What inspired you to start your business?
I grew up in a salon and boutique surrounded by hair, handbags and jewelry. My Mom has owned Shelley & Friends Salon and Boutique in my hometown for 27+ years. I was always immersed in the latest fashion trends while traveling with her to market and growing up running around the shop. About 6 years ago, I decided I could probably make some of the jewelry I had seen over the years. So I did! From the start, I’ve worked with gemstones like turquoise, agate, quartz, onyx, amazonite, jasper, etc.
I also started out working with leather and metals. I keep an eye on what the trends are in bigger markets and bring them to my small town at an affordable price. It started out as a fun hobby that made me a little extra money. I had an Etsy page and would focus most of my time on custom orders. I continued making jewelry over those 6 years as I had time. But over the past year, my jewelry making skill has taken on a much bigger purpose.
In June 2015, my husband and I were told that I could not have biological children. We were heartbroken. I would never see my eyes in the eyes of my child. Although, we were thankful that the news would not be life threatening, we knew it would be life altering. We had options, but each one would weigh heavily on us emotionally and financially.
As you can imagine, we are extremely motivated to build a family. While I am not working my full-time job at Owensboro Community College and Technical College’s Workforce Solutions, you can find me at home filling orders for individuals, boutiques, as well as setting up at local art shows. My jewelry can currently be found in five boutiques.
They are Bella Ragazza Boutique, Embellish Ltd, and Shelley & Friends Salon & Boutique, all out of Owensboro, KY; Follow Your Arrow, out of Morganfield, KY; and Whimsy, out of Terre Haute, IN. The boutiques along with custom orders keep me extremely busy and I am so thankful for that.
With my jewelry making, my husband’s hard work, and lots of support from family and friends, we have been able to save very quickly toward our family building goals. We are very close to our goal and will start our family building journey this year. We have decided to pursue fertility treatment through egg donor IVF.
This allows my husband to pass on his genes and me the ability to carry our child. We are beyond blessed to have found a known donor in my sorority sister. She is selflessly giving us a part of her heart to help us fill a void in ours and we couldn’t be more grateful.
Although this is not the route we imagined our lives taking us, we find it hard not to feel blessed. We have our health, each other, amazing family, great friends, rewarding jobs, a home, food, and the list goes on.
But I will say that we ARE sad that we will never see the fruit of he and I and I AM sad that I will never pass on my genes and we DO grieve for the children we will never know. But GRACE provides us with many things we do not deserve and we are thankful for that.
Where did you get the name for your company?
Growing up my Dad called me Jackie Blue because of my blue eyes. He signed all of my cards with that name, which tickled me as a little girl. I thought it was a way to tie my business to me, but also make it memorable.
As a female starting your own business what obstacles did you face within yourself before launching your product?
Because jewelry making started out as a hobby, there weren’t any obstacles to getting started. However, I did realize that making jewelry was therapeutic for me. It, in turn, distracted me from the obstacles that I had to overcome in my daily life. Although I do not typically feel stressed, life gives you lots of things to juggle. Making jewelry allows me to forget about deadlines and to-do lists and allows me to put all my energy into creating.