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Meet Lisa Gaffney of Heart and Sol Designs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Gaffney.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Lisa. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Heart and Sol Designs was initially born in San Diego in the mid 90’s. Having been a crafter and a jewelry maker since Junior High, I decided to supplement my income by starting a jewelry business. I made beaded brooches out of found items and recycled watch faces and sold them to friends and family and local boutiques. Years later, the current iteration of Heart and Sol Designs was born out of a desire to make a living while being creative and making a difference.

I had moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting, writing and comedy. I tried to work jobs that allowed me the freedom to audition. After working different and fascinating jobs, I found myself working for a fashion company as the Director of Business Affairs. After eight years on the business side of fashion, I found that even though I had had some successes in my acting career, that job was taking too much of my time and energy. So, I left without being sure what was next for me. Even with achievements as an actor those residuals definitely weren’t going to pay the bills.

Then in 2011, while visiting San Francisco, I stumbled across a book about metalworking and metal stamping. It reminded me of a time when I was a child seeing hand stamped rings with the words LOVE and PEACE on them. When I saw the book, I knew this was something I wanted to do. Knowing I needed to do something that would get me out of bed in the morning I invested most of my savings in metal, metal stamps and tools. I had the desire but, in the beginning, I did NOT have the skill. I was a kitchen table jeweler crying over blank pieces of metal, stamps and hammers. With some practice and the love of what I was doing I developed the skills and techniques required to make beautiful hand-stamped gifts.

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?
Most of my online presence is with Etsy. When I restarted this business in 2011 Etsy’s focus was on truly handcrafted items. Sadly, now, we are living in a time where people expect to have their orders shipped same day and with FREE shipping. As a handcrafter, it’s hard to compete with companies that offer machine-made and quick-turnaround items. As they say, “handmade takes time.” I still sell on Etsy and I have a deep appreciation for what it was. I still have hope for that platform.

In the New Year, I will put some focus on building my own stand-alone website as well as putting some focus back on my acting career.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Heart and Sol Designs story. Tell us more about the business.
Now it’s 2019, I have a successful business where I create whimsical handcrafted-hand stamped metal jewelry and accessories inspired by life’s events and milestones. Whether it’s a keychain for a 16 years old just getting their drivers license, a first time daddy keychain with his new son’s baby stats or a grandma necklace with all her grandkids names on it, or the bracelet a mom special ordered for her daughter that said, “I love you, Poophead!” – each gift brings joy to its recipient and serves as a life-long keepsake.

All of my work is done by hand with individual steel stamps and a hammer. Unlike engraving, which is done by machine, each letter, number and design is stamped separately. My work has a more organic look and feel. There is perfection in its subtle imperfection. Like a fingerprint all my gifts are unique.

I also recently began making hand-poured soy candles and wax melts to sell at local markets and pop up events. I have named the scents after cities. For example, Morton is a city known for its pumpkins. So, Morton smells like pumpkins and cinnamon, Santa Barbara smells like eucalyptus and peppermint, Julian smells like baked apples, Lentini smells like blood orange and Goji berry and many more. The other day my husband came home after I had poured Morton and he said, “Please tell me you baked something and I’m not just smelling candles.”

What sets me apart from others? I’m definitely known for my customer service. I love that I get to do this everyday. And, I think it shows in how I am with my customers. My online reviews reflect not just people’s satisfaction in my work but also in our interactions. I guess that’s what I’m proud of too.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’m not much of a believer in luck. There is that great Seneca quote, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” I suppose one could say it was “lucky” that I stumbled upon that book. However, it wasn’t luck that had me restart this business or work as hard as I have. When I say I have worked hard, I definitely have. I have also enjoyed all the work. There is another great quote that reminds me of me and what I do, “Entrepreneurs are the crazy people who work 100 hours a week so they don’t have to work 40 hours for someone else…” (I’m sorry I don’t know who said that originally…)

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
My headshot was taken by Joy Edwards

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