 years, I was determined to make ends meet by only working on stuff that interested me; I worked as an extra, sold vintage clothes, upcycled old T-shirts into dresses, walked dogs and eventually worked for Holst+Lee. While I was walking dogs around Brooklyn I would find little things (broken zipper, safety glass, a charm that fell off a bracelet, etc.), take them home, clean them and experiment with jewelry findings. At some point I needed a pair of black earrings and I didn’t have any I liked. My boyfriend (now husband) refurbished computers and we had parts everywhere so I asked if he had any junky black cables or cords. He did. I made a simple pair of earrings from an unknown defunct cord and some bronze findings.

 

 

What inspired you to start up-cycling?

Upcycling was ingrained in me. I was born in an old farm house a mile from the nearest neighbor. We had a claw foot tub in our yard for baths and an outhouse for everything else. My mother was a frugal hippy. My dad restored wrecked cars. I moved in with my grandmother (in Florida) later on. She lived through the Great Depression and reused everything-from coffee containers to pantyhose. My first upcycled necklace was a vintage key on a candy cane-striped string from some Lipsmackers pack. I was 10 years old and that was my pride and joy.

 

Favorite part about working for yourself?

Being my own boss! I had a boss in NYC that threw papers at me and made fun of my clothes.

 

Most challenging thing about working for yourself?

Vulnerability and self doubt! Gotta push through the “What the fuck am I doing with my time?” moments.

 

Photo by Amber Patrick 

 

How do you get your creative juices flowing?

I love to travel but I’m pretty limited at the moment. Coffee is good! I also write a lot and come up with ideas while I’m running.

 

If you could be a fly on the wall to anyone’s creative space {dead or alive} who would it be?

First name that comes to mind is Yayoi Kusama.

 

Talk about a failure you’ve learned from.

I’ve gotten obsessed and entrenched with projects before and lost interest or self doubt has taken over. I’ve learned you have to push through all that if you want to make anything special.

 

What’s one of your proudest accomplishments in business?

At the risk of sounded like a complete a-hole, I don’t see a lot of other makers creating from cords or cables that would otherwise go to a landfill. I’m an Aquarius so I take a lot of pride in being unique, if you believe in that astrology stuff, which I sorta do.

 

 

What do you wish you knew when you first started that you know now?

Haters gonna hate?

 

What has been your favorite project to date & how did it come to fruition?

I made a huge statement necklace with Burning Man (I’ve always wanted to go) in mind. It’s made from many, many silver telephone cords which people don’t seem to like as earrings. So I loved that I took something that people don’t really like and made something that I really, really love.

 

What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen or experienced thanks to your career path?

I rented a private karaoke room for my birthday and invited some women friends and told them to wear sequins and to invite some of their lady friends and tell them to wear sequins. So how pleased was I when almost everyone came wearing sequins AND a friend of a friend of a friend (who I had not met) came wearing Junk Party earrings that she bought from me the previous fall.

 

What’s next / What are you most excited about?

Everything! I have so many ideas and so little time. Barrettes, rings, wall decor, body jewelry. I just hope that I can keep progressing and moving forward and people keep liking (i.e. buying) what I put out there.

 

 

 

Time of the day you are most productive:

9am-12 but I can’t really work on Junk Party until between 8-11PM during the week after my kids go asleep. Oh yeah! I have two kids too btw!

 

The app you couldn’t live without:

Is the camera on my phone an app?

 

Social media outlet you love most:

Instagram by far.

 

Favorite account to follow on this outlet:

@susan_alexandra

 

Favorite internet radio station or podcast at the moment:

Hmmm nothing at the moment but my best friend Riley and I took a road trip to Graceland last year and listened to S-Town and it blew my mind.

 

Favorite Netflix binge:

I rewatch The Office from the beginning every winter. BUT honestly I’m always going on benders. This year alone: Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, GOT, Broad City, True Detective, Project Runway All Stars, Romanoffs

 

Go to piece in your wardrobe:

High top aqua blue Vans.

 

Coolest thing you’ve ever thrifted:

I found this insane vintage Ice Cube t-shirt when we were traveling in Michigan at a really stinky thrift store for $2.50 or something. I ended up selling it on Ebay for 65 bucks, I think.

 

Go to accessory:

My nude landline earrings that go with everything.

 

Favorite thing to repurpose:

No surprise here, old landline telephone cords are my favorite material. Honorable mention is USB cables.

 

Weirdest tool you use:

Not a tool but I like packaging earrings in old Brie box containers. The cheese is wrapped in wax and then put in a box…so that box just gets thrown out? No.

 

Where can we find you?

Instagram all the way @junk_party_jewelry  Lining up events with my humble booth and trench coat for the rest of the year so if anybody wants to host a mouthy broad, get @ me.

 

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