Monday, December 3, 2012

Spotlight on Mom: Amy Delson of Amy Delson Jewelry

I was first introduced to this week's Spotlight Mom through her husband, Daniel (her biggest fan).  He had stumbled across one of my requests for Spotlight Moms and shared his wife's story with me.  How great is that?!  It is nice to see husbands standing behind their wives and believing in their businesses -- beyond being a mother and wife.  And, after I visited her website and saw her collection of handmade jewelry, I knew I had to spotlight her during the month of December, as her jewelry line would make for great holiday gifts. :-)  Hint, hint, nudge, nudge to your husbands. :-)  So, what makes Amy Delson's jewelry collection different from others out there?  

"She draws inspiration from her urban landscape and its layering of old and new architecture with scenic parks and a colorful spectrum of people. Amy’s creativity and fashion point of view are influenced by her travels around the globe. Her performance background has given her a keen sense of grace and body proportion, which translates into the great wearability of the jewelry she crafts. Amy’s pieces celebrate the simultaneous strength and delicate nature of women and the art of expression through adornment. She recognizes that a woman is empowered to reflect her changing moods through her accessories and have fun with jewelry, revealing herself as the true focal point. Amy designs to bring out and crown the artistic, powerful, spiritual, feminine and playful sides of a woman, inspiring her to embrace herself and share that authentic self with the world."

Just look at some examples of Amy's handmade pieces:

Aren't they beautiful and unique?  I was lucky enough to receive one of her necklaces for review, and fell in love with it the moment I took it out the lovely velvet bag it came in.  Even though I am a mom to a 2 1/2 and 1 yr. old, I still love getting dressed up for date nights with my husband and layering on jewelry.  It makes me feel like an adult again, after spending the week in casual clothes with the girls. :-)

Make sure you head back here on Friday, when I will be sharing my thoughts on the necklace that Amy so kindly sent for review, as well as offer one lucky reader a chance to win a unique, handmade necklace, designed by Amy especially for my readers.  If you don't want to wait and see if you win the giveaway -- who would after checking out Amy's collection online? -- please enjoy this 10% off coupon code especially for Inspired by Savannah readers -- "MOMMY" -- to use on your purchase made through her online website  I will be leaving a printout with my wish list for my husband to Amy's website, along with the coupon code! :-)

But, in the meantime, please enjoy my Spotlight on Mom interview with Amy Delson of Amy Delson Jewelry.  

Name: Amy Delson
Company Name/Product/Service: Amy Delson Jewelry
Company Location: Upper East Side, Manhattan
Company Website:
Twitter Handle: @ADJmadewithlove
Age of Company: Two years
Favorite Inspirational Quotes:
“Remember, success is not measured by heights attained but by obstacles overcome. We’re going to pass through many obstacles in our lives: good days, bad days. But the successful person will overcome those obstacles and constantly move forward.” – Bruce Jenner

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be.” – Diane Von Furstenberg

“I design for the woman who loves being a woman.” – Diane Von Furstenberg

“I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking.  If I felt it was the right thing to do, I was for it regardless of the possible outcome.” – Golda Meir

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask what makes you come alive and do it. Because the world needs more people who have come alive.”- Howard Thurman

Favorite Books: Coco Chanel, An Intimate Life by Lisa Chaney
                             Diane, A Signature Life by Diane Von Furstenberg
                             The Ten Laws of Enduring Success by Maria Bartiromo

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.

I’m a mompreneur living and working in Manhattan with my family.  I love NYC; I’m inspired every day by the coming together of old and new buildings, history, people, parks, culture and constant activity.  There are so many amazing resources for families too.

I have two sons, Samson, age six, and Helix, age four.  We gave them powerful names after their great-grandfathers, Solomon and Herman.  Samson of course is the strongest man in the Old Testament and Helix is the strongest structure in science and nature.  Their middle names, Levi and Judah, are also biblical and are named after their other great-grandfathers, Lester and Jack.  It’s a lot of fun (and a lot of crazy) having two boys!  Every day is an adventure : ) .

When I’m not busy running around with my kids or working on my home and business, I find practicing yoga to be a lifesaver in so many ways!  I love the synergy of mind, body, and spirit and the feeling of Zen calmness it brings to my hectic life.  Reading is also another favorite activity. I'm always learning!

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?

My journey to becoming a jewelry designer and entrepreneur has evolved with my own creative evolution.  After graduating from Duke University and performing in musical theater and dance in both the U.S. and the U.K., I worked for ten years as a journalist and marketing professional in both NYC and N.C.  My career as a copywriter, columnist, editor and director of marketing spanned such publications and companies as Backstage, Dance Chronicle, Gotham advertising, the Lake Norman Times, Belk Inc., View Magazine and Citi Habitats.  From theater to retail to real estate, I’ve been fascinated by the blending of historic and modern influences in style, architecture and artistry.

Ever since I was a little girl playing with trinkets, coins and beads in my mom’s jewelry box, I’ve loved exploring adornment and personal expression.  As an adult I’ve loved spending hours combing jewelry markets, antique sales and street fairs along my travels.  My love for jewelry construction and design was able to take center stage after having my two sons.  Staying home to raise our children has been an eye-opening and heart searching experience.  After taking some official jewelry making classes, I began creating pieces as gifts for my loved ones and things that I personally loved to wear.  Selling my pieces was just a natural progression that allowed me to continue to stay home with my kids while nurturing my creative spirit and helping other women express themselves.

My business, Amy Delson Jewelry, embodies several facets.  I create and sell original jewelry pieces made from gemstones, bohemian art glass, silver, brass, copper, and gold, as well as vintage elements I have acquired.  I also create custom pieces in collaboration with my clients, sometimes combining their own elements with new materials.  It’s a blast to take a woman’s box of broken, unworn, or sentimental, yet out-of-date jewelry and turn it into pieces she can’t wait to wear. 

When I was able to transform a friend’s beloved, yet hardly worn broach into the centerpiece of a stunning necklace she could wear with anything from a gown to a T-shirt and jeans, I knew that I wanted to continue helping people realize their jewelry’s full potential.  When I received “Where’d you get that?” inquiries whenever I wore a piece that I’d created, I knew there was a market for my designs.

On my web site,, in trunk shows, boutiques, charity events and the marketplace, I offer these pieces and services, along with teaching people how to make their own jewelry.  The business came about really as my way of delivering new value to the market via a service that looks at a woman’s jewelry as something holistic to manage.  What do you have?  What do you need?  How do you feel?  Let’s talk about it.  Jewelry really has the power to resonate with people and help them express their personality and changing mood on any given day.

What is a typical work day like?

My priority as always is my family, and thus, my typical work day is a juggling act revolving around my boys’ schedule.  After walking nine blocks with the boys to first take Samson to his elementary school at 8:30am, then playing in the playground with Helix until his preschool begins at 9:20am, I have a window of approximately five hours before pickup and running to the boys’ Tae Kwon Do, music lessons, etc.  In those five hours I may be meeting with clients or publications, sourcing materials in the Fashion District, taking a metalworking class or utilizing bench time at the 92nd St Y, or designing and creating pieces by hand in my apartment. 

Some evenings I go back out to industry or social events.  I love that what I do enables me to network and interact with such diverse and interesting people and organizations.  Oftentimes I will create jewelry at night.  I get especially focused when the day is done and the home is quiet!

What has been a struggle while starting up your company? 

As any mompreneur will tell you, the greatest struggle is being able to devote the necessary time to your business just like it’s another one of your babies.  One could easily be consumed with either a business or a family alone 24/7.  There will always be more things that need to get done around the home or in the community (I’m also the PTA President at Helix’s preschool).  The children will always command so much attention.  I constantly remind myself that we all have the same amount of hours in the day, and to do my best.  If I am genuinely putting forth my best effort in everything I do, despite whatever curve balls may appear, I am doing my job.

What did you do in your past work life?

Most recently (before I became a mom) I was Director of Marketing for Citi Habitats, a large real estate brokerage firm in Manhattan.  Before that, I was the Editor of View Magazine for Belk department stores in the South, where I had the privilege of interviewing and learning from Oscar de la Renta and Kate Spade, among other dignitaries in the fashion world and society.  I’d started out at Belk writing the copy for their web site launch.  Before that, I was Associate Editor and a columnist for the Lake Norman Times in N.C., and before that I was a Creative Assistant at Gotham Advertising in NYC.  My first job after graduating from Duke in 1997 was Editorial Assistant at Backstage while publishing in Dance Chronicle and performing in musical theater and modern dance.

What have been some of your major successes?

Something that I am most proud of is the collaborative work I’ve done with the designer Althea Harper, currently on the Lifetime Network show Project Runway All Stars and runner up of Project Runway’s Season Six.  For the past several seasons, I have designed and created custom jewelry pieces for her models to wear during New York Fashion Week and in her campaigns and look books.  

I’m also proud of the work I’ve done with the organization Look Good Feel Better. All of the courageous women who appeared in their recently filmed PSA (public service announcement) wore my necklaces, which helped them feel amazing while shining with their own unique beauty after fighting serious illnesses.

What have been some of your major challenges?

With any startup it’s challenging making yourself known to the world.  Having a background in marketing (and a husband who works in PR) has helped tremendously, but every day is a learning experience.  Partnering with fashion designers, stylists, photographers and charity organizations has definitely expanded my circle and helped boost my brand visibility.

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?

I think about what motivated me to explore this path, that voice inside that guided me here, my pure intention.  I think about all of the women who are glowing with confidence and receiving compliments in their jewelry pieces that I’ve created.  I think about how lucky I am to have a way of earning on my own terms, with the flexibility to be there for my family.  I feel grateful as well to be able to express myself artistically.  It’s a blessing to have found something I truly love to do, and if I can inspire others to pursue their dreams or get in touch with their own personal style, it’s a win-win!

What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?

Lists, lists, lists!!  I love having everything that needs to be done written down in a list so that when it is accomplished, I have the satisfaction of crossing it off and moving on.  I feel it’s very helpful to take some time at night to review what your goals and agenda are for the next day, and what the kids’ schedule is for the day.  It gives me peace of mind to fall asleep knowing I have a plan ready to go.  I also keep a notepad and pen right on my bedside table because I often have brainstorms just as I’m falling asleep, or if I wake up during the night.  There really is no perfect secret to balance.  I think the most important thing is, no matter what may happen in work and life, to keep moving forward.  

What is next for your business?

I’m intrigued by social media and community integration.  I recently was selected by Zaarly to be one of their launch partners for their NYC online storefronts following their successful San Francisco launch of community entrepreneurs providing unique products and services.  Additionally, I'm excited to start accessorizing NBC "New York Live" correspondent Raina Seitel.

I’m psyched about my new line of cuffs as well, which was recently used to accessorize Althea Harper’s Spring 2013 campaign.  I’ll continue to further enhance with more lines and collections, as well as look to partner with more boutiques and retailers.

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business?

Follow your passion; everything doesn’t have to happen overnight.  Think of it as a creative outlet and means of expression for you and even a form of therapy to release you from the daily stresses of family life. Use it as something you claim for yourself, and in turn it will benefit your family and community.  Don’t be afraid to go in a new direction.  You are exactly where you are supposed to be.  If you believe in your vision, you will make it happen.  Go for it!

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