Today we’d like to introduce you to Latoya Boyd.
Latoya, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
LBJ started in late December 2014 while I was still in my first year of college. The best part? It was created by pure accident. As an artistic child, I would often find ordinary objects laying around at home and transform them into wearable art. Most of my free time was spent experimenting with creating anything I dreamed up.
The first time I realized I had a passion for creating was in the fifth grade, a day called “field day,” where you go outside and play fun summer games at school. My grandmother was so old-fashioned; I wasn’t allowed to wear a bathing suit, so I wore shorts and T-shirts instead. Growing up, I had my grandmother’s antique sewing machine in my room.
I remember always looking at it daydreaming about all of the cool outfits I could make. It inspired and influenced me to become a maker. Determined to prove to myself I could do it and a desire to fit in, I opened up the drawer and pulled out a piece of chalk, scissors, and some floral fabric. I knew nothing about apparel construction, but I knew I had a vision and was dedicated to making it a reality.
My grandmother taught me how to sew by hand, so I was confident I would be able to create my first piece of clothing, a bikini top. What I hadn’t anticipated was just how long it would take me to sew this thing by hand. I sewed the whole piece and was so tired of sewing that by the time it came to sew the straps on I gave up and stapled the straps to the top. Hey, it may not have been the best-constructed bikini top but, it was original, it was different and it was created and made by me. I truly believe this was the day I became a maker.
My first memory of jewelry was my grandmother’s jewelry box. I still have the very piece of jewelry that started my obsession. It’s a beautiful aurora borealis triangular necklace. This very piece of jewelry is one of the many reasons I have the career I have today. Her jewelry box was a mix of costume, fashion, and fine jewelry.
I promised myself, one day I would have a jewelry box just as amazing as hers. I made my first piece of jewelry at age 14. Busy Bee Craft Store became my second home. I started my first job working at the Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire that Spring/Summer. I always saved my money for jewelry supplies each and every week I got paid.
In middle school, I started selling hand beaded jewelry; bracelets, belly chains, rings, earrings, and necklaces. I even created friendship bracelets for my closest friends and my friend DJ still has his today, 20 something years later. I shipped out to be a mechanic in the Army shortly after the economy crash of 2008. I deployed to Afghanistan for a year and rediscovered my passion for gemology and jewelry.
I researched everything I could about gemstones and decided I should go gemology school because I was intrigued by them. By March 2014 I discharged out of the Army. Shortly after, I drove to Los Angeles California from Fairbanks Alaska and started attending the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising for Jewelry and Metalsmithing Arts.
By December 2014, I got my resale license and made my first sale. Although my business was pretty accidental, LBJ has been a successful thriving business for the last 3 years through readymade pieces and custom jewelry design work. After graduating with my Graduate Gemology degree from the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad California, the In Bloom Collection was born.
This collection embodies feminine strength, beauty, and freedom of expression. For me, it signifies personal growth and development especially because this is my first full collection.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Absolutely not. I’ve had more people try to get me to give up my dream because they have seen me struggle to make my business everything I want. From teachers, “friends,” colleagues, and family being extremely negative about my pursuit of happiness, the road has been anything but smooth.
I have had times where I really wanted to give up and in fact, at one time had all of my studio equipment on eBay ready to throw in the towel until my daughter told me how much I motivate her to live her dreams out to the fullest. It was then in that moment I decided I would NEVER let someone tell me I can’t achieve everything I want. I have known since I was 14 I wanted to spread love and uplift people through my art.
One of the biggest struggles I had was right when I was getting my first big break. My dad, my biggest supporter, passed away while I was in my first year of college. I made sure to let him know I was going all the way to the top and that I would never give up. I haven’t Dad.
Please tell us about Latoya Boyd Jewelry.
I specialize in Copper, Silver, and Gold Contemporary Art Jewelry using my favorite techniques such as hand forging, riveting and heat patina; I create my signature style. I have been dubbed the “Queen of texture,” as you will see throughout several of my designs and collections.
I am most proud of staying true to what makes my brand different and won’t sacrifice quality for popularity. I offer a wide range of sizes to include people of all sizes which is something no other retailers seem to offer. I wanted to ensure that necklaces, rings, cuffs, bracelets, and anklets, (these only seem to come in limited sizes) are available in sizes to cater to everybody.
I want my clients to know they can wear my jewelry and never feel uncomfortable when shopping for readymade pieces due to size limitations for the aforementioned items. I want my clients to always feel comfortable and confident whenever they adorn their beautiful canvases with Latoya Boyd Jewelry.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have given zero f@!&$ much sooner. Do what I want to do even if that means losing people in my life. Always trust my gut and tune out the naysayers. Do something that scares me every day. Never ever give up.
- Website: www.latoyaboydjewelry.com
- Phone: (907) 322-0047
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @LatoyaBoydJewelry
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LatoyaBoydJewelry
- Twitter: @LatoyaBoydJwlry
- Other: https://m.facebook.com/groups/1084187271676505