I’m back in San Francisco after a whirlwind two-week trip to visit my family in Tennessee and then onto an epic visit to my studio in Upstate New York.
Running a bi-coastal company has taught me so much about myself – and others. I’ve learned that when you find the right people and let them do their thing, the results can be truly astounding. As we inch our way to launching the next CMD collection, I sit here and reflect on this past week.
I’m completely blown away by all that we were able to accomplish in just 5 days of work. I came with drawings and design ideas which morphed into an entirely new body of work. At the start of the week, I wasn’t even sure we’d be done by the end of my visit, but it’s amazing what you can achieve in a short session with the right team. We even managed to ditch work one day for a team outing where we hiked Buttermilk Falls and then shared a meal together while overlooking the beautiful Lake Cayuga.
My New York team and I have been working together for a while now. Sam has been with me for about three years, and now works out of her home studio in Cortland a majority of the time. She’s one of the hardest workers I know, and can take a piece from start to finish without skipping a beat. She has incredible skills when it comes to jewelry-making and diamond-setting, and her creativity and curiosity make her a perfect fit for the CMD team. She’s a rockstar. Julia and Kelsey have been with us for a little under two years, and both have grown an enormous amount since starting out. Julia has played a big role in getting our little T-burg studio in tip-top shape and keeping everything running smoothly. You’d guess she’s been jewelry-making all her life at this point. Along with Sam, she was a huge help in the design phase of this latest collection. Kelsey started with us doing shipping and production, and has now found her groove doing a big portion of CMD’s marketing and website work. She’s quite the marketing maven and while we were sampling new designs, she was working on some surprise promotions coming up and our brand new website launching later this year! She didn’t mind the occasional interruption to try on some of the pieces. We recently welcomed our newest member, Mikaela, as our studio shipping & production assistant a few months ago, and she’s super rad. She’s breezed right on through training, and has already become a huge asset for us there. We’re so glad to have her.
We’re a small team, so every person and strength set goes a long way. Did I mention we’re still an all-women team of 6 between both coasts? I’m so, so proud to be a female-owned and operated small business and am grateful to be surrounded by incredibly talented women – both on my team and in my peer network.
When I design something, I like to try it on every single person in the room. Everyone is so different… we all have different ear shapes, number of piercings, skin tones, necklines, wrist sizes and hand shapes. We all have different styles and preferences, and I like to ask each team member, “which is your favorite?” It’s cool when we gravitate towards the same things, but also interesting when we don’t. I like to design things that inspire me personally, but keep my customers at the very top of my mind. For example, I’m a huge fan of all the fat stacks (#stackuntilyoucantbend, am I right?), but know that many CMD fans prefer something a little lighter. The 5-Stack Mixed Shape Ring Stack from the Forth Expansion collection was a huge hit, but we’re bringing it back as a shorter stack in a brand new collection. I’ve also designed a few things that are totally different for CMD, like an earring that requires a double lobe piercing. It’s such a fun and easy-to-wear collection… but, that’s enough teasers for now 😉 Stay tuned for more.
As I write this, the team is wrapping up all the samples and sending them off to be photographed so we can hurry up and bring them to market. I feel overjoyed and filled with so much gratitude. I can’t wait to show you what’s next!