While we love taking our customers on a journey around the world, we decided last year that we love celebrating our local communities too. So last year, our Sikara team launched the “Locally Grown” section in our retail stores. We scouted out some great local artisans to feature that have a different design asthetic than Sikara.
As we started our search, we discovered Amanda Deer. You can find her items in both our Austin and San Francisco stores. What drew us together was a mutual appreciation for design and fashion. What you notice when you first meet Amanda, is her genuine and sweet demeanor. We love showcasing her line so read below and come check her designs out at Sikara!
We always knew Amanda was amazing and we’re excited to share her wisdom with you.
S&C: What first interested you in designing your own jewelry?
AD: I’ve always loved jewelry and the way it can transform any look. For years I would deconstruct and reassemble pieces I bought in the store or find new ways to re-work vintage jewelry. Finally, after persistent encouragement from my husband and my friends, 6 years ago I decided to start selling the pieces I made and well, long story short, here we are!
S&C: Can you walk us through your process, from inspiration to finished piece?
AD: Most of my designs start with a sketch. I have dozens of little journals that I sketch in and keep ideas for new designs. Sometimes it’s a pattern or shape that inspires me and I go with it. Other times it’s a look from a magazine or photo shoot that sparks an idea. From there I work on creating the piece in my studio. Many pieces I make here in Austin with my team and others we design and have manufactured. One of my favorite partners is Matter, a 3D printing company out of Brooklyn, NY. They work with small independent designers like me to help make our designs come to life! We send them a 3D rendering of our concept and they use a combined process of rapid molding and 3D printing to create each piece.
S&C: What aesthetic are you aiming for with each piece?
AD: Every piece in my line is small and delicate. I love the ‘barely there’ look and creating pieces that are simple enough to wear everyday.
S&C: Prior to designing jewelry, you marketed software. Do you find the skills you developed in that position helped you establish Amanda Deer Jewelry?
AD: I spent 12+ years in marketing for a tech company in Austin. That experience is what I credit to helping me successfully launch and grow Amanda Deer Jewelry to where it is today. I had years of trade show and retail experience, knew my way around press releases and how to get the attention of the media. Understood the importance of a brand, logo and even things like Google analytics. My background in marketing has been incredibly useful and I’m so lucky to have had that experience.
S&C: What’s your favorite piece that you’ve designed?
AD: My favorite piece hands down is my evil eye necklace. It’s simple but has huge meaning for me. I designed it last January to sell as a piece to raise awareness about Glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness in the US. A portion of each sale of the necklace goes to fund the Glaucoma Foundation, a wonderful group working on finding a cure for the disease. I was diagnosed with Glaucoma when I was born and under the care of some of the best specialists in the world, have maintained my eyesight. I’m thankful for that every single day but realize that not everyone can afford the care I have had. Groups like the Glaucoma Foundation work to find a cure, spread awareness, offer free screenings and more.
S&C: And what about your favorite Sikara piece?
AD: My favorite Sikara piece, that is, the one found in your stores, is my long hammered coin necklace. It comes in gold or silver and hangs 30″ long on a delicate satellite chain. You can literally throw them on with anything. A t-shirt, a tunic, a sweater, a dress…so easy to wear and such a statement!
S&C: 2015 is over! do you have an New Years Resolution?
AD: My New Years Resolution is always the same! Take more time for myself and learn to say ‘no’ when my plate is too full. It’s so hard! I want to do it all, but having quality time for yourself and family is ultimately what’s most important.
S&C: You’ve mentioned that you love being creative. Do you have any tips to help others bring out their own creative side?
AD: Photography is such a big inspiration to me. I love shooting photos of my jewelry and just shooting around Austin for fun. If you love snapping photos with your iPhone, keep doing it! Get creative with your edits, learn how to use natural light to get great shots, make your friends model for you, don’t be afraid to try new things.
S&C: You’ve made a successful career shift and currently have a growing business. Can you share some secret to your success that other women can follow? A motto you follow perhaps, or another piece of advice?
AD: You don’t have to do it all at once. Take your time, plan your path, enjoy the process, and even when things seem like they are never going to happen, don’t give up. One of the things that helped me grow Amanda Deer Jewelry was the ability to do it in my spare time until I could ramp it up to a full-time gig. It didn’t pop overnight, it was years of working nights, weekends and any spare moment I could find to get to the point that I am now. And after saying that ….a second note to this would be find time for yourself to relax and take a break here and there. You can’t be 100% 24/7.
S&C: Of course we have to ask before we say goodbye. What is your favarite Sikara brand piece?
My favorite Sikara piece is a gorgeous lapis and gold stacking ring. You can wear it alone or piled on with other dainty rings to create a colorful custom stack!