Today we’d like to introduce you to Jodie Davies.
Hi Jodie, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
After spending 20 or so years as a consultant for PwC followed by various IT executive roles as different companies, I decided to switch gears and pursue my passions – surfing and ocean preservation. I started with the idea of sourcing ocean plastics and “ghost” fishing nets to make corn hole boards. I planned to market them to countries like Australia (my home country) where the game didn’t exist but I felt it would be a great fit. However, the manufacturing costs and logistics behind this idea quickly became more than I wanted to tackle. A quick and disappointing first fail actually gave me space for creative thinking. I kept staring at a pile of old wetsuits in my garage wondering how I could recycle them. While surfing around online, I stumbled on a video showing a ring being made out of denim…it was amazing! I thought, “that’s it!” and Next Session was born.
Deciding to make rings out of neoprene proved to be much harder than denim. Neoprene is designed NOT to be absorbant, so my early experiments (there were many) with this material and resin didn’t work. So I had to find a way to change the wetsuit – “powerize” it if you will – to make the material something I could work with. Liquid Nitrogen did the trick! Next, I needed to learn how to use tools such as a lathe and CNC machine to make the rings I envisioned. I enrolled myself in a machine shop course at Fullerton Community College which was amazing and proved we can all learning new things at any age if we choose to.
Fast forward to today – my recycled wetsuit and resin jewelry is in multiple surf and gift shops around the South Bay. They’re also stocked at a surf shop in Norway, which is pretty darn cool. I’ve been able to expand my product line to include a recycled surf resin collection. I source raw materials off the shop floor from local Southbay shaper – and my good friend – Jose Barahona. With this resin, I make necklaces, bracelets, earrings, beads and key chains. I don’t have a background in jewelry making and it’s been a VERY fun learning curve acquiring these new skills. I’m producing pieces that I’m really proud of and people seem to love.
Better yet, I donate a percentage of sales back to support various ocean conservation charities. We all have to do our part to ensure a Next Session for future generations.
Who knows what will come next….bring it on!
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Working neoprene is tough. Building the skills needed to produce products that I’m really proud of was a fun challenge. Of course COVID slowed everything down for almost a year, not just from a sales perspective but juggling homeschooling kids, etc.
I definitely wouldn’t say it’s been smooth but in many ways, I’m kind of amazed on how far Next Session and myself has come in a relatively short period of time.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I was a professional for many years, whereas being an artist is relatively recent. My art / creative work is currently all resin and jewelry focused. My resin is either a combination of resin with recycled wetsuits or recycled surfboard resin than would have gone to landfill. All my pieces are handmade and include a broad range of rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, beads and key chain. I keep experimenting and expanding what I do. I also build my own surfboard displays stands which is super empowering to create being that I also don’t have a woodworking background. I feel like this is just the beginning.
If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
I grew up in Australia, in Melbourne with my parents and brother. Sports were very much my thing growing up, I was a tomboy and loved to mix it with the boys playing football and cricket. Plus softball, tennis, netball (do you know what that is), then to rock climbing, ice climbing and surfing. Personality-wise, I’m pretty obsessive with things I love and tend to do my best to avoid things in life I don’t like spending time on.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.nextsession.surf
- Instagram: @nextsession
- Facebook: Nextsession