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Meet Trailblazer Alyson Toone

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alyson Toone.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Alyson Jon Life was started from my tiny bedroom in Brooklyn, New York in 2009. I started making handmade jewelry out of a need to do something with my hands after working on a screen all day as an apparel designer. By 2014, I started to teach other people how to think like a designer through upcycled jewelry making. In 2016, my life changed when I was laid off from my apparel design job. I wanted to laugh and cry. I wanted my often neglected side hustle to be my full-time gig. For the last three years, I have been exploring myself, my work and my options. This exploration included a year-long move back to my hometown, Columbus, Ohio and then the move to my partner’s hometown, East LA. I realized that I loved creating surface prints for fabric which is something I disliked in my fashion career. Mainly, the work that did in my former career wasn’t true to me. Now, I’m creating my truth through surface prints, jewelry, embroidery, and workshops.

Has it been a smooth road?
It’s been a bumpy road. Two cross country moves mean creating new networks in new places. But now I have connections in New York City, Los Angeles, and Ohio. Because I had a draining office job, my business did not get the kind of love it should’ve gotten when I had more financial resources and stability. Instead, I had to create my creative voice and style with fewer resources and more riding on my success. Many people side hustle until they can go on their own with a fully formed business. And then, there are people, like me who need the right conditions to bloom. It’s difficult to work 40+ hours at a stressful job, work 40 more and then do all the other things necessary to live life.

We’d love to hear more about Alyson Jon Life.
Through Alyson Jon Life, I create for lives and teach people. I create custom surface print designs and embroidery for apparel fabric, wall art, and installations. My work is focused on encouraging people to seek their own style through slow fashion and upcycling. Therefore, I teach people how to upcycle their jewelry and clothing with the same techniques I use as a designer. And yes, I still create and sell handmade gemstone jewelry. I love being able to offer a style that is bold, colorful and modern. I also love being able to help people be more creative in their everyday lives.

What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a young woman just starting her career?
Pay attention to your chosen career, but also pay attention to trends outside of your career. You never know how another discipline will affect your field. Read articles and books about other interesting topics. This will keep you aware and flexible when you want or need to move on to something new.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photographers: Alyson Toone, Angel Aguilar, Javier Rochas, Shundra Davis

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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