Linda’s story is exciting on so many levels. Her recent career switch, the original reason that she jumped into the maker world, and her excitement to continue on creating are all inspiring. We are thrilled to introduce Linda of Rustica Jewelry today, and as an added bonus, she’s offering a 25% discount on your order from www.rusticajewelry.com if you enter the discount code “dear25” at the checkout. Meet Linda and check out her beautiful jewelry!
Please introduce yourself!
My name is Linda Blume and I am the sole owner and artist of Rustica Jewelry. I currently live in New Jersey, but grew up in Kansas City, MO, spent several years in Colorado, and a lived in the UK while doing my master’s degree.
What do you make or do?
I design and create each piece of jewelry for Rustica. My jewelry line is very natural, earth toned, rustic and a little bohemian. My metal of choice is copper though I do use silver occasionally. I have also been working on designing and building my own line of jewelry displays and racks which has been a fun challenge.
Where can we find your creations?
How long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?
Running Rustica Jewelry is now my full-time job as of May of 2015! Before that I was a scientist in the research and pharmaceutical industries. I actually started my jewelry business in 2009, not even as a hobby, but just because I could never find earrings I liked and, being a life-long creative gal, I figured I could make what I wanted. However, I really came to enjoy the process of designing and creating jewelry so it then became a hobby and an excellent stress relieving outlet to my hectic and not-so-creative day job.
When I had a small inventory built up I entered my first craft show, and made $300, which at the time was pretty awesome and enough to realize that people actually liked my designs. It really just all expanded from there. I bought more supplies, worked on designing more, taught myself new techniques and eventually opened my etsy shop in 2010.By 2014, realizing that all of my free time, and most of my vacation days from work, were consumed by keeping up with orders and shows, I just set a goal of saving as much money as possible and making my business happen! And it happened in May 2015! My husband finally agreed and I submitted my 2 week notice which was the best feeling ever…
What obstacles have you had to overcome to lead a creative life?
Growing up my mom was a teacher and my dad was always running a small business of some sort, restaurants, bars, etc. After their divorce, and primarily being raised by my mom, she ingrained in me that in order to have any decent life you must go to college. Though I was a very creative kid, always creating and taking art classes, it just never occurred to me that an artist could be a “profession” and that it was a sure way to live in poverty, you just don’t do that sort of thing!
So I started community college right out of high school and had no idea what I wanted to do, got really bummed out about it and quit after the first year. I spent the next 5 years, not going to school, but working retail, being a pastry chef, and various other jobs. I’m not sure where the interest in science came from but at 26 I decided I needed to go back to school. At 31 years old I got my BSc in Biology/chemistry and went straight into a 1 year Master’s degree in biology in London, England. (Got bit by the travel bug and packed up, sold everything and moved). For the next 9 years I worked in NJ in various science related research jobs, never feeling fulfilled and not liking the fact that I was always making someone else money. So the biggest struggle was to really push to try to find a “normal” job I would like then realizing what I needed to do when that didn’t work. Fortunately as my business grew and I started making real money, my mom, family and husband realized that I could make it happen and became very supportive.
When you’re not making things, what do you do?
When I’m not making things I am making other things!
Haha, creating is all I do! My other interests include redoing furniture (stuff I find a t thrift stores and in peoples garbage!) and painting everything I can get my hands on with chalk paint, my new obsession. We recently bought a house so I spend time working on decorating and redoing the basement with my husband as his music studio. So really, in my very limited free time, I enjoy hanging out with the kids (which are two parrots and a 16lb bunny) and hiking/nature stuff.
What inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?
What I would really like other creatives to know, especially ones that are stuck in a career that they don’t enjoy, is that it is not impossible to do what you actually like to do and it is never too late! It is hard work, but decide what you want and start making small steps towards it, especially while you have a steady income from a job. Just put all of your effort in, ask others for help, learn all you can, read, take classes, find a mentor and most of all, stay positive. The hard work and frustration will all be worth it one day and the sense of accomplishment will always keep you going. One of my favorite quotes that drives all of this home is from Tony Gaskin which says “if you don’t build your own dreams, someone will hire you to build theirs”. So true.