This probably won’t come as a surprise to you, but I’m a bit of an Instagram stalker :) I find people’s accounts via – what I like to call – hours of late night “browsing inception” (that’s when you scroll through your friends accounts, click into their friends accounts – and so on… – and before you know it, you’re 12 layers deep into pictures of people you’ve never met, but now you’re a little bit in love with them! I swear it’s a thing!).
Isn’t this the coolest?! The awesome sauce @auburnjewelry made me a custom #tothemoon necklace and charms. Stay tuned to win the only other one of its kind!!!! #ootd top by @marksandspencerindia, @zara jeans and boots #Repost @auburnjewelry with @repostapp ・・・ I still can’t believe I got to meet the amazing @missmalini tonight! We created these custom ‘To The Moon’ pieces for her! What do you guys think of them?!
Anyway, I found Samantha Levine of @AuburnJewelry just like that one day and was completely mesmerized by her absolute love for creating custom jewelry and her totally epic Instagram “art”. Follow her and you’ll know what I mean! So imagine my delight when I commented on one of her photos to ask if she delivers her darling charms to India and she got in touch!
I met her and her sweetheart boyfriend on my last trip to New York and now YOU get a chance to win a replica of the custom #tothemoon moon & rocketship that she created just for me! (Stay tuned to my @MissMalini Instagram for contest deets!)
See how that worked out? Now, here’s her story in 17 questions… and can I just say #WhoRunTheWorld? #GirlBossLove
Q1: What sparked your idea to start your own jewelry business?
A: I’ve been making jewelry since I was 14-years-old and first got my hands on a blowtorch in my high school jewelry-making class. I never looked back. I minored in Jewelry and Metals in college, then went on to law school. In 2011, my parents generously gifted me an at-home metals studio, allowing me to keep honing my craft in between studying for exams. Upon graduation, it became so clear that my true passion was creating jewelry, not practicing law—so I decided to follow my heart and start my own jewelry business. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.
Q2: How did you come up with the name ‘Auburn Jewelry’?
A: Auburn is my middle name—I was named after the mall in Auburn, Massachusetts where my parents spent a good amount of time in college. (No wonder I love fashion so much!) Funnily enough, I actually hated the name growing up and kept it a secret, but when I was launching my business, I finally decided to embrace it.
Q3: How would you describe Auburn Jewelry in three words?
A: Chic, timeless, personalized.
Q4: How has your brand evolved since launching in 2013?
When I first started Auburn Jewelry, I was just creating textured sterling silver pieces. I loved my work, but I wanted to do more—I just didn’t know what yet. After venting to my good friend about my lack of inspiration, she suggested that I try adding color to the collection. The idea took off and became the bread-and-butter of my entire brand. I started off making just initial pendants. Then I added fun designs like hearts, U.S. states, and anchors and began doing custom orders. Currently, we offer pieces like men’s wear (cufflinks, tie tacks and keychains), mini pendants, on-trend midi rings, 18 colors, and so much more. I’m awestruck with how much the brand has grown in just two years—we now have pieces across 39 states, 8 countries, and 3 continents.
Q5: What makes your creative process unique?
A: Auburn Jewelry prides itself on its one-of-a-kind work and craftsmanship, as well as for creating a unique experience for the customer. Instead of going to a store to pick out jewelry, with Auburn, the customer is able to get involved in the creative process, since all custom orders start with their idea. I love to work with them one-on-one, sketching multiple designs of what I believe encompasses their idea (or they can sketch their own.); once they choose their favorite, I fabricate the piece of jewelry and turn it into a 100% handmade wearable piece of art. (I also have ready-made pieces available for immediate purchase on my website.)
Q6: What’s it like crafting a piece from start to finish?
A: Since my jewelry isn’t mass-produced and I handcraft every single piece, it gives me unlimited possibilities. Once the customer and I agree upon a design, I hand-cut the metal with my jeweler’s saw, then perform the enameling process. Once that’s complete, pieces are hand-sanded with three grits of sand paper and buffed to make them shiny and ready to wear.
Q7: What’s your favorite part of working one-on-one with each customer?
A: I love that each and every person gives me something new and different to work on. Everyone has their own unique ideas and I love to collaborate with my customers to bring the final piece of art to fruition.
Q8: What’s the biggest challenge of running your own business?
A: It can be tough to balance my time between making jewelry, filling orders, managing social media accounts, photographing pieces for the website, and most recently, teaching jewelry classes. Sometimes I find myself in the studio at 2 am wondering how that happened, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
Q9: When coming up with new designs or products, what inspires you?
A: My friends and family inspire me—they often text me with ideas of what they’d like to see in the collection. I also think about what I’m missing in my own accessories collection. I would never design something that wouldn’t wear personally. I also take inspiration from other Instagram accounts. For example, I follow @dexterthedogster, and I thought this picture of his ears would make a great necklace—I reached out to his owner, and the idea ended up turning into its own namesake line of “Where’s Dexter?” pieces, expanding to include cat and horse ears too, and bracelets, bag charms, and keychains.
Q10: Is there a custom order that is especially memorable to you?
A: Working with MissMalini! She reached out to me, asking if I could design her a pendant that said “#tothemoon.” I suggested making a rocket ship pendant paired with a mini-moon pendant to represent her famous catchphrase—she loved the idea and we named it the “To The Moon” necklace. It’s so exciting to see an idea come to life the way this one did.
Q11: How would you describe your personal style?
A: I’m a good mix of stylish and classic. I love pops of color and preppy pieces with fun elements that can be worn all the time. I think this is echoed in my jewelry designs.
Q12: What’s the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur?
A: That I can take ownership in everything I do because it’s all mine. This would never be possible if I worked for someone else. Anytime something awesome happens, whether it’s as big as being named Most Talented in the Best of Westchester contest, or as small as spotting someone on the subway wearing one of my pieces, I know that it’s all a direct reflection of my hard work.
Q13: How do you choose which causes and people you collaborate with?
A: I love creating pieces with a charitable purpose and giving back to the community. I adore animals, so I designed an exclusive line of dog bone and fish pendants where a portion of the proceeds are donated to the local SPCA (where I also adopted my two cats, Bug, and Lucas). I’ve also made pieces to benefit Autism Speaks, the American Cancer Society, and the NTSAD (a foundation that supports Tay-Sachs disease research) after my friend was diagnosed.
I also like to collaborate with interesting and unique people, like Clinton Kelly and celebrity and editorial nail artist Steph Stone, who actually inspired the creation of my midi rings.
Q14: Is there a specific piece of Auburn Jewelry that you wear every day?
A: I almost never take off my teal monogram pendant.
Q15: What’s it like in your studio?
A: I am very lucky to have my private home-based studio where I can create my own ambiance! There are bursts of pink on the walls, the ’90s pop playing on Pandora, and an endless supply of candy for late night sugar cravings. I’m currently working my way through a five-pound bag of candy corn that we bought for a photo shoot!
Q16: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
A: I don’t stop working because an entrepreneur’s job is never done! But when I do have some downtime, you’ll probably find me painting my nails or cooking a new recipe.
Q17: What’s up next for Auburn Jewelry?
A: We have our third trunk show with Bloomingdale’s coming up on November 28th and 29th at the Short Hills Mall in New Jersey. We’re also expanding our line to include wine charms, which will be debuting next month, as well as a bunch of adorable holiday-themed pieces.
So what are you waiting for?! Go check out her awesome blow-torched charms right here! www.auburn-jewelry.com xoxo