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Conversations with the Inspiring Yuko Ebina

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yuko Ebina.

Yuko, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Coming from a family of artists, art and design have always come naturally to me. My mother, aunt, and grandmother were artists, my grandfather an architect, and my great-aunt, a jeweler. I’ve always been fascinated with jewelry ever since I can remember.

When I was a child, I received a box of crayons and colorful beads, and I loved stringing the plastic beads together to make bracelets and necklaces for myself and my stuffed animals. Ever since that moment, it sparked a lifelong fascination in art and jewelry. My family and I lived in Belgium when we were growing up, so we were lucky to be able to travel frequently to the neighboring countries. When my sisters and I were asked what souvenirs we wanted, I was always the one that made a beeline for the jewelry. I still have a pink crystal necklace I got when we got lost in Venice, a beautiful butterfly lace brooch from Brugge, and a necklace charm with little tulips from when we took a trip to the Keukenhof Gardens. Almost every birthday or special occasion was also marked with a piece of jewelry… graduation, when I had surgery, when I got good grades in school, etc., any excuse for more jewelry! I think that’s why I also like to gift jewelry to others. My jewelry box now contains so many different rings, necklaces, and bracelets that I treasure, each one tied with a special memory.

As I got older, my love for jewelry and anything pretty and sparkly continued to grow and so did my interest in creating things with my hands, whether it be jewelry or artwork. When I was in high school/college, I started making simple necklaces for friends and family. I had always dreamed of having my own line, but it wasn’t until a few years later when I moved to Los Angeles and worked for a few designers that I realized how much I wanted to go out and pursue something on my own. It wasn’t easy, and it took many months of working late into the night of designing, making pieces, photographing, editing, etc. but it finally all came together. I’m still learning every day, but I feel a sense of pride knowing I set out to do something on my own and was able to accomplish that.

Has it been a smooth road?
No, it has definitely not been a smooth road. To this day, I’m still figuring things out, but when I first started, I didn’t have anyone I could turn to for guidance or advice, so I had to figure everything out for myself through trial and error. I think pursuing anything in the creative field can be a bit difficult because there’s no set path or instructions on what you’re supposed to do and in what order to achieve your end goal.

I’ve met some great people along the way, but also some others who I, unfortunately, wish I had never entered into business with. I was inexperienced and a little too trusting but having gone through some of these challenging moments has made me a stronger (hopefully smarter) person. My advice for other people starting out is to always trust your instincts, stand firm and fight for what you believe is right. I can’t stress enough how important being organized and detailed with your paperwork is. I know sometimes when you’re the more artistic-creative type, it’s easy for the organized administrative side to take a back seat, but both sides are absolutely necessary.

For anyone who is contemplating starting a business on their own, I say to go for it! You only have one life to pursue your dreams and goals and every day is a gift so don’t waste a single moment. When I look back on the very beginning, I had a more fearless “I can do anything” attitude and didn’t let my lack of experience hold me back. Now that I’m older, I find myself more cautious and constantly second-guessing every decision I make, which perhaps comes from having gone through some of the struggles, but as hard as it to remind myself, I try to remember that fearless attitude I had way back then to quiet some of the self-doubts.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Yuko Ebina Designs story. Tell us more about the business.
I design and create jewelry which has been described as dainty, delicate and feminine. I have a collection of fine jewelry made from 14k yellow and white gold and accented with precious and semi-precious stones. I also have a collection of semi-precious jewelry which is equally pretty but more affordable for the cost conscious.
I aim to design timeless pieces that can be worn casually or dressed up for special occasions. I personally favor pieces that are subtle and feminine so I gravitate towards that style naturally. Some of my favorite stones are morganite, labradorite, aquamarine and green amethyst.

Years ago when I decided to start my line, I was looking for cherry blossom jewelry for myself, but couldn’t find the exact style I liked. Cherry blossoms are so delicate and beautiful but are only in bloom for a short while. After my mother passed away at a fairly young age, my father compared her to a cherry blossom, and it was that loving sentiment that inspired me to create my Sakura fine jewelry in her memory. All the pieces are available in rhodium plated sterling silver, yellow and white gold, which can also be accented with diamonds and other precious stones.

I’ve always loved drawing and painting, and a few years ago, I started painting watercolor greeting cards. Most of my subjects are inspired by the natural beauty found around me, from earthly flowers and plants to the celestial stars above. When my sisters and I were young, we used to sit at the kitchen table with our mom, and she taught us how best to draw and paint, shade correctly, get proportions right… I can still hear her teaching me how to do all those things. 🙂

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Image Credit:
Yuko Ebina

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