Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrea Gutierrez.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
When I first moved to Los Angeles, I was making luxury hand embroidered throw pillows using vintage beads, gemstones, silk and cotton threads and the very best quality textiles.
During an installation of custom pillows for a client in Malibu, she grabbed one of the pillows and said “Andrea!, I want this on my wrist” and that was it… that was an “aha moment”, I started the business making the one-off embroidered cuffs and “grew and learned” my way into designing with silver and gold.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has not been a smooth road, many bumps and lessons learned. I am a self-supporting, single individual without any financial backing and in the jewelry business in this day and age, these factors make it almost impossible to succeed. There is no money for PR and marketing, everything is mouth to mouth.
I started another business, working as an archivist for the arts/entertainment worlds to support myself as I grow my jewelry business, learning to balance both businesses has had its challenges and lessons. Ideas and designing are easy and flows endlessly, learning and managing the business of the jewelry business has been challenging. I am more of an artist than a business person.
Early on, I learned very quickly that most stores want inventory on consignment, making it untenable for a small designer to survive, so, I decided to focus on a private clientele. I opened my studio in Santa Monica where I can meet with clients to show them the collections and where we can sit and work on custom designs or have a cup of tea or a glass of bubbly and a chat.
Working this way, makes it a slower grow however, the benefits of being able to work one on one, developing relationships that many times, have evolved into friendships has been and continues to be one of the most rewarding aspects of my business.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Andrea Gutierrez Jewelry story. Tell us more about the business.
Being an artist, I have many different collections that speak to many different looks from a leather cuff collection (leather is all up-cycled scrap) to our 18k gold and gemstone collections. I do not follow trends or even care what the trends are, I am not driven by external marketing, commercial demands, the work comes from my internal world, this alone sets me apart from others.
I am most known for how we use pearls in ways that are modern, contemporary, not expected and definitely “not your mother’s pearls” and for the one-off cuffs!
I am absolutely mesmerized and in love with pearls. “A pearl is the creation of beauty from adversity, art from irritation, a mortal threat transformed into magnificence.” It is the perfect metaphor for how we can overcome the challenges life offers us.” Mary Olsen Kelly I am in the process of developing “The Pearl Workshop” an event that I will offer for private homes or businesses that will include a short informative lecture on pearls, along with samples of loose pearls, strands and then the exciting part, instruction on how to make a leather cuff using my designed elements (nothing store bought) and of course pearls so each attendee would go home with a finished piece of jewelry.
The one-off hand embroidered cuffs, where I began in the jewelry world are still my favorites to make. I take apart damaged vintage and antique beaded handbags, clothing, shoes, etc. and re-use the elements to create the cuffs. I usually have no pre-set idea of what I am going to make other than a colour and texture palette, the cuffs “tell me” what to do.
I am most proud of how we have slowly grown and developed with no financial backing and how we have created a healthy, conscious, sustainable environment in the studio and with the materials we use and how we have designed a number of items, like the elephant collection to raise monies to be donated to protect and preserve elephants, and how we have designed pieces of jewelry for local organizations always donating our design services and a percentage of sales to their organizations.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I have had the wonderful luck of being introduced to and working with gifted and skilled artisans.
There are two women who have allowed me to bring my designs to life. One is Peggy Croft, a wax sculptress with whom I work with on all of my waxes and the other is Evelyn Crommett, she is the master jeweler who casts, sets and finishes each piece. Their skills, dedication and integrity allow me to offer my clients the very best in quality and handwork. I could not and would not want to do it without them as they bring such excellence, humor and heart to the work and to our friendship
Bad luck? no thanks!
- Because of the range of our collections, we are able to offer a vast range of pricing from $300 to over $50, 000
- Website: www.andreagutierrezjewelry.com
- Phone: 213-255-1338
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: andreagutierrezjewelry
- Facebook: Andrea Gutierrez LA
- Twitter: @AMGJewelry