Friday 5 July 2013



I've been a fan of Colby June for a long time and when I first listed her shop on A Cut Above The Retsy, it became clear that I wasn't the only one. I get it. It's high-class, timeless, yet very now.

Colby's latest collection is being slowly released (and yes, it's gorgeous), and she'll be having a one-day sale on July 11, so keep an eye out for it!

Colby June Jewelry's new Leaf CollectionColby June Jewelry's Stick & Stones Set

Hi Colby, thank you so much for doing this interview; I know how busy you are! Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?

I live at the base of Mt. Sopris on the Crystal River in Carbondale, Colorado with my husband and two children. My husband is an architect and has been an integral part of my business on an operational level, as well as a conceptional level. My son is six months old and my daughter is three, so we are pretty consumed with the task of keeping up with kids and work! However, before children, I did spend quite a bit of time traveling, camping, hiking, skiing, and windsurfing. I really enjoy traveling to places that take me out of my comfort zone and allow for growth and reflection in ways you could not otherwise imagine. 

When did you begin making jewellery and how/where did you learn to do it?

I first took a jewelry class in San Miguel de Allende Mexico. After living in Mexico, I went to college at Lewis and Clark in Portland, Oregon. I first got a degree in Hispanic Studies and later a Masters in Counseling. I worked as a teacher and then a counselor, but eventually I really wanted to return to jewelry. I just needed the courage to get into it as a profession. I worked for a few years doing both jewelry and counseling. When I had my daughter Perry, something had to go, so I quit my part-time counselor job. By that time, I had begun to develop a distinctive style and I was able to sell my work at the Aspen Saturday Summer Market. At the beginning of 2011, I decided to get more serious about wholesale outside Colorado. It was extremely lucky that Anthropologie picked up a ring set. They have since sold out but that, in combination with all the wonderful bloggers out there, has really helped my Etsy site grow!

The ins and outs of jewellery-making is a complete mystery to most of us; without giving away any trade secrets, are there any insights you can share with us regarding your own process? What kind of tools do you use, what metals do you work with, etc.?

I really enjoy working with wax. When I first began making jewelry, I mainly did fabrication using sheet metal, wire, stones, and beads. It wasn't until I began using wax and the casting process that I felt really connected and happy with my work. I also like casting because it allows me to replicate pieces which means I can work as long as it takes to get a design right, without worrying about the cost implications to the customer. I shy away from one-of-a-kind pieces because I don't always know if I will be entirely happy with the end product. I would rather get it right without any pressure and just melt down pieces that aren't worth replicating.

Your work is elegant and timeless. The forms you make seem very natural. What inspires you when you sit down to make a new piece?

I am continuously inspired by great design from architecture, to shoes, to a cereal bowl. I love things that are part of our everyday lives that are well crafted and well thought out. I am also clearly inspired by nature at home and anywhere I travel. I love to be surprised – like suddenly seeing a shape or texture I've never seen in a place I have been a million times. Or, I like to find something common, like a leaf, and see the intricate and beautiful pattern of an ordinary leaf. Leaves are actually the subject of my new collection, The Leaf Collection.

Colby June Jewelry's new Leaf Collection

You've just celebrated your fifth year on Etsy (congratulations!); how do you think your store and work have evolved since you first opened?

When I first opened my Etsy store, I listed only a few pieces and put very little time into my store.  Frankly, I wasn't sure the Etsy shop would lead to many sales. It did take quite a while before my shop gained momentum. My husband helped create a Colby June website and we had a shopping cart, but it was very difficult to drive traffic to my website. After a couple years, my Etsy store started to take off and we eventually shut down my own site. Now all sales go through Etsy.

Since I first opened my Etsy store, I have continued to improve my craftsmanship and production efficiency. Also I have found that rings are my best-selling items so I am trying to maintain a focus on rings and expand my collection to include men's rings and a selection of engagement rings. Hopefully this will happen in the very near future!

You recently transferred to a brand new studio; what prompted the move?

The building that housed the artist community where my studio was located was sold and planned to be torn down. When I realized we needed to make a move, I turned to my husband to help expand my cramped operation into a space that would allow my business to flourish. Ramsey Fulton, my husband and architect with Bldg Seed Architects, convinced me that the dark, pure concrete garage space that we first looked at was in fact beautiful, perfect for a studio and would have natural ambient light with little effort needed after renovation. On a mom-and-pop budget, with my husband as both architect and builder, the garage was transformed into a modern, warm and ideal home for our nature inspired jewelry business.

Colby June Jewelry StudioColby June Jewelry Studio

What's your proudest career moment to date?

I can't say that I have a particular moment that makes me most proud, but I am very proud that I have made my business profitable. I was very near to closing down before Anthropologie picked up the Sticks and Stones set. That gave me a psychological as well as financial boost. I feel proud that I have figured out how to make a passion into a verified business. My husband has been a major contributor to my marketing, graphics and branding. I also was so fortunate to meet Clarissa Schneider, with Photo Nectar, who has done incredible work photographing my pieces. I also have two amazing assistants in the studio who provide excellent positive energy and contribute so much! 

What do you do when you're not working?

When I am not making jewelry, I am basically being a mom. We do a lot of playing, swimming, and reading. This last winter, we managed to get our 3-year old out on skis, which was a lot of fun!  I try to squeeze in an occasional hike or yoga class for myself. I also love movies and reading.  

You live in Colorado, a part of the world blessed with stunning landscapes. Can you tell us a bit about what life is like there?

We live in a beautiful town, Carbondale, at the base of Mt. Sopris. It's very community focused and has a lot of adventurous and sporty people. Nature is part of our lives everyday. I live with my family outside of town, up the Crystal Valley. We are a bit isolated, which can feel lonely but also allows for a lot of quiet space and reflection time. Being so close to Aspen, which has a very different atmosphere to Carbondale, it's fun to sometimes visit there for a change of pace.

Do you have a favourite Etsy shop? If so, which one?

One of my favorite shops is Element Clay Studio. I have purchased a few of their pieces for wedding gifts and one for my mom. I love the detailed textures paired with the simplicity of the pieces. The bowls and tiles are just gorgeous!

Colby June Jewelry's new Leaf Collection

No comments:

Post a Comment