Today we’d like to introduce you to Christianne Cruz.
Christianne, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
At the age of 6, I was gifted my first jewelry loupe by a father figure who recently retired after 40 years of being a gold caster in Toronto, Canada. Because of him and my grandma (who boasted an eclectic style and a serious shopping addiction), I was exposed to the jewelry world at a very young age. I had a hoarder-esque collection of crystals, rocks, beads and shells that I gathered on trips that we took together to wholesale jewelers in Florida. I was quickly enamored by the master jewelers crafting pieces from scratch with tools that seemed too loud and clunky to make such pretty and delicate ornaments. I quickly fell in love with the shimmer of gems, the shine of precious metals and the like-minded people that obsessed with them as I did.
Twelve years later, I accepted my first sales job at Rocks and Gems in Lake Louise, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Banff National Park and experienced a summer surrounded by fossils like the ammonites famously found in the area surrounding the store and others sparkling specimens from nature. Following my graduation from Queen’s University, my love for critical thinking, problem solving and passion for content landed me in the advertising/publishing industry. I was a sales executive for 6 years in Toronto, representing some of North America’s largest print and digital properties while servicing clients across various industries. I focused on management and development of multi-platform branded content. A few years ago, I left the advertising industry, moved to Los Angeles and grinded for over 2 years in the motion picture literary department of one of the leading entertainment agency’s in the industry.
I realized how much I missed my craft. I began making fine jewelry on the weekends using the technique of lost wax casting under the tutelage of Peter Solomon (Precious Metal Arts), a former professor at the renowned Gemological Institute of America. I worked hard to juggle a demanding full time job and maximized my limited free hours to flex my creative muscles. Today, I hunt for beautiful gems and carve small wax sculptures to make one of a kind pieces of jewelry with a family of casters. I am proud that all of my pieces are started and finished entirely in Los Angeles.
Has it been a smooth road?
Having a business of your own means there is only one person to hold accountable. In the case of a creative business, this is only heightened when the product is made by your own hands. With such little support, it is all you, baby.
At the early stages of this business, every piece that is crafted is research and development; you need to figure out your brand, how you want to be seen, the limitations of your abilities and the demands of the clientele that you want to reach. Without a marketing team to help you prior launch, what can you do? Develop a strategy that you can execute with little help and make your best attempts to achieve realistic goals in a timely manner. Get yourself out there, but be careful not to sacrifice the quality of your product. Avoid being subservient to trends if they do not serve your purpose – your passion will always shine through. You’ll quickly learn what works (and what doesn’t) so that, you can pivot in your business operations and creative decisions.
My best advice to girl bosses out there, young and old: be confident, even in your failures. Know that everything you do, each decision you make is not without risk — and that risky is better than boring.
We’d love to hear more about Christianne Cruz Designs.
My admiration for visual arts and personal creativity lends itself to producing expressive, bold and brightly colored custom fine jewelry. Every piece is handcrafted, casted in Los Angeles and is one of a kind.
I will work with brides/grooms-to-be and their partners to make cohesive engagement rings and wedding bands that they can be proud to wear everyday, people of all ages who want expressive wearable art and professionals in need of gifts for their important partners and clients.
Working in the entertainment industry opens my business to visible, high-end clientele with big demands and the need to uniquely express themselves. I am proud to bring my wealth of experience in personal service and attention to every client I work with.
Which women have inspired you in your life?
“My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg
There are so many women across all walks of life that are incredibly deserving of admiration. This is my personal shortlist of courageous originals who paved new paths for women to explore with less resistance and a sampling of game changers who fearlessly led/lead life in their own unique way:
Billie Holiday, Yayoi Kusama, Fran Liebowitz, Hilma Af Klint, Ruth Handler, Coco Chanel, Emmeline Pankhurst, Maya Angelou, Houda Benyamina, Meryl Streep, Paloma Picasso, Madonna, Maxine Waters, Emma Watson, Melinda Gates, Malala Yousafzai, Dorothy Dandridge, Oprah, Corazon Aquino, Alice Guy-Blaché, Kimberly Bryant, Anna Sui, Eva Peron, Diana Vreeland, Margaret Keane, Francesca Amfitheatrof.
Women’s contributions to history are too often overlooked. I am consciously grateful for these inspiring women. If not for their efforts, I would not have the freedom to develop my craft or grab the flurry of opportunities available today. These pioneers and changemakers have taught me that no matter the hardship, no one can stop me from succeeding but me.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @cruzjewelry
Lex Kilgour (@flexandbender)